When your dad drops you off at school this morning and reminds you that he has signed you up for the cross-country team, you wonder how you got roped into this one.
You know that other fifth-graders can already tie their shoes. Yesterday, your mom tried to teach you, but you yelled in frustration when you didn’t get it right away. She told you it would take some time. Take a breath, she said. Nice and slow.
You do know things the other fifth-graders don’t know about nature, entomology, melittology.
You know the last time you jogged in the woods with your dad and your dog you got stung by a wasp, Vespula germanica.
You know just the spot behind your dog’s ears to bury your face. You know just the corner of the playground where you can be calm. You know you need your space.
You have known this about yourself before you knew you knew.
After school, you know to go to the flagpole. You know to pay attention to the woman with a whistle hanging around her neck. You know to stand in place and stretch your arms high; to bend your waist and touch your laces.
After your mom double-knotted your shoes, she told you that, when she jogs, she likes to take it slow.
A whistle blows and you know to put one foot in front of the other. You choose to keep going.
Andrew Taylor-Troutman is the author of four books, most recently, Gently Between the Words: Essays and Poems. He writes for The Porch, Sojourners, The Presbyterian Outlook, and a weekly editorial in the Chatham News + Record. He is a Presbyterian pastor and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and three young children.Discover more from Andrew Taylor-Troutman.