Weekend bonus shot, Monday edition

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Boy oracle, Los Angeles County Open Space, CA.

This is what happened: they found a dead field mouse whilst hiking, and buried it. (OK Mama buried it, managing to do so without touching it, no simple matter.  Baba looked bravely on from a distance of 15-20 feet.)  Then they gathered bouquets of lupine, mustard grass, and other wee wildflowers,  laid them at the base of this tree, and held a ceremony for the spirit of the dead field mouse, wishing him safe travels on his journey to his next life. The lil’ peanut perched himself on a spot affording the best vantage point from which to watch the proceedings.

Some dog-walking passers-by looked upon the scene and exclaimed, “Oh, sage, please enlighten me!” or some such. Since oracles in days of yore used animal entrails (among other somewhat less grodie things) to aid in their divination, they mightn’t have been far off the mark.  Except: as a tireless sidekick to his sister, and therefore the youngest in most any clump of kids, he is more often seeker than prophet.

Like the field mouse, I reckon that won’t last for ever.

2 thoughts on “Weekend bonus shot, Monday edition”

  1. Beautiful, as always. I’ve been reading a long time but finally registered so that I could share this book with you: http://tiny.cc/thedeadbird
    It’s a little-known Margaret Wise Brown book in which the children find a dead bird and hold a ceremony similar to what you’ve described. And then life goes on–but differently than before. It’s actually one of the most honest books on grieving and children that I’ve ever seen.

    • Thank you for sharing that, jen (and welcome!).

      I’m a Margaret Wise Brown fan (a lesbian curmudgeon! what’s not to love?), and I remember being struck when I saw that book for the first time. How (and for some people, even whether) to take up the issue of loss with kids is such an intense topic. Yet it is a truth that at some level, they’re more aware of than we are (I think: though I grant it’s a paradox). They are more desparately in need of a sense of stability around them precisely because so much is unknown, and because so much is changing.

      My daughter regularly grieves what she is aware of as her passing childhood (that she is no longer a baby: she remembers that innocent, pure time of connectedness vividly). I love how you summarize The Dead Bird: life goes on, but differently than before.

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