Words. Strung together. At once leaning hard like tee-pees, and yet tugged along like a red Radio Flyer wagon.
I had one once. It was all steel and it meant business about hauling.
My world of Make-Believe found its boundaries with the natural realm to the extent that a singular, weathered wagon was my prairie schooner. It was my station wagon. It was my mobile home in the wooded Northern country.
Words fly. As if tucked into that red wagon, careening down a hill. Leaning left and then right. And then the axle turns and locks. It’s a beautiful thing to be dumped from your prairie schooner.
In that moment, a Tomboy Pretend Mama, Let’s-play-like-we’re-Family-You-be-the-Dad-I’ll-be-the-Mom-an-let’s-have-more-kids-this-time. You’re alive. As sure as the Sumac smacked your cheek, you are fully alive.
All the rocks you’ve collected. Ebenezers, you thought.
The wheat you’ve harvested from Boaz’ field, strewn about the ground like so many sheaves of wild oats sown under the scandalous Summer sun.
And so you begin again. Collecting the baby dolls you’ve trundled and toted, now face down in the dirt. Blink. Blink. Their eyes unable to free themselves of their tears from toppling. And all you ever wanted was one of your own. Blink.
You smish the smashed peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. Why you keep choosing grape jelly for your sandwich you commence to spend a lifetime wondering.
There are the words to collect. Once tucked tightly in the wagon, now tumbled about. Retrieving each one. Sown in kindness and love. Yet landed on the rocks among the other heart-shaped minutiae, trampled and un-treasured.
With every prairie schooner spillage we become wiser about what we take with us. The long stretch of the journey ahead requires a peanut butter-only sandwich, to be sure. But there might be some Oreos in the back part of the cupboard.
It’s time to go check.