I remember an indomitable spirit when I was 8 and prancing around in the forest or at a campground somewhere. Something that would overtake me, and that gave everything a smell and taste and feel of something really special always about to happen.
I wonder if 8 year old's still feel that way.
I wonder if 8 year old's still go around mesmerized by the puzzle-piece-butterscotch of some ponderosa pines: go around walking just to find and smell the candy bark. Or pulling down Usnea and chewing it, and thinking about how in my mouth is a symbiosis of an algae and a fungus.
Or like talking to the birds.
Do 8 year old's still talk to the birds?
Do they still understand that solving the worlds problems are simple? And that money is less important than love? Do they still feel themselves connected to a force that is enormous and benevolent, and that joins things together productively because joining together is correct?
Do we still talk to kids about how magic is as real?
As real as anything? Do we tell them that magic lives in the spirit of everything together? Do we share that magic with them by showing them the way that the fern fiddle unfolds? Or by showing them how the mud frogs hide and sleep, or how the green knows where the light is.
Miniature natural algorithms like Buddhist koans. Do 8 year old's still have a sense of the infinite?
It's been a while since I got to hang out with my nephews, who are right around that age, and I have friends with kids who I have not seen in ages. If the news is any indication, it honestly makes me wonder if a kid that age can get away with talking to caterpillars without having to go on Ridelin or confess to some sort of a neurological malfunction that the pharmacies can heal.
I think, in essence, I would frame these quandaries as a series of hopes, and wishes, and maybe even prayers.
That if you know the answer to any of these questions, I wish for you and hope you have the presence of mind to feel it as an occasion worthy of being thankful.
For those who do not know the answer - a wish for the sense to understand the fact that you do not know as something to be corrected, and have the courage to seek out young people.
For the younger people, a prayer of hope that 8 year old's are still generally connected to the kinds of mysteries that I was thankfully present to at that age, and that they still feel like they can heal the world with a single word and still feel it a worthy endeavor to try.
And finally, a sense of hope for all of us together - least we forget ourselves.