Baby bear responds to a shelling of questions about her age, “free,” she says proudly. Sometimes she fires back impulsively before she even hears the question and throws off her interrogator. After her forty-five-minute class the instructor asked me if she goes by another name. I respond no. She tells me she said her name was free. “Three,” I translate, she just turned three.The entire class baby bear waited patiently for her turn until the instructor called, “Free,” and she bolted to the apparatus and pulled herself up to the parallel bars and followed instructions precisely. At home we reveled.
It was a celebration of youth, freshness, color and sprite-like play. Icicles on our eves were no longer melting, another braise on the stove-top and a whole lot of deliberations for the fiesta…it was finally here. We are unsettled in our winter bodies, like disoriented awakening hibernating bears, we blinked in the long-forgone sunshine that greeted us that morning. We couldn’t have wished for more, okay maybe more balloons.
I watch my pomaded and combed (at least for the first hour into the fiesta) baby bear looking not quite like a baby anymore. Things change. Time is how we keep track. I’m falling more in love with this charged, visceral quickly growing being as her dream of her first party unfolds. Despite the usual frenzy that occurs with some extra sugar in the bloodstream of little ones, I am lulled by the capturing stillness when things wind down.A suspension of time at the pinnacle of a growth spurt. A time to turn over the demitasse and read the coffee grounds to make sense of the putative future.A glance outside, slightly arched green stems protruding from underneath dried leaves…a welcoming addition to our woodland gardens, and the party really starts going with the texture of life changing and the anticipation of spring around the corner.
The morning after the boys take charge…silver dollars on the griddle, and guacamole to accompany the kale latkes. Birthday girl sleeps in. Under her sumptuously warm comforter she dreams…the best is yet to come.