Sunday, September 16, 2012

The World at Seven

"What does he mean?" is the sound, the voice, the question of a seven-year-old trying to figure out the world. In this case, it is our seven-year-old asking her older sister what a character in a show was saying.

She is coming further into the agreement that is language. She seeks out words she knows, written on buildings or advertisements at Nationals Park, and speaks them quietly out loud.

Watching a Nationals game, she recites the numbers of players as they come up, "Drew Storen is 22, Kurt Suzueski (her pronunciation) is 24, Adam LaRoche is 25, Jesus Flores is 26, Jordan Zimmermann is 27, Jayson Werth is 28."

I'm floored by it, so I'll quiz her while we are watching.

"Who is 55?" She doesn't recognize call up Eury Perez, pinch-running for Michael Morse. We walk about September call-ups and she likes pitcher Zach Duke's name.

On a Sunday morning, she comes downstairs with her blanket wrapped around her like a cape. When you're seven, they are the same, blankets and capes.

Every day is a lineless sheet of paper in the morning, which is filled with doodles, wisdom, numbers, poetry and memories by bedtime.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On the river bank, after

Sandburg and I sit on the river bank, eating lunch, talking about Chicago and how people are. On the other shore, two helicopters take off, bank over the river and fly directly overhead. These are the same helicopters that carried a different President to St. Michaels when I worked there and got to see him speak.

Then, like now, was after. After we looked at machines flying over cities differently. After flying machines were flown into buildings and the President we saw in St. Michaels got interrupted talking to school children; children that could have been my daughters, but weren’t. Children who wished they were in that school because it would have meant they were far away from New York and didn’t lose their parents.

That day, before, I was in Easton. I didn’t work in Washington, like now, after.

Now, I sit with Sandburg on the river bank of the Anacostia, watching planes landing and taking off at Reagan National. Watching Presidential Helicopters flying overhead.

Sandburg’s Chicago didn’t have planes flying into buildings. It wasn’t something he thought about. But our girls, and their children, will learn it as part of their history classes. It’s part of their story, part of our story, now, after.