Monday, January 07, 2013


THINNER THAN A MINUTE - from the archives

Kaya has the same 24-hour day as everybody else, but at two years of age she hasn't yet got enough experience to waste it properly as a youth, flaunt it as an adolescent, market it as an adult or treasure it as an elder. Minute- by-minute, she's engaged in the lifelong process of learning to do all that, and like all of us, must begin at the beginning and take it as it comes.


So at the moment there are great differences between Kaya and me in the way we navigate the day. To her, the world is an effortlessly open book, a ready playground, an all-day carnival, an endless private banquet, every day a birthday. I have to make a bit of a metaphysical effort to stay in that world with her for the hours we are together, but she makes it easy for me.

The difference might seem to reside in the six decades that separate us, but I as with just about everything in the universe I've ever run into, I suspect there's more to it than that. Kaya paints green stripes on her legs and spends long minutes hopping back and forth across the living room with glee in her heart and eyes. She does it spontaneously, without a second thought, with complete naturalness and no embarrassment. I can't recall the last time I did anything of the sort. Maybe at a frat party. Even now that glee evades me. Being alone with Kaya for hours at a stretch gives me new perspectives like that on just about everything, even the calligraphic powers of wet rice on an oak floor.

Historically, when I was two years old I probably spent my time pretty much the same way Kaya does now: practicing faces, being completely in places, posing all the poses, making all the noises in my untried repertoire, observing the effects of my menu of screams on the large, slow servants that surrounded and sought to control me yet catered to my infant whims, came at my call-- though I discontinued all that kind of thing at some point after college. Or maybe later.


We aren't really aware of, let alone keeping track of, all the minds we phase through in the hills and valleys of our years. Then one day later in life-- if we are so fortunate, after all that, to have a later - and then have the luck to spend sunny afternoon hours with someone like Kaya, the fun part of our past comes flooding back to a wiser perspective, from a place that isn't so far away after all.

The distance between childhood and elderhood turns out to be thinner than a minute.


3 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Thoughtful writings of Kaya and you. I could visualize the whole scenario.Since I don't have grandchildren near I find, at my age, I can be easily entertained by small children with their parents. Their freshness is exhilarating. Like how you end your post, "elderhood turns out to be thinner than a minute." How true. -- barbara2868

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Great post! and yes I agree w/you.. the only difference is the method and age which of course is a given..

Sandy miller said...

So what's stopping you from painting green stripes on your legs? Perception of reality..... Hmmmm.