We were visiting my grandma when it happened. From the bookshelf at the assisted living facility where she lives, I pulled a book with breathtaking photographs of wild animals in their natural habitats. My almost-3-year-old was mesmerized by the book for a good 15 minutes–which is quite amazing in itself, considering he isn’t inclined to sit still for an entire minute at a time. I was having fun explaining where the animals lived, making up stories about what they were doing and even counting “heads.” Grandma was just beaming watching her great-grandson delight in the images.
Then, the blue-eyed boy looked at me with the deepest, most pure longing and said “I go this place?” He wanted with all his heart to visit the places in the book. Those stark majestic mountains, crystal-blue untouched waters, and wild animal-populated grasslands. This brings back memories of the binder I kept as a young girl with all the collectible wildlife information cards. I can clearly see the attic door that I decorated with pictures of decadent waterfalls, stark cabins and lush rainforests cut from National Geographic. And I get a little lighthearted thinking about the longings I had to join Swiss Family Robinson or Hatchet on their wilderness quests. Oh honey, I want to go there too!
In the meantime, I might have to find him some National Geographics, buy him a “Nature Songs” CD or subscribe him to Ranger Rick. But that will have to be after I put together a “penny jar” for our dream vacation in the wilderness. And maybe we can kidnap grandma for awhile to take her there too. She would just love it!