When you look in the eyes of a child, and the eyes of grandchildren, you travel in time.
My recent trip to Missouri to see youngest son Derrick, his wife Naomi, and granddaughter Liberty Faye and new grandson Barrett Bryderick brought that home to me.
Speeding down truck-crowded Interstate 70 in central Missouri near the end of a long day, my thoughts were on the textures and colors of an early fall landscape as another year swept swiftly by, like the mileposts on the side of the highway.
But when you arrive at the destination and pull onto the back roads, you slow down and so does everything else, especially when you move into the world of young grandchildren. Theirs is the world of "Now," of books and games and coloring books and food and naps and picnics and walks and swings in the park, and crying when things don't go right. As long as there are loving parents, tomorrow and being in a hurry don't exist.
I watch my smiling son, eyes full of wonder, lying on the floor on a rug with his son, six weeks old, turning his head to his father's voice. Now I know whey we still all like to sit down on the floor to read or watch TV or just get in a different position. It's more than comfortable...it takes us back in time to when we were trying to life our heads, learning to turn over or crawl, before we were trying to take those first steps that would eventually separate us from playing on the present-tense floor most of our lives.
Traveling back in time, I can remember when each of my children were there. Traveling forward in time, I know the next time I see the grandchildren, they will have grown.
Before long, I will have to head back home down that hurried Interstate, to the world of tenses, because the future intrudes. But for a while, I travel in time to the world of "Now," where past and future are not separate, but joined in the eyes of children and grandchildren.
"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.