The Crow

tilt shift photography of birds
Crow nest hidden in forest

There he is again, on the same place in the road that runs through the forest. That crow, feet stepping in place, wings jerking open and closed, picking at an imaginary acorn, a speck in the road grasping then dropping it. Is it a small piece of gravel falling from its beak? He’s wooing passers by (human or other animals) with a treasure, “ Look here. Feast your eyes on this.” For the last two weeks he’s there displaying one tiny object or another, looking in my car window as I watch him. He directs my attention to a spot on the ground or, rather redirects my attention away from something else. He pretends, faking his own interest in an imaginary object, an actor on the asphalt stage. Because he’s there, pecking at nothing, I wonder, what he’s hiding. Where his nest is located. Is his mate sitting on eggs in the oaks there above the road? But, I won’t stop to investigate. I’ll allow him his bait and switch, let it succeed. I drive off every time, as if I fallen for his ruse. I don’t like to eat crow. Okay. Sorry.

Something about that crow resonates. We all pretend. Smile to mask a rough patch, spoke over a friend in class who is about to tell the teacher about a schoolyard misdeed, push a cool washcloth over a hot forehead and get a child to guzzle a cold drink on the way to preschool. A fever? Not today, please, I have an important client. Sometimes pretending covers for what’s real, lies close to an untruth. Is one. BUT, Sometimes pretending masks not yet knowing, covering for ignorance.

As a writer of a true story, my own true story, a story only as true as I reveal, I sometimes mask the truth. I divert the reader, either intentionally or because I may not yet fully understand the truth of a scene myself. Writing and revising, even after several drafts, continues to include diversions, doubts, hidden information, hesitancy and more discovery. Some of these are part of the character’s arc, as the character develops, scene by scene. She grows, transforms, behaves with new insight. But some places in my piece, in my manuscript, unable to hear my own story or read my own heart, I resort to self-deprecation when I, as the writer, am as befuddled as the character was at the time. Impatient with my own incapability. The writer must become wiser than the protagonist in a memoir. The writer of a novel must hold the wisdom of the story and characters, too. Discoveries are part of both. We must understand human nature, motivation, misbehavior and character innuendo and behaviors to demonstrate a character’s flaws, our own flaws. We write our own story as if we are not yet wiser and share a journey to gain some kernels of wisdom. We best offer ourselves compassion, tenderness and appreciation as we hold our own hand through the hard parts of a story. Love ourselves and let the reader in on that love. It is hard for me forgive myself and work my way through some of the hard places.

My Beta Readers, a few selected people who agreed to read this draft and offer feedback on the current version of my story, Fallen From the Nest, 25 chapters 350 pages, have been invaluable in nudging me to consider a few shared issues. Among them was that I lessen the incidences of self-deprecation, leaving self doubt as a motivator for discovery, when overwhelmed and confused, but to love for this struggling grandmother as she settles into her role with her grandchildren and her troubling son. Tell the story with more self-kindness and generosity, love her more. How can I be compassionate with myself when I made so many mistakes? Bad choices? One thing I know is that I’d  be kinder to others in this situation, more generous and understanding. This is where I begin the next revision, wrapped in tenderness for that old me as  a friend. Back I go into the weeds of words and ideas I planted on my own, scythe in one hand and a soft pillow and shawl in the other, a pot of tea for our journey.

Shall I enjoy myself, with laughter, puns, jokes and silliness? Might that help the reader want to spend time with me, like me more, enjoy hanging out? I’ll have to tease the reader, a little bait and switch on the crow’s road, the same one where my story begins. How can I make the reader care for a woman who kidnaps her grandson? To protect her son from losing another child or to protect her own professional reputation. It was never about my reputation. My beak plucks a tiny stone from the road, tells you its delicious, to try some as I sneak back home to revisit myself and write what I discover.

Send love and understanding my way as I dig a little deeper, tease out a thread of tenderness and weave it in and around softening, opening my heart throughout the manuscript. Nancy

black bird
Crow on the road


Just a fun grandma-nothing else.

Dear Mr Sun,

It’s cold outside, rainy, drippy and wet.  I scuffed out to feed the horses in grandpa’s rain boots and my big raincoat with a green hood.  Its plastered with hay and grass pieces from weeks of feeding in the rain.  It barely has any time to dry out before the next storm comes. Georgia and Metro followed along.  They need something interesting to do. And they can’t paint, draw pictures or help me make bread-like you can! NO. Walking to the barn is better than sleeping on the carpet all day. If you were here we’d rain walk to the creek and watch it roar and bump over the rocks under the bridge.  It’s the color of chocolate milk now. You’d be soaked and take a hot bath when we get home.  I’d take a shower.

The other  kids (your cousins) were here until yesterday.  Now they are back in Boulder.  Kalen got up yesterday morning and looked across the table at your grandpa, its his grandpa too, and said, “I don’t like this kind of Grandpa.” Its the only grandpa he has.  Poor guy.  He must have some idea that he was trying to tell us about.  But that was all he said. I guess I am the okay kind for now.

