Fun to find this picture, and see the foliage we have coming sometime soon (not soon enough). By November, it had started to get a little wobbly. Pictured are red wing blackbirds--we've had all sorts of birds on the tree, including quail.
And through the winter storms we've had, many branches have come down.
Jane, ever the optimist sees only the sunny side of these losses. A jungle gym!
Lately we've been sitting on various branches and playing with others. In the rain and in the sun. Peeling off bark. Trying to eat the bark. She nearly ate a potato bug yesterday. She was giving me the eye to see if I noticed what she was doing and didn't have a close look at the bark. This jungle gym also features moss, dead grass, fresh bright blades of new grass, an inch wide or more and perfect for squealing with. I did it once and it terrified Jane.
There are sticks, too, to break, pick up, wave, and chew.
Watching her play here reminds me of the woodland playtoys of my youth. There was an upturned tree whose roots were an ornate cupboard. And one particular stump in front of my dear friend and neighbors house. I most remember it as a sink and counter, but I'm sure it was many other things to us. All of those nooks and hidieholes. I also remember finding little perfect brown balls the consistency of play dough on a high up overturned log and playing happily with them until my dad found me perched up there and told me they were squirrel poop.
I love this toy, because I can get a good view of what she's doing, and she can try her hand at a gentle sort of dissection. She peels back the bark. She examines. She talks a lot, and points things out to me. Tosses them away. I can get a really good look at how old she's getting. At her long hair, long enough now to really put up. When my mother in law was here she remarked she often saw my mother's face in Jane's. Since my mother doesn't often make faces like this it's a hard comparison for me to draw. But in calmer moments
I can see it.
There was a lot of talk, with friends and strangers, about Jane's hair color. Before she was born or anybody knew her name. We figured there was a good chance she'd be redheaded. I won't give you the long diatribe about what being a redhead means to me, but it has been a keystone to my identity for all my life. There is not a moment in my life without a corresponding memory of redheadedness. It is a very public thing, like being pregnant, where people seem to feel that because they have a strong favor or opinion for your particular attributes, they own a little bit of you. Thank God for Anne, who helped me make sense of so many things. I never doubted, though, that I wanted my daughter to be a redhead, like my mother. So we could get closer to understanding each other. During her birth, when the midwife said, "I can see her head!" I said, "What color is her hair?"