Today has dawned a beautiful fall day here in Idyllwild. The air is damp and cool, and the trees are still bejeweled from yesterday's drizzle. That's right! It drizzled in Idyllwild! It never does that here. It either rains big fat buckets or it's bone dry, but yesterday it was a very fine rain, just a little stiffer than mist, that fell on the San jacinto Mountains. The woods were foggy, the mountains obscured by clouds, and smoke was curling out of chimneys- almost like the 802. We even started a fire in our fire place, and as I was walking up to my house the smell of the wood smoke was mingling with the damp aromatic fall air and the product made me almost weak in the knees with appreciation for the world our Lord created.
I have begun a new bedtime tradition with Bowden called "the story box." Years and years ago my Grandma McCuen gave me an ornately carved wooden cigar box. Every night when I go up to put Bowden to bed I bring the story box with me. I put an interesting item inside and after we read a story, but before we pray, I open the box and we discover the item that's inside. Than we spend a few minutes talking about the object. Sometimes it is a picture of a place or person. Sometimes it is a toy from my childhood or a letter that we recieved in the mail. Anything you can think of that would be interesting to a 3 year old. Last night I put paper money from around the world and a pocket World Atlas in the story box. Bowden really enjoyed looking at the money. He liked all the different pictures, animals and colors too. But when I tried to look up each country in the atlas, and tell him about the far away places, it betrayed that his 3 year old mind has not yet grasped the concept of a country yet. The following is a bit of dialogue from my futile attempts to illuminate his little mind on the concept:
Me: This money is from countries all around the world. Do you know what a country is?
Me: What is it?
Bowden: It's a place where cars drive and Dinosaurs help people.
Me: Oh. Um... Do you you know what country you live in?
Bowden: Yeah... Vermont.
Me: No, silly that's where Grandma and Grandpa Tate live. (We've been talking a lot about Vermont recently because we will be going there in November, and he's excited about that.) Your country is called America. Can you say America?
Bowden: Why is it called that?
Me: Because of an Italian map maker named Amerigo Vespucci. Can you say "I am an American?"
Bowden: I am Amerigo.
Me: (pointing to the United States on a map in the aforementioned Atlas) See... this is America.
Bowden: Which one?
Me: The pink one.
Bowden: Oh... dath funny! Why don't they call it Pinky-winky? Pinky-winky!
Me: Cany you point to where you live on this map?
Bowden: (pointing in the general direction of Russia) Way up here in Idowild.
Me: (directing him back to the United States) No, you live down here.
Bowden: Oh, yeah! In Pinky-Winky!