We Were Children

Childhood was when we marveled, when no thing was too simple or too small to wonder at: the veins of a leaf or a butterfly’s wings, grasping at the air; the sinewy threads of a buttonhole; the earthy must of a decaying tree stump. As children we fear only what we do not know, while yet reveling in the earnest and insatiable thirst to know more. The world is vast and rich with incalculable and incomprehensible detail, from the pebbles that sit motionless upon a sea of lifeless concrete, to the gulls that soar far out over an immense, dancing sea, to the rows of symbols affixed and ordered in books from which our mothers and fathers read to us.

When last have we taken notice of the indecisive ant that zigzags left and right and circles round in rapid pace at our feet? When last have we stopped to examine the carbon frenzy of air beads growing out of the very depths of a glass set before us? When does our humble appreciation for the sublime art of creation languish? Why does it languish, and with it, the innate humility that once gave vigor to our thirst for knowledge – knowledge for its own sake, and not merely for the sake of utility?

How humbling, how novel, how endearing, and how joyful it is, as a parent, to have our children pause our anxious stride, to remind us that we, too, are children in a vast expanse of magnificently consequential design.


About A. S. Ellis

I am always learning. Always. And that is as it should be.
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One Response to We Were Children

  1. There's a bird says:

    What a wonderful reflection! I was going to e-mail you today with an exchange between Francis and myself that happened outside yesterday, as he was sitting on the sidewalk with some chalk and I was sitting in a lawnchair, talking with another mom.

    “Mama, what was that noise?”
    “I don’t know, Francis, I didn’t hear anything.”
    “Oh, I think it was an animal noise.”
    “Oh! Mama it WAS an animal noise! It was the sound of one ant, breathing the air!”

    And I thought to myself, “If anybody COULD hear ‘one ant breathing the air,’ it would be you, Francis.”

    I’ve not recently stopped to discern the faces of slugs, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies, but Francis cannot look at a bug without examining to discern all of its facial features -obviously an attempt to come to “know” the bug.

    Children ARE awesome. And an incredible gift from God.

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