We know some wonderful grandparents.
We think they are especially wonderful
because they spend time
with their grandchildren
in nature.
This week, our friend Diana
brought her granddaughter, Audrey, for a 24-hour retreat.
They stayed in the strawbale hermitage,
which is a beautiful place to stay,
but it is about 300 square feet,
has no wireless
and no tv.
After an hour or so,
on a 103-degrees day,
Audrey asked the question
that opened the door:
“What did people do without tv?”
“They entertained each other,”
said wise grandmother Diana.
By the time I got to the hermitage
with a basket of books and art supplies,
Audrey, who is almost 9,
had written a play
and when I arrived
I was offered a chair
from which to watch the performance.
Diana read the play aloud
as Audrey starred,
as all the characters—
farm animals and cats and dogs
and our neighbor’s horses.

Audrey as a horse

When I left, Audrey had named
a new cast of characters
for another play,
in which her grandmother
would star.
In the heat of the day,
art supplies came out
and masks were made.
By late afternoon,
we were in the pond,
swimming around islands
to escape from a sea serpent.
Audrey stayed in the pond
after the adults wore out
and we watched her
explore what is at the bottom of the pond,
going under the murky water
to bring up sticks mostly.
She entertained herself.

Next morning,
Audrey was there
for the animal-feeding
and watering
and egg-gathering
and while Diana
packed up their belongings,
Audrey fed Johnson grass
to the goats.
Fortunate little girl.
Fortunate Earth—
with this little girl,
so comfortable in the natural world,