Objects

mockingbirdMy daughter, Cara will be eight months old on Saturday. Her requirements for object appreciation consist in the object’s size and portability. She prefers objects that she can a) hold in her hand and b) can be brought to her mouth or crawled with. Shapes, textures, and colors, if considered at all, are secondary considerations. This morning after finding her uncomfortably close to the litter box, I saw some brown poking out from her hand and thought she was handling some cat creations. Fortunately the brown object in question was actually a plastic rabbit. Whew.

Lillian at 2.5 years old appreciates objects on a different level. She adores all kinds of little objects and seems to revel in her ability to exercise control over them. She likes handling things and sorting them into different kinds of containers, by color or size or some quality I’ve yet to figure out. She is a huge fan of surprise egg videos on YouTube. Also surprise eggs at home: placing small objects into the eggs, collecting them, opening them, leaving easter egg shells all over the house.

Oliver handles objects as you would expect a grown man to handle objects. Functionality. Efficiency. Doesn’t seem to get attached to stuff. He’s cool that way.

I have spent the last week or so sweeping through the house decluttering and collecting things to be taken to the local thrift store. I’m always surprised how attached I become to things that I hardly have any use for. Each time I drop things off I find myself pulling this item or that item from the bag, as if my keeping the item will keep a particular time alive in my life. I’m also surprised by the seemingly insignificant moments that I remember so clearly, while I don’t remember many details from big events.

Touching my hardcover edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, I remember clearly laying on a backpacking hammock hanging from a defunct batting cage at my parents’ house on a bright and hot summer day and reading. I can’t figure out why I remember this tiny and serene moment. There is no reason for me to remember it. Nothing special happened. I have spent countless hours in my youth reading outside from various perches. But I remember.

I think that maybe those moments are in some way significant, thought perhaps only because an invisible current of God’s grace bubbled up to the surface as a hard heart cracked open in pressure of raw beauty in nature or art found unexpectedly close to home.

To Kill a Mockingbird will always be spared from bookshelf weeding.

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