The Woods

The temperature approached 100 degrees Monday afternoon. I could smell the softening tar in the street when I brought in the mail. Feel the heat waves rising off the driveway, as I waited for Clay’s bus to bring him home from summer school. (Our sitter had the afternoon off.)  The dog had the right idea. It was a day to lay on the sofa in the air conditioned living room, little legs pumping, dreaming of chasing rabbits across the dewy grass on a cool fall morning.

So, of course, I decided to take the little guy to a nearby state park. He is as bored as I am hanging around the house in the late afternoon. Boredom leads to compulsive behaviors, and that isn’t good for anybody. No skin-searing, eyeball-melting, hair-on-fire heat was going to keep us cooped inside.

The sitter has been taking him to this park fairly frequently lately, so he seemed to have a game plan in mind when I opened the car door. After an obligatory stop at the men’s room, Clay rushed ahead of me to the bridge that crosses the creek, where we stayed a surprisingly long time watching people wade in the water beneath the “No Swimming” sign.

Clay was content to hang there, but I wanted to explore a little more. (I have no clue, by the way, where he gets his inability to sit still.) We moved over for a look at the monofilament recycling station (aka the tube to deposit old fishing line).

Then, we sat on a bench watching a little girl fish. (She didn’t catch anything, even though her outfit matched her bucket, which I believe is something Hemingway tried to do as well when trolling for marlin off of Key West.)

After walking along the creek for awhile and chasing the geese into the water, it was time for a quiet break in a picnic area.

Clay seems so peaceful when we get him out in nature. (Frankly, just seeing him sitting down astounds me.) Later in the week, my wife pinned him down with the keyboard he uses to communicate to find out why he enjoys this particular state park so much.

“So awesome a place,” he typed.

“What do you like about it?”

“So quiet and soulful. We are at one with self.”

“What is it that makes that place so special?”

“Sacred ground.”

He didn’t elaborate on the “sacred ground” reference, but I suspect it was the same feeling that Thoreau was expressing in this quote:

I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance than I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.

Need to get the little fellow out in the woods more often. We may try a few days at a campground later this summer. Stay tuned.


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  1. #1 by Kathy P on July 15, 2011 - 10:36 am

    Just one word: WOW!

  2. #2 by Casdok on July 15, 2011 - 11:04 am

    How wonderful to have this insight.
    We love people watching to 🙂

  3. #3 by Roe on July 15, 2011 - 12:38 pm

    Shakespeare also had it right: “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.” Clay gets it!

  4. #4 by Cheri on July 15, 2011 - 12:43 pm

    I hope to meet Clay some day. His inspiration is quite moving to me : )

  5. #5 by autismmommytherapist on July 15, 2011 - 7:59 pm

    It’s so amazing what he can share with the world. Thanks for this!

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