My youngest covered the wall around my clock in the livingroom with white abstract paper birds. I say abstract because the only birdlike feature they possess is their fluttering wings.
I did not ask him why he felt the need to create a family of birds, nor why he hung them on the wall. We teased him about cleaning up paper poop, but we left it alone because Sam is Sam and and I'm afraid if we question the magic, it won't work anymore. It would be like reducing the oranges and reds and maroons of sunset to chemical reactions, gases and humidity levels. His gentleness, his concern with small things will come to an end all too soon.
He is the child who collected acorns on a nature hike last fall, named them and gave them voices. Some went swimming in puddles, other flew, most came home in his pockets. His older brother tells me a few are still hiding in one of his drawers.
When a flock of leaves blew into my office through an open door last October, he caught me sweeping them up and dropping them into the trash. I caught him fishing them out later. They should be released to live with the other leaves, he said.
Tonight he grew concerned about a male Black Widow (they are not poisonous: the females are) in the hall and asked me to put it outside. "Are you afraid of him?" I asked. "Well. No. I don't like spiders, but I don't want the dogs to step on him." His older brother put the lucky spider outside.
This all makes sense to me. When I was a child, I rescued the battered, dying butterflies I found on sidewalks and in streets and placed them in bushes or in the tall grass. Dying in the open where they, these most beautiful of God's insects, would be smashed beyond recognition didn't seem fair.
Sam wants to be a doctor or fireman or writer when he grows up. I think it's all within his reach.