I want to tell your mommy and daddy some things but feel so worried about them getting mad at me for bothering them. Sometimes I used to talk about things they don’t want to hear.  I have to stop that.  Now that you are so far away and your daddy and mommy are worried about things going well for the family, I have to find a way to chat,  just fluff and kindness.  I have been working on it.  Bringing out their best.  And believing that there is some. I thought I was doing fine, but then mommy was mad at me again. I don’t know what I said.  Something about watching your spark re-ignite when you played in the pool.

I don’t really understand how to be a good grandma and also a helpful mother-in-law.  She may prefer I not be helpful, maybe just kind, chatty and positive.  Your daddy may want that too, although I am his mom so I want to be real and find out what he wants to happen and what I can do to support him. But maybe he’s over that. I have favors I want so I have to be very nice.  I want them to let me talk to you on the phone and have them read you my letters (not these) that come in the mail and also to let you visit me.  Maybe I need to come closer to being an invisible mother-in-law.  How do I do that and be your Grandma?

That’s my job to figure it out.  I am not going to save you, I tell myself.  I am not going to change your mommy and daddy. I can’t save your sister. Should I stop trying?  Maybe you both don’t need saving at all.  Maybe I made up my own story about this.  I’m going to stop looking for ways to help you.  I may help; but secretly. And sometimes, but mostly act grandma-ish.  Let’s think about what that means. I am going to be a nice, fun grandma.  That’s what I’ll do.  I’ll give you a call right now and try it out.

Mommy told me about being a peacekeeper in the busy trailer and how much you all need her.  She has a plan for quiet times, like at daycare, she says.  She’ll listen to Julie’s music with the kids.  She’ll do it everyday. She likes to think about ways to help all of you get along better.  I am very happy to hear that she’s focused on you all. She’s looking for solutions as she herself is in a lot of pain. She had two teeth pulled and has to have cortisone shots for her back.  It sounds like she needs 12 more teeth removed before she gets dentures. You all have Medicaid and food stamps too. Good you have some kinds of help. I think our talk worked.  I just kept telling her what good ideas she had and told her if she wanted to talk more about the challenging behaviors of the kids, I’d be happy to listen.

When I talked to you all you could think about was that you wanted a piece of bread. Yearning absorbed all of your attention.  I talked anyway.  Then the phone went dead.  Bye, buddy.  See you in February. I’ll start the countdown at the 10 day mark again.  I won’t even tell you until your trip is a few days off.  Maybe around the 15th or so.

Okay, talk again soon.  I had to stop to check on a puddle that I found on the table.  I wondered what grandpa spilled.  My friend Ofelia came and visited with her big dog,  Jordy,  to play with Georgia the other day.  She brought me a hot pink azalea.  I have it in the middle of the table.  The spill is next to it.  I soaked it with a napkin and its yellow.  Smelled it-ugh.  Its pee!  I stood back to see if Metro had gotten on the table and yes, his footprints are all over it.  He stood next to the plant and lifted his leg…right on our kitchen table.  Yuk, Metro.  What do I do with an old foolish dog like him?  What do you think?  Pretty gross, huh? I wonder if this is a big problem or a small one to solve.   I’d better figure it out soon.  We don’t want potty on your peanut butter sandwich!  EEEEWWWWW. gma

Mow the Meadow

I walked up the steps from the barn this morning looking toward a glowing orange ruffle in the dark wet duff.  It was an old stump that had become home to an incredibly bright orange fungal growth which may be one called “witches butter”.  I am astounded each day by the diversity of life at our doorstep.

For the past several nights  Grandpa and I came home after dark and around bedtime from dinner in town, the airport or the play I mentioned last week.  As we drove up the drive we slowed far a small herd of deer, two bucks and three or four does. They eat the pasture grasses in the evenings.  One buck, larger than any we’ve seen, rests with his legs folded on the hill near the orchard.  He’s the caretaker for his herd. If we roll silently and slowly (the Prius), he doesn’t even unfold to a stand, and watches us pass about 20 feet from the car.

Yesterday afternoon I turned onto Lupine just after a rain shower and slowed for the road bunnies.  Remember how they would wait for us to approach and THEN dash across, one, then two, then 10 quail buddies, then the last brave bunny. We’d stop so you could spot them hiding under the brush, but you could never see them.  Me either.  You called them sneaky road bunnies. I love the way they munch grasses right next to the quail scratching through the soil for seeds.  It’s a mixed species dinner party.  Sometimes a jay or a raven drop in and the guests scramble.

A couple of weeks ago grandpa and I slowed on Lupine to watch a flock of turkeys cavorting in the meadow. (I call it a meadow because of a song we sang about it.) We counted 14 turkeys. A few were squatting to rest, some eating but the most interesting pair were sparring.  You know what that is?  Two tall, long-tailed, dark feathered wild turkeys stood two legs braced about three feet apart and dared one another.  Then ran forward wings flapping and bumped chests.  At the time of contact they would snap their beaks aggressively.  I really don’t know about bird behavior, but it was so cool to watch them repeat this over and over.  I think they made a turkey sound while they did it.  I’ll ask Grandpa if he remembers.

