Smidgen - who is now 10... (your eyes can't be bugging out more than mine)... is, of course, a child of these times.
Plugged in, far too often. Her school allows kids to count books as "read" - if they are not read, but merely listened to, via the omnipresent omnipotent earphones.
I struggle against it- particularly as these are the years when she is really able to see and remember the world around her. She's had plenty of great experiences so far- but I find that the really wonderful time we had together when she was 5 - she cannot recall.
So this morning - a gorgeous bright October day, brisk in all the best traditions, maples right at peak color, sky pellucid blue - she announced that ho-hum she was going to lounge her butt upstairs and see if maybe she could find something to do.
I did not actually throw her outside and off the porch, though the impulse was hard to resist. But we did have a substantial father-daughter conversation about inside, outside, days which can never be recovered, lost opportunities, October, and all that stuff.
She can be enticed into things. So I baited her into going outside- and making noise, something she is appallingly fond of. "Go strangle your duck outside, down into the valley."
Go strangle your duck is our current code for practicing her newly adopted oboe; particularly when it is operated in its weaponized mode. She's decided not to be offended, but rather to cheerfully accept the language. "Can't, my duck is in the car, not here."
"Fine. Then get one of your old recorders, and go play that."
"Okay! ... Which one, the blue or the red?"
Getting very close to the just actually throwing her, at this point, which I was able to convey.
She went. Out. Until she came back in after 5 minutes; "Daddy!! You have to come, QUICK!"
Really? And why is that? Any hints? Is something bleeding rapidly? Have we discussed clarity in communication previously?
"DADDY. THERE'S A BARRED OWL."
And there is. And the owl came - because of the weird trilling and clucking she was producing from the recorder. Really. Flew right up.
Young and foolish, almost certainly, and calm enough that I was able to go back in the house for the camera, which does not have a telephoto lens but is a camera I know well - and get this, which is greatly enlarged from - this -
Really, the owl is there. And Smidgen is a complete owl freak; she collects any that can be collected, drinks out of an owl mug I brought back from a trip... etc. And it is a Barred Owl.
I did not fail to point out that I had been correct about the advantages of being outside.
She graciously deigned to agree.
But it wore off, after lunch.
I'll take what I can get. :-)