As someone who actively seeks to experience wonder, and in doing so explores as much of the physical, written, and artistic world as possible, my heart feels incredibly full seeing someone close to me experience the same emotion. It’s even more heart-warming when that someone has a young mind that already experiences everything with an unquenchable appetite. This someone is my brother David, who is twenty years younger and looks exactly like me. He’s incredibly quirky and creative, inventing scenes where firetrucks, Lego structures, and play-doh creations interact – usually while he hums the Star Wars theme song. He loves to sit in his “office” (which is a tiny table set up by the fireplace in our living room with a scroll of paper and magnifying glass) where he writes signs, tickets, and draws maps. He still asks me to read him a minimum of three books at bedtime, but he’s also begun climbing in next to me with the Star Wars chapter book he pretends to read when he sees me reading my own books. I really love this weird mini-me of a kid.
Recently, I wanted to go on an afternoon hike through one of my favorite nature trails, and decided that he would be the perfect partner. He asked that I dress him like the Ukrainian flag, which I giggled over and gladly obliged. I made him a little flag, packed his binoculars and walkie-talkies into his trusty back-pack, and we were off. I also took the opportunity to bring along an old family camera and told him I would teach him to be my model. Seeing as he didn’t know what a model was yet, he was excited.
We got there and he immediately asked where the playground was. I said that there wasn’t one, but that we were going to be adventurers in the forest and field, seeing where the paths we chose took us. He got very excited about the trail markers and the fact that I said he was in control of where we went, and off he ran. He was also very willing to stop and do something that I could shoot whenever I asked, which towards the end were his impersonations of a kangaroo and zombie.
My favorite part of our adventure was that even though I had taken him to a place very familiar to me, David somehow managed to lead me down a little path (which may have actually not been a real path at all) and opened up an entirely new area I didn’t know existed. I thought I had a knack for finding pretty places, but man did this kid show me up this time.
I fully intend to encourage his curious spirit and help him continue being the wonderful weirdo he is.