New Year's Day

I was graced with being Kierra's friend this morning because she wanted to go with me to walk the dog. I thought about letting her climb Thumb Butte with us because she has the energy, I know, for uphill talking. "Let's go where it's warmest," she said. So we went down to Watson Woods, beside Watson Lake, and turned Sammy off the leash. "I don't know what's wrong with my parents," Kierra said.

She was sitting on a log, adjusting her socks, which were falling down due to some elasticity issue, and she was working herself up about it. "They know I hate these socks and they said they were going to throw them away. So why did they give these to me?"

"I don't think anybody chose that particular pair as a way to torment you."

"I don't know."

One of the most charming things about this kid is that things come into her head and she shares them with you like she's calling a play by play; damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

She decided Sammy was going to cross the new bridge across the dry creek, even though he hates to walk on anything he sees through. She took him by the collar and began to drag him onto the bridge.

"Turn him loose. He'll come if I tell him to."

She liked her method better but finally sort of compromised by holding on to him while he walked onto the bridge. Once he'd been over it and realized it was safe he ran back and forth across it with her. It was a new path we were taking. The bridge had been there awhile, but it was just spanning the creek bed, waiting. Today I saw that a trail has cut in from the west side of the lake, by the highway, as a series of bicycle and hiking trails begin to connect up into one system.

Watson Woods have huge old Cottonwoods and a duck pond set between Pea Vine Trail on the east and Highway 89 on the west. The shaded part of the pond still had a layer of ice on it, which cracked apart under the sticks we threw out onto the surface. Kierra is always talking, so sometimes I pay attention and sometimes I just scan for highlighted content. An example of highlighted content is, "I'm going to climb up there."

The new trail is cut right below the highway, and she wanted to climb up the rocks. "You can climb but don't go up to the road."

She climbed up a little ways and then came back down. "I figured that was as high as you'd let me go."

"Well, that was a pretty good guess."

The nicest part of the new trail is that from it a path goes out to the edge of the lake. A hundred ducks skated out across the water as we approached. "No Sammy!" He was drinking from the lake and I thought she was worried about his health, but she followed up with, "Now your paws are all muddy."

I remembered that a little earlier I had told Sammy not to go into the pond because, I said aloud to him, "I don't want you getting my truck cab all muddy." She's a smart kid, and she hears everything, it seems. She says she hates chapter books, and loves science. "Maybe you just don't have chapter books about what you're interested in," I said. "You can get chapter books about science."

And I thought about the hundreds and hundreds of science fiction books her grandmother has stored in the back closet. She reads like a computer scanning and can take in a book while waiting for a plane, even if it's on time. But her passion in literature was always science fiction, and she has exceptional logical intelligence. Kierra was born on Linda's birthday, and they are connected in the stars.

Last night Kierra came in to get a word Linda wouldn't guess in a game of hangman. "It can't be too easy because you know grandma is good at these things."

"Try winsome," I said, and I spelled it in her ear. She started to run back to the game.

"Wait a second, let me tell you what it means."

"I thought, you know, sometimes I win?"

"It's a childlike charm."


She managed to win with that one.

Posted: Mon - January 1, 2007 at 01:22 PM