Sunday, April 20, 2008

things learned over the course of a lifetime

in this case, less than four years

regular readers know that i have two grandkids, nyla kim, and jabari charles, with whom i spend thursdays, playing grandpa, or "papa" in the language of the little scallions. since august, 2004, i've not been there maybe seven or eight thursdays, max. i'm missing another one this thursday [i'd hoped to be covering the tour of georgia, but instead will be playing fake patient at dmu], but over the course of her life, i've done my best to make little nyla a tree-hugging hippie: a dyed-in-the-cotton bleeding heart liberal, who is kind to strangers [mindful of "stranger danger," she asked the other day if it was okay to talk to a particular person on the street, and, after being assured that it was, she went straight up and chatted], is an ardent obama supporter, and is--in the truest sense of the phrase--a tree-hugging little hippie.
since before she was able to walk, we would walk up to trees--either in her yard, on strolls around the block, while on our hours-long rides with the burley, at my house, and while visiting other folk's homes--at give them big, sincere hugs, and thank them for all the shade and oxygen they provide, for standing out all winter long in the freezing cold, and during the harsh rain and wind storms. before she leaves my house, before getting in the car, she'll run out to my maples and give them each big hugs, and thank them. she even hugs the dwarf lilac bushes by my sidewalk.
she's not doing it for show, or to be cute. she's just sincere.
it came as no surprise to me [though a great delight, obviously] that as she and her mom were walking around the block today, the following exchange took place:
nyla, observing that her neighbor was cutting down the weeping willow tree in the front yard, a tree that nyla had hugged countless times, speedily ran a half block to him, put her hands menacingly on her hips, and shouted, "hey, why did you broke that tree?"
axman: "because it was taking up too much room."
nyla [throwing arms skyward]: "you shouldn't have; trees belong here."
surprise for the neighbor: next time i'm in ames [may 1st], nyla, jabari, and i will take a bike ride to the greenhouse to pick out, purchase, and plant a weeping willow tree on nyla's side of the property line, to replace the tree he cut down.
tree hugger revenge is the greenest.


Anonymous said...

If you can find a copy of "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss, I am 100% confident that this will support you goal of supporting her love for things natural...and more importantly what happens if we don't.

We found a copy from the 70's(I think) and my boys love all of it's splendor and sadness.


the mostly reverend said...

i think i've already got the lorax in her suess library. i've been buying her books since birth. her favorite one, and the first she could read, was "what a wonderful world" based on the louis armstrong song. it is so lovely, and she reads it in such an honest, emotional way, it always chokes me up. and to see her read it to her little brother just gives me chills.

i love those damned little hippies.

but i will confirm the lorax [i tend to not remember things, you know. ;-))]

Anonymous said...

while I am not much on t.v. for the kids, Seuss is in our arsenal. If you can grab a copy it is worth it.

There is one that has:
The Cat in the Hat & The Lorax & Green Eggs and Ham all in one(plus one other that I forget). We now include the songs in the reading of the books. Very good stuff.