Wednesday, August 24, 2005

a little girl, butterflies & meadows

Granddaughter came for a short visit on Sunday. After swinging in the "Big Swing " (as opposed to the "Tire Swing"), for a while, we went for a walk across my beloved meadows.

The alfalfa was so tall, Granddaughter nearly disappeared. She ran along the tracks left by the farmer's machinery, skipping and shouting into the wind.

"I love this field, Grandma!
Look at me!
Grandma, look at the bumblebee.
Grandma! I see a butterfly! Look at all the butterflies!
Ooh, something is on my arm! A bumblebee! He must like me, he didn't even bite me!
Why is Molly eating the flowers?
I want to pick some flowers!"

Then followed the typical beheading of flowers, where the resulting bouquet is a bedraggled collection of flowers with stems so short, it would be a miracle if they reach any water in the vase. However, they were promptly put in water when we got home and survived the night, to Granddaughter's delight.

"Grandma, the flowers didn't even die, did they? They liked the water we gave them, didn't they?"

Actually, they survive still, a very artfullly casual arrangement in a glass candle/votive holder on the kitchen table. Seeing them--some sneeze wort, a buttercup and a red clover-- reminds me of Granddaughter running across my purple flowery meadows, and makes me smile.

When we were just about to enter our own yard again, after our walk in the meadows, Granddaughter getting tired and wanting to go home, she was surprised that we had come around in a circle. The trees along the meadow borders had hidden the house from her view.

But first, we passed the old abandoned house across the drive from my house. I could tell that it made her a little uneasy. I explained that nobody had lived in that house for a long time, that nobody had cared for it or fixed it up for a long time, so it's pretty much a wreck.

Granddaughter said:
"Poor old house. Nobody looks after it, right Grandma? It's all lonely and broken, the doors are broken, the windows are broken, and even the floor is broken, right Grandma?"

Somehow, after that, by anthropomorphizing the house, Granddaughter was no longer afraid of it, rather, she felt sad. To my melancholy Finnish sensibilities, that makes perfect sense. It is easy for me to visualize that a house, enchanted with its community of imps and elves, can feel lonely and abandoned when nobody lives there anymore. After all, isn't it the house elf that knocks brooms over to let the hostess know company is coming? And how often does the hearth imperceptibly shift, just a little, when the embers have nearly died down, suddenly and mysteriously knocking a glowing coal out of the fire, sending it clinking out onto the floor to companionably nudge us awake?



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