The Little Wonderers

by tobias crabtree

Little Sahalie looked at me with them little bleepers and there was a universe beyond. Oh yeah, I’m always flying through distant solar systems, spinning across far off galaxies. It’s the kids, man. They own all the unmapped spaces. Her older brother was there at my other elbow, he gets it. Hell, he gets it better than me! These ages between the baby and the time when we become adults are where the connections dwell. You know what I mean? They haven’t decided to load themselves down with the stones of adulthood.

She was like, “so you can draw anything?”

yeah, i can draw most all the stuff i wanna draw.

“Anything?”

yeah. pretty much.

“So, you could draw a person on a toilet?”

Well, then I was laughing and Hunter was laughing because we got to see that little mind race around and think of the worst thing she could think of…and it was some dude (or girl) on a toilet. Now I’ll be damned if that ain’t innocent.

Outside the timbers were reaching towards the sky. Tumalo Creek was rolling towards the Dechutes. The Oregon sky was there as well, and the Oregon sky is godamn good.

When I get angry with humans, I remember the kids. They are just so true. Even the naughtiest of them are true. I imagine that the younger you are, the closer you are to when you were among the stars and so you still shine with that cosmic light. See what I mean? Babies, they are something else. I’m not really even all pro-human, I don’t think we are such a great animal. Personally I like otters better than humans. And mountain caribous. And kingfishers. But I’m a human, so I gotta put up with me. Hell, I don’t know how to figure this out, I can’t even find the restroom in the bar half the time. But when I see the little people with the long eyelashes and the ruby lips and the hearts that beat in harmony with the cosmos, well, I break down and wanna worship. Cuz if I was gonna believe in us, I would want the babies present, so I could be sure.

When Jason walked out of his house there on 1st street and his little Abe spotted me sitting in the sun and said, “tobias.” I was saved. Saved from my dark thoughts. Saved from the way I could be. Saved from the way I know I already am. You see, I get saved all the time by the little ones. Just when I’m ready to sign off and give up and say the worst things about what we are…a little one says, “tobias.” And my heart hears and my soul comes up for air and all of a sudden I’m breathing again.

Don’t think I’ve never been hateful. I got that shit down. I can name times and places. Someway or another I’ve found my way to here and I can no longer find good use for hatefulness. But I’ve been pretty good at it in the past. What? You want an example? Oh yeah, I’m not afraid to show you. Like that time at lunch when I was working for Student Movers in Denver, back in the late 80’s. When I was talking as a youngster and trying to be a badass and I said that all the gays in the world should be put on an island so they could die of AIDS together. And as I was saying that I was in the presence of a sure-fire ass-kicker named Bill Burke, who was gay and never said anything to me even though he was more of a man than I’d ever be and also requested to have me on his crew regardless of my juvenile opinions.  That was years before I knew James Canfield, the ballet artist extraordinaire, who is gay and wonderful and powerful and insightful and is a good friend. It was before I ran into Brett Philpott who is strong and badass and is gay. And before I had ever met my dear friend Katherine Fontaine who loves me dearly despite my long stays under her coffee table and my bourbon habits and my stinkiness…and yes, Katherine prefers her own gender…lovely girl.  I used to worry over the things I didn’t understand, now I worry over lack of awareness. I reckon we might not should worry so much over who people choose to love, maybe we should focus on eliminating some of the hate. We are all capable of black-heartedness as well as lovingkindness. These are choices and we should make them with open minds.

While I was talking to Spencer and Sahalie, I saw the light shining in their eyes. I saw them looking at me and asking me questions about the meanings behind imagination. For one thing, I’m not a smart guy. I barely get by in smart conversations, and this is how I felt with these two little ones. They were asking me what the difference was. Whether dreams were real. And if the light from dreams is subject to the laws of physics. When that much beauty and wonder is in front of me, I lose my bearings. I float. I become a worshiper, no longer a knower. And that’s where I belong. Maybe that’s my gig. I haven’t a problem at all with wondering and, quite frankly, the bigger the better. And what if the world turned inside of itself? And what if there was no one left to know? And what if, in the impossible future, we happen again?

Yeah man, what if? I love it that I may indeed remain, long after I’m dead, in the minds of the little wonderers.