today at the park

Do we really know the mountain well when we are not acquainted with the cavern?

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Dearest Frodo,

Today at the park, burrowed in the depths of your stroller, you slept under the green crochet throw your grandmother made decades ago.

I wonder whether you dreamed the magic I saw for both of us.

Shining green hills, blustering mountains of grey-blue clouds in the sky, river stones, orange yarrow, dirt paths pelted to smoothness by last week’s thunderstorm.

As you slept I pictured you growing up here, each weekend a new treasure hunt for beetles, moss, leaves.

The little grassy knoll over there will be the perfect place to learn how to hit a baseball; on the asphalt path along the river you will pedal ferocity on your training wheels; and, lord, the ducks swimming upstream below the iron bridge will harrow your new soul with delight.

I felt your future thrill.

Not like last night, which was hot with despair. Can I mother? I asked the darkness. Can I mother well? If yes, then how?

Was I prepared for it to be this hard forever?

The hills just to the east were invisible last night.

But today, this morning, at the park, as I packed you back into the car, I let go of your hand for the first time of millions, and breathing rushed in.

I entrusted future you this morning to that glorious viridian oasis, and I heard the stories you will tell your children and grandchildren, of the days we spent untethered, flushed with wonder, exploring everything beyond reach.

With love,

Mother