Wednesday, October 07, 2015
I've found the antidote to campus angst: spending a few days in the constant company of a curious two-year-old. It helps if you're in a lakeside cabin full of family, food, and fun and you don't have any Internet or cell-phone access, but if you really want to forget all the horrors of that disastrous freshman class, try taking a two-year-old canoeing. Likewise, it's impossible to think about campus politics while constructing a hat out of newspapers or inventing stories about the Little Fishes that Could.
Fish stories became a theme after the Attack of the Alarming Large-Mouth Bass. Little E loved tossing bread to hordes of squirming carp as big as she is, but they did their squirming at a safe distance; the bass her mama caught, on the other hand, was throwing a fit right there in their little boat, which was apparently alarming. "I just like little fishes," says Little E. At any rate we didn't get a chance to try out bass for supper because the fish squirmed its way right out of the boat.
I feel as if I've been gone for weeks because we packed so much into four short days: fishing, walking, playing on the playground, paddling into the sunset in our canoe, playing endless games of dominoes into the night. On a rainy day we caught a glimpse of a pair of sandhills cranes at the edge of a distant cornfield, and every day we heard or saw kingfishers, geese, and cormorants.
But we heard no committees crying in the night, saw no frantic students begging for extensions. I know they're still out there waiting in the distance, but for just a few days it felt good to live in blissful ignorance of anything that doesn't interest a two-year-old.