07 March 2007

nature boy

cosmo has recently shown an interest in the natural world. maybe he just loves to take walks, and walks happen outside, and so that's where all the exploration takes place. i like to think he is becoming an amateur naturalist. he loves plants, yesterday he kept trying to hug a small rosemary bush in pearl and carrie's back yard. when he spots a flower, he is compelled to go right up and "sniff" it (which consists of blowing air out his nose while his face is pressed up against the flower). in general, he is pretty gentle with plants, he touches them carefully and gasps and makes his "oh, wa-ow" sound, as if he is simply in awe of them.

we were monitoring a gerber daisy blossom as it began to unfurl in a pot on our back patio. when it finally reached full bloom, cosmo was so taken with it that he accidentally pulled off half of the petals in his enthusiasm. i was a little disappointed at first, but quickly realized he didn't mean it, couldn't have known better, and that those petals probably felt wonderful in his fist. plus, watching them scatter before him was delightful. one way to know about something is to take it apart...examine it, play with it, and often even taste it.

i happen to be the kind of person who learns about things (still) by tasting them. if i can't figure out what something is made of, i bite it, or touch it to my tongue. i'm not usually afraid to try plants i believe to be edible, and it's a big thrill for me to forage for things growing "wild" in urban or rural environments. perhaps this is why carl got me stalking the wild asparagus, by ewell gibbons for xmas this year. i don't mind if cosmo wants to eat some clover, or dandelion, because i know these things are safe. but as carl, and anyone with any sense points out, cosmo can't know the difference at this age, and therefore should be taught not to eat wild plants--period. ok. but it seems like such a shame, and as soon as he can make subtle distinctions between shapes of leaves and shades of green, i will be teaching him to identify edible plants in his environment. i don't want him to miss out on such a satisfying simple pleasure. of course, i also don't want him to mistake poison hemlock for wild carrot, like i did in the berkeley hills in my early twenties. lucky for me i got to the emergency room soon enough, and all i had to do was take ipecac. i will definitely teach cosmo to have better sense than that.
earlier this week we went to the arboretum at memorial park. it was the first time we had gone since cosmo has been walking. he kept taking off into the brush to explore, but would get back on the path with a little coaxing. then he would run down the trail vocalizing, just to hear and feel his voice vibrate staccato in his chest with each bounce. tall pines drape the under story of the woods with their long needles. it reminded carl and i of silver icicle tinsel on christmas trees. cosmo enjoyed handling pine cones and looking at the turtles in the pond.

at the japanese garden in herman park last weekend, cosmo's favorite thing was the little waterfalls. he had a hard time staying on the path there too. he admired the flowers, and was careful not to pull off any petals.

1 comment:

Robin said...

I remember so well that Pearl used to pick flowers and "sniff" them exactly the same way. Gotta love that. He's so darling.