Leave ‘Em Alone

“Genius is childhood recalled at will.”

 Charles Baudelaire

Know why geniuses are so rare?  Because the art of reliving  … of remembering … of recollecting … is lost.

Maybe not forever.

But it’s surely rare.

Too many people have no rearview mirrors. No chronicle. The here and now is all that matters. This moment. The right-now-moment. 

Is it any wonder why so many seem to spin through the years.  Speeding through life’s crossroads. Crashing from one moment to the next … barely conscious. Oblivious. Inattentive. And then surprised to find themselves at the road’s end.

There’s not a more important stage of life than childhood. It grows our antennae, cultivates our curiosity, fertilizes our imagination, and swells our understanding of our self.  Of who we are … and where we fit in.

Childhood is the great test-drive in a world that is so brand new. The chance to fall down, get bruised up … and pretty much not care. Because there are other more important things to care about … like sunny Saturdays … and opening day … and ice thick enough to walk on.  And puddles almost deep enough to swim in …


And those moments don’t happen in classrooms. They happen in ankle-deep ponds  … and on top of slippery moss rocks. They happen when you make snow angels … and step on a clam. Or when you catch your first fish … and suddenly understand life in a very real way.

Hanging upside down comes naturally …  dog conversations, too.  And you sort out the stuff crawlin’ around inside you by talking to the best friend you have.


No one teaches anyone any of these things. There aren’t any books … or manuals … or tutors. We learn these things because we’re in the moment. Free-range kids … zipping from one sweet distraction to the next.


Then … one day … it’s all yanked away. Almost in an instant.

The cotton clouds disappear and the friendly smells are lost … the textures are gone … the sun gets hidden … and time becomes too important.


They get dragged away from what matters most … because other things suddenly matter more. But maybe the kids had it right … and others had it wrong.

Then they covered their feet … worried about their clothes … sat ’em in a spot … and told ’em what to like. What to do. What to think. And when to speak.

Why don’t we ever try to meet kids on their terms? Why don’t we uncork our lives … and learn from these little nomads? I bet we’d be a whole lot happier.

And if … like me … you long for what you’ve lost … if you wanna live in that freedom all over again … you’ve gotta  barrel through the decades and hope there’s gas left in your tank.  That there’s another chance to feel minnows nip at your toes … and see bees feast on a Hershey bar.  And watch ants march over your toes. And wonder if there are any Indian footprints left in the woods.

Hope that there’s a spark left … to rejigger your clock … and scrub away the rot that’s barnacled your soul … so when seaweed grabs your ankle, you recognize a friend.

So here’s some easy advice for the idiot savants who wanna smother childhood … and force-grow kids on a diet of grit and rigor.

Leave kids alone.

Don’t bother their kingdom.

They’re busy living the good life.

Denis Ian

h/t Donna Samples

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