Thursday, May 03, 2007


Ponsa ponsa time, I sat on a log just off a Stanley Park path in Vancouver. I sat there for a long time. There was a huge stump next to me, with a scattering of oyster and mussel shells. I realized that it must be a place that seagulls drop the shellfish in order to break the shells so that they can eat the critter inside.

People walked back and forth along the path, within three feet of me, and nobody saw me. After about an hour, a small child came caroming around the bend, and stopped at the stump, picking up a shell.

"Mommy!" he yelled, running back down the path. "Mommy! Look what I found!"

Mommy came along, pushing a stroller and talking with another mommy.

"Oh," she said. "That's dirty. Throw it away!"

Sadly, the child threw down the shell. Another child, offspring of the other mommy, ran up to the stump and bent down to pick up a shell.

"Stop it!" yelled the first child. "It's dirty!"

And the group moved on.


  1. Oh dear! My daughter was picking up "dirty" her whole childhood.

    Most weekends spent in a caravan at the beach. Shock, horror! Some nights she fell asleep without bathing.

    Shh! Please don't tell those mothers.

  2. My mother used to say, "You have to eat a peck of dirt in your life."

    I think we do our children a disservice when we focus so much on cleanliness. The world is a dirty place. We might as well deal with it, and not be afraid to touch it because it's dirty.

  3. My brothers and I used to have mud fights in the pond. My friend and I built frog ponds one day. Her mother's comment to my mother...."do you want me to hose her off here, or do you want to take her home and hose her off?" I was a little mud ball most of my growing up....It was GREAT!

  4. Sounds like you had my kind of childhood, Hound doggy!