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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