The word CRAWLING is unappealing on the page. It brings to mind the awkward mechanics of crustaceans moving across mudflats. A sluggish summer highway in its miasma of fumes. The final movements of a swift ungulate, deeply wounded. It connotes a lack of progress, and it is the body’s pose of deepest supplication.
But not for my son.
Crawling is joy. Crawling unlocks the possibility of toys placed out of reach; provides glimpses at family life beyond the sick room, brings dressers full of mysterious textures and shapes into the full, bright blast of tactile and visual reality. A month ago, Jack’s small, surprisingly dextrous fingers were limited to explorations of things chosen for him by well meaning caregivers. Now they are free to explore things chosen by him. A warm coffee cup, a chair. Mama’s iPad. The cat.
Jack is crawling. And by crawling I don’t mean traffic jams. To watch Jack crawl is to watch a little boy hurtling forward at a pace unhoped for. His halting movements are the deceptively gradual lift of the rocketship in the initial seconds of propulsion. We are watching the moment that precedes a brilliant ascent into an impossibly big sky, into an immense future that is waiting to swallow us whole.