I always gave her a book. An old hardback from the same section in the used bookstore where you'd find Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and musty scrawled-in Hobbits, the painted paper covers often ripped or gone... My favorite was a sort of illustrated guidebook of pond creatures on which a very young child had written in pencil on each page under the picture of an otterI love otterUnder a muskrat:I love muskratBeaver:I love beaver
Missing what most of the time? The babbling faceless agora, the fame, the parties, the pop of flash bulbs? The lovers, the gaiety, the champagne? The solitude carved out of celebrity, poring over charts by a single lamp on a wide desk in a venerable hotel? Room service, coffee before dawn? The company of one friend, two? The choice: All of it or not? Some or none? Now, not now, maybe later?
Maybe freedom really is nothing left to lose. You had it once in childhood, when it was okay to climb a tree, to paint a crazy picture and wipe out on your bike, to get hurt. The spirit of risk gradually takes its leave. It follows the wild cries of joy and pain down the wind, through the hedgerow, growing ever fainter. What was that sound? A dog barking far off? That was our life calling to us, the one that was vigorous and undefended and curious.