Rendered Fat Content



A Mughal Miniature, Composition by Basawan, painting by Chitra for the left side of the illustration.Right side composition by Basawan, painting by Chetar:
Akbar riding the elephant Hawa'I pursuing another elephant (Ran Bagha) across a collapsing bridge of boats, 1561
from the Akbarnama. (circa 1590 -95)

" … that's how this world was supposed to work."

As empty nesters, The Muse and I mostly inhabit a world scaled for people who stand between five and six feet tall. At this scale, door handles seem perfectly positioned, toilets properly elevated, and mirrors more or less appropriately positioned. A city block's no kind of a walk, and a dozen easily bend to our will if we want. Either of two cars remain an option if we're in a hurry, even a bike. We live in a world scaled for us, a remarkable privilege, though we each remember when our world was not thus, back when it seemed to have been scaled for people much larger than us, a world which sometimes seemed hostile to our very presence. We persevered, matured, and more or less outgrew that humbling beginning.

I revel in nothing more than I revel in the presence of small people, adults still in waiting, the following generation, up and still coming.
I ache to see my world through their perspective, one-third to maybe three-fifths scale. I ache to listen to their impressions of my older and more familiars. I want to introduce them to some of my stumbled upon secrets, though I know that most of them will probably just seem silly when presented. I want to watch as the world I know gets rediscovered and interpreted from knee high or so. I want to know what those of us in the know, who live at design scale, couldn't possibly know on our own, so I watch and listen, I watch to learn.

Within full nest families, a three dimensional triangulation occurs, with eyes observing most events on multiple scales. Families that listen can teach themselves a lot through the simple convection and combination of several simultaneously scaled observations. If the adults can listen, they might learn the most, though they're considered to be the teachers. When The Muse's brother brings half his brood to visit, this old place really starts feeling like the home it was built to be. The kids spread out to case the joint and come back with at least fifty questions. A shy inquiry into whether it's okay to go up stairs quickly evolves into subtler territory, and more meaningful space for me. I explain how the garden works and what it is that grows on the ends of an ornamental crab apple's branches. We bite into one to see that it does, indeed, taste kind of like an apple, though a bitter, astringent one. We come into full function when we walk to the park.

I remember this park to contain ten thousand distractions, and I see them attracting these kids' attention. I sit beneath a gigantic sycamore to watch the concert. They immediately find small sticks and commence to scratching in the dirt, just as I did when I lived in their-scaled world. They shortly found the deciduous bark and peeled off a few samples. I pointed them at the fountain I was once arrested for wading in, but I told them that the arresting officer specifically stated that he was arresting me because the fountain was reserved for little people's use, not for budding hippies like me. Reassured, Lillie was shortly cooling her heels. Her little sister quickly followed to give each falling spout "five", or so she said. Endless adventures animating everything all over again.

We next found a tree that branched such that it created a tent around its trunk. A tad tiny for me, but perfect for those smaller scaled. "Can we go inside," Lillie asked. "Oh, you have to," I replied. Both girls quickly complied and were queens of that castle for a time. On to the hill, barely a bump at my scale, but when I was little, we called it The Big Hill. As we passed, lil interrupted the procession. "Excuse me, Aunt David, but I just have to run up to the top of that hill." I nodded my encouragement from my scale and she scooted away with her sister quickly following, losing her hat. "Don't worry. I've got it!" Lil stood on the top of that hill as though she'd just conquered it. She walked down like one of The Grand Old Duke of York's ten thousand men, but I suggested that the proper way to descend that hill was to roll down it. She quickly regained the heights, after which commenced many joyful minutes she'd spend rolling down that hill like only someone small could ever do. Lil's little sister even miraculously started rolling up that hill. What an adventure!

We took to the shade like fleeing vampires and happened upon a Black Walnut tree as we climbed a slight hill for me, perhaps a steeper one for them. We paused for a moment while I introduced the girls to this old friend of mine. LIl reported that the tree looked like it was covered with limes, and, indeed it did. I gave each a smell of those green walnut pods and we all quickly agreed that they did not smell like roses. They didn't smell like black walnuts, either. LIl had named each house we passed on our last leg home. We'd walked a scant half mile at my scale, but untold distances for a five or a thirteen year old, still, Lil persisted in explaining what she'd named each house and why, a remarkable dissertation reintroducing me to my neighborhood, not her's. BigNSmall together, actively introducing each other to the worlds each inhabits, that's how this world was supposed to work. (Try harder to remember this fact.)

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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