Not so scared

I’m taking my friend’s daughter camping this weekend. She’s been afraid of the bears and the foxes. Asking us if they will eat her. I tell her no. I tell her they are more afraid of her. “Why?” she asks. “Because they think your mom smells bad.” And she smiles a little bit. I tell her we have flashlights. We have each other. We have tents and sleeping bags and protection from wild things, but we’re in the wild no matter. She’s 6 years old and has never been camping before. I can’t wait until she sees a bug’s home. The way they curl under leaves, in their beds, in their silk socks.

She is new to the world and so much to discover. And she always will.

My mom made her a pillowcase. white, pinks, greens. circles inside of circles. shapes bursting in bloom. I will tell her my mom sewed fairy Oklahoma dust in the cloth. All she has to do is dream into it. It will ward off all the harms and embrace the unknowns. But she must trust the wilds will come to her someday and she must trust as they look to her, eyes held out like hands and she must follow. She must trust the wilds will become a home.

She’s ready. Yesterday she said to me, “you know, I’m not so scared of the bears anymore.”

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8 Responses to Not so scared

  1. Cecilia says:

    She’s so lucky to have you, love.

  2. What a glorious adventure, not just nature for the first time, a magic pillowcase and a guide who knows the secret language of bugs and bears.

  3. rachvb says:

    I hope so! I’m excited to see how the magic pillow case works. I think I should have my mom make me one as well!

  4. What an adventure you and this wee girl will have had this weekend, Rachel… I’ve been thinking of you, imagining you peering beneath bark and into water droplets, discovering all manner of glories. The magic pilllowcase your Mum made for her is such a loving gesture, one with the kind of meaning that will continue to free her imagination long after your tent’s been folded away and your torch and camping utensils stowed. I think you should ask your Mum for one, yes… although I suspect you already lay your head on one? L, C x

  5. rachvb says:

    I think it’s safe to say my mom made me one a long time ago. =)
    We had a wonderful time. We sang loud and walked over a lake-sized boulder field and swam in cold green water and didn’t sleep and heard noises in the dark and watched the smoke hit the light hit the trees.
    And no bears!

  6. Happy times… and no bears – excellent!

    Come to think of it… you’ve drawn a great metaphor here, Rachel; when we trust, bears become bugs? And when we don’t, bugs become bears? Both have their place, of course – we can bless both b-s. xx

    • rachvb says:

      so true. unless the bear is hungry, then I think it’s still a bear =)
      makes me think of my friend last night, who is staying with me right now, and she was terrified of a praying mantis on her window. She kept saying it was clicking at her and knocking on the glass like it wanted to get in. She texted me to make it go away, but I was already asleep and didn’t hear the phone. I wonder how fear changes our perceptions of things and why do we fear them? Perhaps her praying mantis was just lonely. But fear keeps us from letting many things in.

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