Three years old, my grandson
played happily with the boy next door
as I kept vigil with my chair and book,
content to be in the autumn air.
He caught sight of me, lighting up with joy,
ran to me as always,
eager for embrace and kiss,
but then I watched—I’m a witness!
Delight fell away.
He moderated himself,
Come as a child.
Most days he still breathes
the glory of discovery,
shame lurking mostly impotent
against the force of childhood,
until exhaustion or reason take over.
I saw him push the glory away.
We call this growing up.
The children learn to
hurry past it, resist its pull
until restraint becomes second nature
and we applaud the quelling of tears,
the skill of overcoming distraction.
When we come halfway to our senses
we are nostalgic for the capacity
to play and wonder with abandon.
We take great pains to manufacture awe
that was second nature
before we succumbed to the nonsense
of pushing the glory away.
I used to think the anticipation
was as fun as the trip itself.
The dream of escape offered respite
from the mundane.
The hunger for adventure
aroused the senses lying untapped,
hidden in the succulence of now.
I thought I could locate glory on a map
somewhere else where they have guides.
It turns out the Wizard of Oz is
just a grumpy old guy who paints
everything the same color and doesn’t
really care about your dog.
The little boy loves diggers
Religion’s heavy equipment
laboriously pushes all the glory
into the future.
I’ll fly away, oh glory,
to the sweet by and by!
But what is nigh?
“The kingdom of God is within you.”
The map you need
is the one that says
“You are here.”