An Unmistakably Mistaken Case of Identity
My “Walks in Nature” continue! I’ve updated the essay to include:
Walk 8 – Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve. My wildest walk yet.
Walk 9 – Western Cemetery. Abundant life in the place of death.
Walk 10 – Jefferson Memorial Forest. I loop around a lovely lake in America’s largest urban forest.
Walk 11 – Falls of the Ohio. Fossils and patterns and flows and the crush of time.
Walk 12 – George Rogers Clark Park. Wildness and history. Wildness and patience.
I hope you enjoy these reflections even a fraction of how much I have enjoyed taking these walks! I hope you enjoy a beautiful walk, in nature, today! --RS
A few weeks into the Covid lockdown, my youngest daughter, Cordelia, came to me. She had a curious look on her face – semi-smiling but a also a furrowed, serious brow
“Daddy,” she said, “Don’t worry. If you die from Covid, I’ll always remember what you look like.”
I stopped in my tracks and caught a lump in my throat. My darling daughter, then aged 5, touched my heart immensely. If something happened to me, in years to come she might look at photos of me and claim she recalled me, but it seemed unlikely she would retain any true memories of me. She seemed to be telling me that she was undertaking a great effort so she could imprint on her young mind images and sights and sounds of me, and their related emotions. I felt awestruck at her gesture and intention. Words came choking up into my throat to respond to her.
But she had not finished speaking: “Because I have Daddy Splash to remind me!”
Daddy Splash. She held up her blue cat blabla doll, named in my honor, which she still sleeps with every single night.
My mind absorbed her full statement:
“Daddy, don’t worry. If you die from Covid, I’ll always remember what you look like because I have Daddy Splash to remind me!”
Her look revealed her seriousness, concern, and yet happiness that she would, indeed, remember what I look like. I tried to stifle a smile and a huge laugh. I couldn’t.
“My Little Love, nothing will happen to me. We’ll all be fine. But I feel so grateful that you have Daddy Splash to remember me by, if something does happen. Thank you, Love.”
Her arms wrapped around my legs in an abundant hug. Then she bounded away. I remained, smiling and laughing.
I still smile and laugh when I remember this moment. Often I visibly crack up. But her earnestness and sweetness and grace shine through most of all.
Thanks to my Foster friends for kindly reviewing and editing this essay – Theresa “Sam” Houghton, Christine Cauthen and Shanece Grant. Thank you!
Image by Midjourney.