Before Elliott and I stepped out the door for our morning walk today, his hair rested flat and relaxed on his head, almost like it hadn't woke up yet. I quickly discovered though it wasn't about sleep, it just hadn't been watered. We hadn't walked the short distance to the end of our street when his hair had suddenly gathered itself into a big ball of curls. It was like I looked away and he slipped a wig on. It was obvious something other than our yard responds well to Virginia humidity.
It really got my mind racing in some odd directions. My first thought was about Chia Pets. Those cuddly little animal figurines covered in sprouting seeds that grow almost immediately when they come in contact with water. You occasionally sprinkle them once they've sprouted and you have yourself a new friend with a coat of out of control plant growth. What kind of plants are they anyways?
I then recalled my grandmother giving us all Chia Pets many years ago for Christmas. Maybe I was the only lucky one, I don't remember. I'm wondering if the pet, although I think there might have been more than one, is in one of the many dozens of boxes we'll be trekking off to North Carolina to get out of storage this Friday. It could be. These boxes contain hundreds of just such sentimental keepsakes that we have managed to collect and move with us a half dozen times now. They've lived in a couple of different basements, two storage units, an attic and a garage. Many of the items haven't seen daylight since 1997. And I'm wondering if by chance that Chia pet was a bear, because unless it was born to hibernate, I'm afraid it may be dead. Do dead Chia pets put off that nasty odor of decay?
Katie constantly assures me that this stuff is all meaningful to us. This is one of those examples when the act of marriage magically turns "me" into "us". A happy marriage depends on an unwavering belief in that magic. And when I momentarily take a break from smiling for the opportunity to once again transport this meaningful stuff across another state line, I look away and wonder if any of this stuff will ever be meaningful enough to live in a shed - a bookshelf maybe - or even the closet floor of the utility room. I don't know, but it’s meaningful to us so we will get it closer to home.
By the time I had made it through this progression of thoughts, Elliott's hair was doing front flips off his head. I remember the frustration of having out of control thick and curly hair. (A pause is appropriate here to allow the laughter to subside). But when I was in the 7th or 8th grade, whichever year it was that girls became important enough for me to care what I looked like, I would wear a wool hat to bed so my hair would be flat when I went to school the following day. It worked. My hair was flat every day. Of course there was always a risk that the stored static electricity would somehow spark an explosion if I crossed paths with anything remotely flammable. Which I guess in its own way would have captured plenty of attention from the girls.
As you can tell, our morning walks are deep in philosophy and insight. At least as deep as you can get with a human Chia Pet.