When I was a child I developed a fascination for all things small. How ironic that I ended up so very large. I loved The Littles. I watched that cartoon every Saturday. Of course, we also watched The Smurfs, Richie Rich and the one with the rich kid and his Indian (as in the continent) friend with the turban. The name escapes me. This was back when cartoons were a Saturday morning thing. Oh, the anticipation. It involved pillows in front of the TV and a game my brother and I liked to play called "Feet Foot" (anyone else play this game?) and if we were at my dad's the potential for Smurf Berry Crunch cereal.
I loved small things. There were two dollhouses at the Scottsdale Public Library. They had wallpaper and electricity and tables that were set with plates and silverware. There were miniature cat and dog food bowls--no detail was overlooked. I loved going to the library and seeing these houses.
I also liked to "save" small insects that were dying in the swimming pool. I would swim around trying to cup bees, crickets and ants in my hands and toss them on the pool deck. I would swell with prode and accomplishment. "Another ant will live to see another day. I've done a good thing."
I would even find these little plastic hairpins laying around and fill them with watet. I would lay them beside an ailing cricket so that it had some refreshment close at hand. I would try to place these little insect triages out of the walkway so they wouldn't survive a near-drowning only to get stepped on. I would leave them while I went to swim and come back later to check on their progress. When the little insect was gone I always assumed rehabilitation and I would feel a sense of relief. It never occured to me that perhaps this little bug was snatched up by a bird or carried away in a gust of wind.
When we lived in Wisconsin there were always plenty of caterpillars around. One of me "little" activities was to create hotels for them. This involved a couple sticks and some leaves. I would pierce the leaves with the sticks and jam the sicks into the ground. This would create a little elevated spot and I would put the little caterpillars in their hotel and carry on with my activities. Once again, it never occured to me the precarious, vulnerable position in which i placed my guests.
Finally we arrive on my most proud revelation of childhood: audibly addressing the little people that I was convinced resided in my walls. When I was alone in my room I would try to get them (the Littles, of course) to reveal themselves to me. "Hello? If there's anybody here, you can come out. I won't hurt you." I would sit quietly on my bed straining to hear any discernable noises. Was there any scurrying or scratching? Was there a place for them to come out if they so pleased? Unfortunately, no. There was no Tom and Jerry mousehole from whence the little family could emerge and spark a deep and symbiotic friendship with me where they provided me with awe and fascination and I brought them my mother's used thread spools and thimbles that they could convert into various household items.
When I think back on those days I get excited for Stella to grow up. I'm anticipating her imagination. I am so thankful that I can remember what it was like to manufacture my entertainment from the creatures and materials around me or that I had the ability to really ponder the existence of small intelligent beings. It is very precious to be able to remember what it was like to wonder as a child. And what a gift childhood is for those of us who have memories of wholeness, health and imagination.
Three years old. No doubt I thought that little dog I'm clutching had "feelings."