napowrimo poem 22: the little seeds learn why things go

write a poem for children.

i imagine this as a little book for my minnesota babies, earth day themed. where there’s an image i see on the page, i’ve shared it before the words that would be written out under the image. the locations are all places around their minnesota that they know and love.

(the pond view in summer – blooms, gardens, dragonflies)
you are the little seeds
you must know why things go
because you will go everywhere
you
must
grow

(the babies, hands spread in question)
but why do things go?

(geese taking off from pond)
because bran thinks the geese would be tasty, they go

(bran the dog running with all feet off the ground)
because the world smells so delicious, he goes

(mairead with a crayon in her mouth and mud in her other hand)
because little bunny is learning the world with her mouth, she goes

(siobhan running towards the tree down the yard)
because the princess must climb a higher tree now, she goes

(finn entering the brush)
because there are dinosaurs to seek and name, he goes

(mama waving from the garden with her coworkers and daddy)
because she has to build a garden everywhere, she goes

(daddy with a circle of meditating youth on the lawn)
because all the babies need a calm place to sit, he goes

(papa roger laughing in the sunroom, in viking hat)
because he was very tired after such a good life, he went

(papa on his horse, with finn in front of him)
because he’d saved as many as he could, he went

(the pond view in fall, leaves falling, deer across the way)
everything goes because it cannot stay
the whole world is set up this way
once you know which game to play
you must go on, you can’t delay

(the pond view in winter, with ice skaters and ice fishing)
everything goes because there’s something more
waiting out just beyond the door
once you know what vessels are for
you must push off from the closest shore

(the pond view in spring, muddy and green)
everything goes because the world is wide
finite though, there is no room to hide
cycle, pattern, spiral, tide
the most beautiful seasons unfold inside

(the babies splashing in the mud at sunset)
you are the little seeds
you know why things go
you might just see everything
as
you
grow

i am not a dog person.

today we got a dog.

i am not a dog person.

to be technical, sam and autumn and the babies got a dog. which means once a month for a week i now have a dog to love and care for.

this morning his name was dewie. up until a few weeks ago he lived in an apartment, and was too big and excited and awesome to be there. then he lived at the humane society.

now his name is bran, a good irish name, which is what all new beings to this home immediately receive. bran is house trained, but has no other visible forms of obedience. he loves chewing children’s toys, but he is discerning, showing zero interest in the dog toys that came with him. he barks at the fire as if putting another living creature in it’s place. he is mostly sleek black labrador, but has a slight sagginess to him that is apparently from his ‘coon hound lineage, as well as white paws and lots of spots, including one at the very tip of his long tail. he likes going outside, but doesn’t appear to feel any obligation to pee. he is playful and incredibly sweet and keeps bumping up against me until i scratch his hips.

he is ten months old, the same age as mairead, the youngest child here. mairead is the least interested in him. siobhan has tried twice to mount him, and keeps asking in wonder, ‘do we have a dog?’, while finn tries tirelessly to engage the dog in the massive overly directed production called finn’s imagined life.

i had my dog already. her name was sugarfoot because she was all black with white paws. we reveled in her mutt-ness, it matched our family. she was small and perfect, untrained, not interested in barking or conflict. we grew up with her, and when we went to college she became the primary confidant of both of my parents. during my last visit home before she died she took me out to look at the stars and we had closure. i knew i’d never need or want another dog.

i am not a dog person, i just loved her.

i am not a hater of creatures, not ever. in fact i am mostly not a dog (or cat, ferret, parrot, snake, mouse, or other pet) person because of my deep belief in freedom. the domestication of animals who cannot reason or choose such dependence has always felt like an entrapment. and particularly dogs, who love so thoroughly…how can humans ever earn that love enough to justify taking the wilderness away?

i know i am centuries late in this argument. still.

and yet…i loved sugarfoot. i grieved her death, i still get caught up if i find a hair in some parental storage or her picture comes up on my screen saver, and it’s been a decade since she passed.

and i love when i see people who truly love wild and unreasonable creatures, somehow domesticated and found. i see the difference when it is truly cross-species love. there are my politics and and then there is the current complex world.

and these kids are the kind of kids who will do well to love and care for a dog. my sister and brotherinlaw are the kind of people who will be soothed and amused and enlivened by the presence of this creature.

but of course i was surprised when i saw this dog in the yard and my heart trilled a bit. and then when he made eye contact and looked familiar. and then when i needed to take him on a walk, one on one, and i was giggling as he dragged me along. and then let him lay on my floor futon, albeit flipped over so he isn’t touching where i sleep. he loves it. he already, with some suspicion, but genuinely, seems to love me.

i don’t know. he’s awfully sweet. and curious, young, full of life. i am not a dog person. i was a sugarfoot person. maybe a decade is long enough to grieve and release and be loyal. maybe i can consider this friendship? maybe i can be a bran person.

we’ll see. regardless, we have a dog.

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