He begins beating on the front door after breakfast. “Side, side!” he cries. He would rather be outdoors no matter how low the temperatures drop overnight. He doesn’t care that the beds haven’t been made or that the morning dishes still linger in the sink. I run my hand through his blonde curls and keep moving; there is coffee to drink and lessons to teach. There is no time for a walk in the woods.
But he’s relentless, as almost two-year olds are. So I reach for my brown hand-me-down sweater and open the front door to the morning sun. Its rays are warm even in the cool of winter. I walk behind, letting him lead.
The birds fly overhead and he is instantly captivated. Maybe it’s the way their wings glide or how they sail effortlessly as we watch. With each chirp from above, he grabs my arm. He bounces up and down and his chubby fingers point to the delicate finch resting on a nearby branch. “Me! Mine!” he says. He looks to me and points to himself.
And he wants the bird for his own.
And I understand this need to want what feels out of reach. To capture just a piece of God’s design and will for our lives, to touch and feel it and try to understand the mystery of it all.
“Mommy can’t catch the bird,” I gently tell him.
And he seems to understand. Instead we look ahead and venture deeper into the woods. We run our hands down the rough bark of age-old trees and pick up lone sticks to throw them back down again.
And we walk and stop and start once more. And God gently reminds me that there will always be things out of reach; there is a place where dreams are planted. But in the moment of the morning I pass it, not wanting to miss the beauty of this day.