On Friday I had the opportunity to be outside alone with my 3 year old grandson Harrison. He noticed I was wearing my rubber boots (actually mostly neoprene). “Let’s go to the big mud” he directed. Off we went to the big mud.
My son had used a small Kubota tractor loader to scrape a small area to the flat bedrock. Their plan is to bring in some soil and develop a garden. In the interim, he has created ‘the big mud’. Directly into the big mud Harrison went. He was encouraging me the whole time “It’s ok Pop Pop”. I started to think about what was going on. He had on boots and was using them as designed. I was wearing higher boots and was unwilling to use them…
I with reckless abandon, threw away my inhibitions and into the mud I went. I wish I had tucked my pant cuffs into my boots ahead of time but what the hell. We circled around at various depths of water, very close to the level of a ‘soaker’ but not quite getting there. Suddenly in the throws of a three year old bee-line off we went to get his wagon. “Not the big wagon” he declared, “the small wagon” I questioned? Into the big mud Harrison eagerly bounded with the small wagon in tow.
He carefully and methodically located rocks with his boots then reached in and loaded them into the wagon. He towed them around the big mud for a few cycles and then carefully put them back where he found them as best he could remember. I asked and he answered “he didn’t need them”. I knew not to expand the query as he was looking at me with the look that suggested it was patently obvious.
The next bee-line was to his toy shed to get his battery powered ‘full sized’ (for him) John Deere tractor. He torture tested that baby in all speeds, directions and mud/water depths. Luckily the battery died before the big mud defeated the John Deere. It was time to move on to an in depth study of the properties of mud.
He found some ‘ucky’ mud and began to explore the slippery and suction properties of mud. “Try it Pop Pop” so try it I did. I failed to notice at first “help me Pop Pop”, both of his boots were involved in the experiment. One boot north, the other had slid south. He was precariously but competently balanced at the verge of catastrophe. He stayed calm and I helped him regain control. We moved on to working our boots deeper in the mud and then pulling them out with that glorious sound.
Then almost instantly the mud session ended. He was making a bee-line to whatever was next. Suddenly he stopped and back to the mud he bounded. “My boots are ‘ucky’ ” he declared as he swished them off in the muddy water. He re-inspected and off he went.
I took a moment to reflect and was on the verge of some epiphany related to my first year philosophy class. There’s a lesson in here somewhere? Jeezuz, “Harrison the chainsaw is for Daddy and Pop Pop”!!! Off I went as fast as my muddy boots and cuffs could go…