It made my heart all gushy with pride the other day when my girl-spawn walked in the door with a handful of earthworms she had dug herself. I thought my little girl had gotten all girly on me while I wasn't looking but I was proved wrong. The boy-spawn still makes me queasy when he lets his mother and sister put nail polish and lipstick on him. He's still young and we all need to live out our gender playing roles sooner or later. I'm a modern dad and supportive of his choices. Why I myself, as a young man found some girl clothes in the neighbors trash one day and tried them on. Thank goodness that was before America's Funniest Videos or the invention of digital cameras.
For most of my youth I was a boy's boy. I waded through creeks, caught snake and crawdads with my bare hands, killed things with BB guns, you know the drill. Down in Texas we had these lizards called horned toads. Encrusted with sharp spikes, if you pissed them off they'd shoot blood out of their eyes toward your face. They provided no end in entertainment for us. Unfortunately, now they are endangered because of pesticides and loss of habitat.
We live in the North End, a stone's throw away from an undeveloped space between two ridges with houses sprouting from their tops. Within this ravine is a fox den. We see the fox at night sometimes right outside our window—a favorite spot for it to screech at the moon. While it wakes us up, I'd rather have that than sirens.
The other day the boy-spawn came home with fear in his eyes. He was playing up in the hills with a schoolmate and said for the rest of the afternoon he was going to play around the house. Further questioning revealed that the fox, somewhat brave by cohabitating around homes, was walking toward them and the boys were afraid they'd be eaten. What a novel idea. You've got to give them credit for their imagination. Fear like that continues the species.
The only thing that scared me as a kid was cottonmouths and copperheads we'd sometimes find in the creeks. Even then, we'd still try to catch them. I'm surprised I was never bitten.
I wonder when my own spawn are adults what will be left for them? What fun wild animals will be around for their kids to interact with? Maybe it will only be earthworms.