Tag Archives: physicality

Energy credits

Drove Ruby, my seven-year-old granddaughter to Happy Hollow School this morning to save her time on a long bus ride. Had to enter the school through the office, get a visitor pass, and then accompany Ruby to the gym, where the kids all gather before the school day.

gym running
A furious spectacle like this is not what an old guy is used to seeing early in the morning. (Photo credit: Bring It On Sports.)

Well, they don’t just gather, they expend energy. While most of the kids were knotted around the gym floor, in class groups, there were seven or eight lines of kids at the far end of the gym. A teacher or gym coach whistled and seven, eight kids thundered furiously down the length of the gym and then back again. I was dumbfounded, thunderstruck — standing there gape-mouthed, no doubt, at the spectacle of so much energy so early in the day (it was about 7:30 am). Then I started to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. I kissed Ruby goodby, she trundled over to her classmates, blonde hair swinging, backpack too, and her crazy grandfather stood there on the sideline, distinctly out of the game, and roared with laughter. The kids must’ve thought I’d lost my mind.

If these kids, who have so much energy, excess energy, obscene energy, could only siphon some off for their elders! We could pay them, couldn’t we? Outright bribe them and, vampire-like, suck some elan vital. Or have them trade their energy for a consideration — say an extra TV  show, or a bowl of ice cream, or quality time with Mom and Dad at the venue of their choice.

I’m prepared to do a little gym work, say at 2 pm or so, a few times a week (I do go to a seniors’ gym), and to bike a couple of times per week — activities I enjoy — but early-morning track or fisticuffs, no way!

Do we love her for her yellow hair?

Had a dinner party the other night, with our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter Ruby Mae, age 7, plus a friend about our own age. Tim, let’s call him, hadn’t met our kids before or the kids’ kid (Ruby), and he was plainly enchanted by the child — talking to her, teasing her, playing, first, baseball and, then, boccie ball with her and me. At one point Tim praised her “gorgeous hair,” and I thought, inevitably of WB Yeats’ poem “For Anne Gregory,” which ends like this:

‘I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’

Cucumber harvest
Grandma Jen and Ruby harvest cucumbers from raised-bed garden.

What are we without our attributes? Those things that have been attributed to us, largely through sensory perception: our golden hair, our sparkling eyes, our shapely calves, our affect?

These attributes change as we age, of course: our golden hair is streaked with silver, our eyes lose their sparkle, our calves and butt sag, our feelings grow more leaden, it could be. And still we are apprehended, and judged too, by these physical attributes, into which we project all sorts of feelings of our own: golden hair is radiant and glorious, sparkling eyes invite, shapely calves and buttocks are a glimpse of heaven, sprightly feelings invite to play and frolic.

It’s only God, or the saints, as Yeats’ poem suggests, that can transcend or forget these physical glories and lead us into contemplation of the metaphysical, the abstract, the everlasting, if any.

Until such time, if such time there be, we will love our daughters and granddaughters for their yellow hair, their sparkle, their promise. And go on coddling them, protecting, nurturing.