This happened before dinner tonight. The sun was just beginning to set. The bottoms of the bare trees were in shadow, but the tops were bathed in the otherworldly pink light that you only see for a few minutes each day. The air was cold. But a cold that was, combined with what was left of the sun’s heat, invigorating and life-giving, not the numbing cold we’ve been experiencing during the last four months here in Maine. This was a cold that made me feel like I could walk ten miles or more without tiring. We had about a half-hour of good daylight left and my six-year old daughter was asking to be taken to the church playground, across the street from our house. The playground isn’t much more than a Cedarworks playset nestled in the trees behind the church, but its proximity and relative seclusion makes us feel like it’s our own private realm. There is also a hill to climb that in the winter allows us a view of the Kennebec River, and woods to explore. I never miss an opportunity to make my children aware of the wild nature that is all around them, and the fact that beauty can be found even in the simplest things. Never miss the chance to do this if you are a parent. If children (and adults) are never taught to appreciate and find joy in the simplest things in life, they will never be able to get enjoyment out of the complexities, and when times turn bad as they sometimes do, they won’t have the inner strength to make it through life’s austerities. To be able to feel at home wherever you are, rich or poor, with not much more than a toothbrush and the clothes on your back is a good thing, I think, and Henry would agree. But I digress. So we walked over to the playground and as I was swinging next to my daughter, she asked, “Where do snakes come from?” I said that this was a very good question. Why was she asking? “Well, in school, the teacher was reading a story about snakes and one of the kids asked where the first snake came from and I know it didn’t just fall out of the sky.” “Well, I said, some people believe that god snapped his fingers and made everything appear all at once. But other people believe that all life started from very simple organisms that changed over a very long time and turned into all the animals and people we see today. This process took millions of years. It’s called evolution.” My daughter seemed to accept this as the more reasonable answer. Then the sun started to disappear and my ears got cold, so we went home for dinner. You just never know when you might get asked about snakes falling from the sky a half-hour before dinner on a Sunday afternoon. Today I was poor, but I had this moment with my daughter, and the pink sunset.



  1. Mike FX

    So glad that Henry is back! And so prolific. I’ll try to keep up and drop a comment every so often. Don’t think you haven’t influenced me…

  2. henry

    Thank you Mike FX! Henry will be in beautiful Atlantic City for the rest of the week so the posts may slow a bit, but rest assured, Henry will be back strong next week. Hoping to find some wild nature in the garden state!

  3. Paul Milne

    Just came across your blog from a quote in Philip Carr-Gomm’s blog. Very good stuff, much food for thought. I’ve subscribed to your feed. Have fun in Atlantic City!

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