Thursday, March 19th 2015
Without much thought or planning last Thursday, I grabbed the kids from school and just drove ‘em down to Rhode Island for us to enjoy perhaps our final visit to the Big Underwear Bus before its inhabitants disappear over the Big Pond yond again.
Within SECONDS of arriving, ClaraJane is “helping” Brady split kindling with a hatchet.
Minutes later, as we all set off on our walk together. I look back and -SWEET RELIEF- my boy is careening down the street, waggling a stick, kicking a ball.
I feel this strange guilt that it took a several hour trafficy car ride to a distant place to off-leash my kids; to enable Boy to perform pure natural expressions that should otherwise be rightfully his (careen, waggle, kick… simultaneously no less), but that we can’t reasonably perform most days and places around the City.
[I am resolved to get to the country more often. I intend to start this coming Monday. Audobon Sanctuaries abound! But I digress.]
And other Normal Boy Stuff [N.B.S.], like waving and whacking things with sticks, preferably with a buddy;
And chucking stuff into water, like hunks of ice into this estuary, for example;
My friend Brady is an Artist; from the soles of his feet through the core of his Being out to the tips of his profoundly unkempt hair, and back again. Among the many ways this is true, much of his discretionary time is spent in the self-stylings of an Archeological Magpie. With electrically sharp eyes he spots trinkets and treasures on the ground wherever he roams in the world (which is a LOT of places). From the incredible historical and fascinating finds he creates countless art pieces and -over the years- mini museum displays. [See: Big Underwear Art]. Here he shares one of his favorite digging spots, on the shores of the estuary by our friend Maribeth’s house in Warwick, Rhode Island, where The Bus has wintered this year (both of which you can see here across the in the background).
According to Brady this is an old dumping ground from days of yore. The tide’s ebb and flow bring him a new crop of artifacts every day; Most notably lots of century-old bottles, marbles, pottery shards and porcelain sculptures. (Just this week he found a porcelain sculpture of a high-heel shoe… decades old, encrusted in mud, easily cleaned, still totally intact.) This activity parlays perfectly with feeding the local water fowl.
It’s simply a wonderful thing to do (hunt and poke around shore’s edge, with an implied purpose), whilst enjoying a lovely walk and the company of friends, not to mention a perfect way to steer the unadulterated energy of young children. ClaraJane even gives up her prestigious perch atop Brady’s shoulders;
… and gets in on the action. Alas, Normal Boy Stuff is of course also Normal for Girls. (I even found a couple bottles myself… even if they were Brady’s rejects, I was pretty stoked.)
Being the cusp of Winter and Spring, the shores are covered in lace like crusts of ice.
Perfect for CRACKING, one of DaddyLove’s favorite Winter Walk activities, for whom I include this clip:
After this excitement, Brady climbs out on a precipice next to a bridge over the icy waters. Gavin wants to follow, they consult with Mom; “I trust Brady, I trust you Boy. I believe you can be careful.” And Voila; instant flirtation with Danger.
For Gavin, I include this one; B.U.S.T. DareDevils [18secs]:
OK, here’s where I might lose you, Dear Reader. Part of living in a bus and professionally exploring the nature of money and friendship and trying to MINIMIZE ONE’S IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT, is utilizing —reusing— resources to their fullest. So if there happens to be a dumpster a tick down the road from your bus in which BRAND NEW WRAPPED GOODS are regularly deposited, that might naturally become one of your sources of occasional goods. Brady and Irmi were telling us some of the endless list of items wastefully thrown in the (Walgreen’s) dumpster, which they had recovered. To demonstrate, Brady walks over to it and starts laughing, holding up an entire CASE of brand new paper towels still in their wrapping. We go over and find countless boxes of intact CEREAL. “That’s my favorite kind!” exclaims ClaraJane. Then some bags of candy, to Gavin’s delight.
“This is when it starts to get interesting,” explains Brady, jumping up for a deeper dive. Of course I take a photo. Laughing some more, he comes up with several boxes of beautifully wrapped delicacy chocolates, like, nicer than you would ordinarily see being sold for Valentine’s Day. “NOW YOU’RE *TALKING!!!*” exclaims Gavin, in ecstasy.
“Shh! That’s too loud!” Warns Irmi. And she was right. Out walks this white guy with his belly bulging against his button down white shirt, wielding his Walgreen’s Manager name tag. (Not my fault if he sounds like a walking stereotype.) He scolds us and threatens to call the police, saying that is private property and we are breaking the law, and to put it all back. Brady resists his natural instinct to stand there and Have It Out with The Man. Ordinarily he would take the guy to task for the terrible wastefulness of the dumping practices and challenge him on the impact being had on the Planet. But thanks to my kids… you know, to be a good Dumpster Diving Role Model and all, we walk away.
But not before making out with a half dozen boxes of CEREAL. Yes, we walked an ambiguous line there. My questions to Gavin were; Did we hurt anybody? Did we break a rule? What did he think of that rule? Which was worse; reusing perfectly good resources or throwing them away in the first place?
In any case, the kids could hardly WAIT to break into that unopened, perfectly good box of Honey Nut Cheerios;
Brady shows Gavin a found Buffalo Nickel while Irmi brings a nip of rum for my coffee;
Before we go, we enjoy some time with MariBeth and her son DJ. Then ClaraJane brings an offering to the wood burning stove;
We say goodbye for now, not knowing if we will see each other again before they depart for Germany at the end of the month. Later I arrive home with two entirely spent kids.
Here is my take-home lesson: