About Me

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I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Never met a stranger

Zane loves nature. He wants to be outside whenever possible, even in the heat or cold. If he sees a bug, he puts his palm out and asks, "hand?" Which means, "Will you put it in my hand?" He doesn't squeeze or poke at anything I place there. With a beaming smile, he just watches the creature crawl. When it is time to let the critter go, he waves and says, "Bye-bye!" Then he askes me, "Zane kiss? Zane hug?" If I tell him, "No," we don't kiss and hug worms, or frogs, or whatever, he will pout with his big sad bottom lip sticking way out. So I always cave, telling him he can, "Blow a hug and kiss." So he does. He blows kisses and hugs towards every snail, beetle, toad, and roly-poly we find. Of course, I won't let him put just anything in his hand. I have been pointing out spiders and wasps, explaining that these creatures might bite or sting him. I don't want him to be afraid necessarily, just cautious and aware.
When we are in the country we take lots of walks down the dirt road. It delights Zane that there are no cars in the road and it is safe to walk on. He is very observant, stopping to examine every ant. He is also learning which insects are ticks. When he finds a tick he knows to bring to me. He love for living things does not stop at sails or spiders, he has to hug and kiss trees or rocks too. It is almost like he just wants to show his love for life and the world. Maybe he is just trying to give thanks for being alive?
I am proud that he loves every thing so much. Love is much better than hate. But when we are in town, his kindness can be awkward. In the city, it makes people uncomfortable. Because he will hug and kiss nice old cars that he likes, or intersting holes in the sidewalk. Pretty much anything that he likes or finds interesting gets a hug and kiss. I have had to scold him for blow kisses to the lady in the check out line or hugging the random dogs in the park. And it just makes us both look crazy when he kisses the man hole cover in the sidewalk or hugs an street sign. He is passionate. I recognize the strength as well as the weakness in such passion.
Lately, he has become more reserved. His baby days of hugging and kissing everything he likes or enjoys is fading. Now I feel less embarrassed, now that he can be embarrassed. But when we are alone in the backyard and no one is watching, we hug the trees and kiss the ladybugs without an ounce of shame!
Zane letting a millipede walk on his hand.

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