My nine year old belongs in wide, open spaces. I thought it was just the beach – the soothing sound of the waves and the ability to traipse across the soft sand with no one telling him what to do. I thought he was just a boy who needed time alone with his thoughts. He ponders.
But then we spent a week on his grandmother’s farm. It is more than 200 acres of gorgeous hay fields, fruit trees and a big red barn with bats hanging from the rafters. He spent hours on the tractor putt-putting slowly across the farm. He was the messenger, speeding up on the ATV when his Dad got the tractor stuck in the mud. He was independent, unafraid, even heroic that day. He became a larger-than-life version of himself.
At home, in the city where we live, and where his classmates tend to be more sophisticated than he is, he is quieter. He stays close to mom or dad. He seems to prefer video games over real adventure. He sometimes withdraws into himself where, I realized during our week on the farm, his daydreams provide him with a wider terrain — the grassy fields or sandy beaches where the tide recedes for a mile.
My son is a farmer, a beachcomber, a frontiersman.
And knowing that, I count the days for him until our next trip from home — to where the world is as vast and beautiful as the quiet place he typically travels to in his mind.