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Listen

Yesterday, Tobey and I had to wait outside The Big High School on the Hill while Bella had her orchestra rehearsal. It was a beautiful day, but he was downtrodden – there was nothing to do. He lurched down the lawn and landed under a tree. I took out a notebook and started working, glad not to have to entertain him. After twenty minutes or more he came to get me so I could see what he’d made. He’d propped up tiny twigs into what looked like a lean-to for a grasshopper. As with so many maternal things, however, I was wrong; it was the start of a campfire. Tobey shrugged with disappointment, “But I don’t have any matches.” I commented that probably a lot of 7-year old boys had matches, but I was that particularly forward-thinking kind of mom who thought it best not to start the school lawn on fire. Tobey, not for the first time, gave me a look of pity, as though to say, “Your humor does not work on me, woman!”

I tore open the skin on my knuckles while playing billiards and had to bother the bartender for a Bandaid.

“Let’s make it bigger,” he said, so I tried to be helpful by snapping sticks in half to build up the structure but only managed to cut my finger open on one of them (flash memory from years ago when I tore open the skin on my knuckles while playing billiards and had to bother the bartender for a Bandaid). Tobey reached up high and picked off an oak leaf, which he then carefully folded and refolded until it was about 1/2-inch across. He adhered it to my wound, instructing me to hold it in place: “The Indians did this.” After a few moments, he pealed away the leaf. There was a small, bright red crooked “L” shape on the leaf. “That means you’ll have good luck,” he said, and reapplied the leaf.

Looking up into the blue sky at the school’s old-fashioned cupola (mind you, this is the high school I chose not to go to when I was 15 as they were all about football and cheerleaders and hazing middle school girls who might date older boys; I chose, instead, the ugly, concrete box school on the other side of town, which had dubbed itself “The School that Reads”), I asked Tobey what he thought was in there.

“The Giant Scroll of Knowledge,” he said in an of course voice.

“Oh, wow. I had no idea. What’s in the Giant Scroll of Knowledge?” I asked, thinking that maybe if I’d known that was in there back when I was 15, I wouldn’t have had so much heart break during the ensuing three decades. The scroll would have helped me pick a better major than English, would have dissuaded me from graduate school and helped me buy the right suit with the just-so shoulder pads and calfskin briefcase. I’d have a robust 401K by now and maybe even a steady vacation beach rental.

“The answer to every math test ever,” he said – though I don’t think he’s even had a math test yet.

—————

What do you need right now?

The other night at yoga, my teacher-friend Jeanelle encouraged us to spend a few minutes moving as we wanted. She also trained at Kripalu and spoke about how the body has its own wisdom, which is much greater than that of any teacher. In Kripalu, this “meditation in motion” is the highest level of yoga. It’s not about following a series of poses and sweating or pulling your shin closer to your forehead. The highest wisdom comes from within and has more to do with listening than with strength or flexibility. What do you need right now? Where are you right now? Who are you now? What movement, no matter how slight, could you make that would answer something in your body-mind? For many of the class members, it was probably just a few minutes of free movement; but for me, it was a re-connection to the beauty of this summer, of sharing a space with 62 people who were all trying to listen.

—————

Last night, Tobey made an origami Yoda using instructions from YouTube and inspired by the book he’s reading, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. He actually made two, as the first one was a little off kilter and his ears were crooked. “Ask him a question,” he told me, poking the paper in my face. “It has to be a question of the heart.” Since the dog keeps waking me up at 4:30 am with her senility barking, my thoughts went to Hannah, who was – as she always is when I’m in the kitchen and food is about – right underfoot. “When will Hannah pass?”

Stupid Origami Yoda, as Tobey named the big-eared one, said, “In 3,546,082 days.”

Oh man, I thought, I can’t take it.

But then Smart Origami Yoda popped up. “Die she will when she is ready.”

Listening to that Inner Wisdom, she is. Or as Yoda said (the real Yoda), “You will find only what you bring in.” If you listen… he might have added.

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