Their feet race across the yard, across the patches of dirt and sand and weeds. Across what little grass is left. There is nowhere that they would rather be right now than in that imperfect yard in this imperfect world on this perfect day. The perfection is all they notice and, really, all they care about. For them, it is all that exists. They run to the sunlight, which is the only place they are ever in a hurry to go.
They blast the air with their screams. They scream to announce their arrival, to bounce their voices off of walls and trees, to hear themselves, because they can. Someday they will stop screaming just to scream. When they are adults it will be an ominous sound, filled with fear and uncertainty, or it will only be among thousands of others so as not to seem weird or different. But now it is a sound of joy and individuality. Now it is theirs alone and it is released without reservation. And it is happy.
Among the sun and the weeds and the sound, their heads fall back and their arms stretch out. And they spin. Screams turn to giggles and their feet tangle. Their bodies wobble and sway like a slowing top. The earth spins faster beneath them. They reel in their experiments with altered consciousness and physics. And they fall. The only things that hurt are their cheeks, squeezed too tight from all the smiling.
They spend so much time reminding me to slow down and to stop paying attention to the wrong things. And I spend so much time analyzing it all. If I could just remember, they seem to tell me, to just spin until I fall down then I might not be so wound up sometimes.
Not long ago we were listening to music in the car, as we always do. I play for them the music that I love because life is short and I have great taste in music. I try to expose them to music that I think is beautiful and different and artistic. I like to think I am giving them a gift, but some gifts are better received than others and some are received differently than they are intended.
On this day a song came on that I didn’t even consider as one they would enjoy. I was going to change it but they stopped me. Then they asked me to play it again. And again. And again as they spun themselves dizzy while still strapped into their seats. When it was over Bug calmly proclaimed “daddy, that is the best song I have ever heard.”
They didn’t understand a word that was screamed and they didn’t need to. It isn’t about the words. It isn’t about anything but the feeling. When I thought about it, I understood. When I stop thinking I understand.