The pasture is also bobcat meadow.  One regularly slips across the road in the very same spot, her trail worn through the grass. She darts through the brush and out into the open where sits and preens for us.  She licks her paws, strokes a long pink tongue along her back and nips ticks out of her tail.  She allows us to stop the car to watch.  But if we are walking, she hides in the trees.  Maybe she doesn’t know we are in the car.  What do you think?

Visiting bobcat

Here she is at our house; although this may not be the same one.

“One man, two men come to mow the meadow, three men, four men they come to mow the hay.” Again, you say.  We’d continue to count by fours then backwards again.  We’d sing it all the way to town sometimes.  Our singing  started when we saw Salvador mowing the dry grasses  with John’s tractor. He was pulling a mower attachment up across and up again.  That was a couple of years back.  I learned the song when I was a teacher.  It helped kids learn their foursies multiplication tables. Four and three and two and one and whole lots more (not sure I have that part right) They mow the hay and they take it away on a beautiful summers day. One time we got to one hundred and twenty eight.  But, I ususally started over after 64. I remember the time we opened up to the big shiny ocean on Empire Grade after leaving the cover of  trees and you called, “Its a beautiful summers day.” You exhaled and held your arms wide and swooned, “Gorgeous.”

I hope you still say gorgeous. And someone gives you fantastic new words to try out.  And I hope someday I can teach you your foursies with breakfast cereal, jacks and a ball, playing cards, dominoes, my grannies button jar and the mow the meadow song, too. We could get all the way to our twelves if you want.  I love you little buddy. gma

Family time

I just got back from Los Angeles. I spent three days with my friend Marni and her family. They were all at her house and had daily snaggly haired morning snuggles. Her grown kids used to play with your daddy and Uncle AJ when they lived in Santa Cruz. Marni’s mom, her brothers and their kids all live nearby. I waded around for those few days through their family stories thick with emotion. I watched them hang on each others shoulders, eating and then discussing the food, talking and listening. They eagerly examine one anothers’ choices, share concern and get in little spats. I listened in on their rich, loving, and complicated lives. I felt a little lonely as I thought about our lives and yours.

You sure have a busy place. I imagine it a popcorn popper of activity. Little people and big ones. Your trailer-home in constant motion; noisy. What a change from your Bonny Doon cabin. Your mom and dad never had people over, no friends, little activity and lots of quiet under the trees. Its as different as it is here at my quiet house after my trip to LA. I am all alone. Grandpa at work and the dogs asleep. And I no longer wait for you to come bursting into the hallway.

Today there was a grandma on the news from another country called Brazil. She wanted her grandson to come back to her from far away in America. It was news because it was about a little boy being loved by two families far away from one another. They each want to live with him, feed him, watch him grow and play. The adore him and each want him to be their little boy. Kind of like you-right? They showed a picture of the grandma with the boy. It was me and you. I understand that grandma. And I understand that the little boy has had a really hard time of it and sad, hard losses already in his short life. And I believe he is going to be okay. I hope he gets to see his grandma.

I suspect you like it in Montana, but hoped you wouldn’t. I thought you’d have to come right back. But with 3 yr old Crystal to play with, toddler Nathaniel keeping you hopping and the old dog to snuggle with; you are entertained.   I love to think about you with me, but I know you like it there. Maybe soon it will be your new home. Today I have the feeling you’ll be okay. Marni assured me, as have other friends who know these kind of things, that you will forever be someone who had three good years in Bonny Doon. That you are resilient. And that even our own kids (your daddy and uncles) sometimes had hard stuff; lousy day care, times when we blew it and less than spectacular teachers. They are really okay guys. All of them. Yes, even your daddy.

Aren’t feelings complicated? Happy, sad, worried and hopeful get all stirred up together.

We need to see each other. I am a very lucky grandma. I get to see you in 16 more days. I found a motel that has an indoor play space. I will run with you, splash in a pool and we’ll slide down a slide. Maybe your mom and dad want to come play too. Sure. They can come. Your mommy told me today that you could stay all night. I’ll wait to call you and say I’m coming the night before I come. It would be unfair to have you confused by the waiting. I can hardly handle it. Two weeks seems far away.

I am a tiny bit afraid that you won’t want to stay and play with me. Worrying is not useful. Let’s always remind each other about that. Instead I will picture us having fun on the water slide. Come on,  sit on my lap.  Wheeee!

Kisses to baby sissy. I love you, bud. SPLASH. gma

A few changes

Each day I go about my chores walking from room to room to put things away that Grandpa and I have used and left lying about.  Most of us do that, I think.  But if I put stuff back each day then it never gets to be too big of a job.  A shame that I don’t do that in my office, but that’s another story. Today I took a toy baby cow, a black and white calf , out of its barn on the coffee table and put it in a basket with the other animals. You and I had given her some green paper in a bottle lid pretnding it was grass hay for her to eat. We used to pretend she mooed a very tiny “moo” and her mom cow and the dad bull each had bigger “moos”.  You were good at the different pitches.  “Teeny, teeny tiny moo” we’d say.  “BIG loud, deep moo.”  We’d laugh at our silliness and tried it with other things.  “Big giant truck.”  “Teeny tiny truck”, “BIG rock”, “Teeny rock.” Remember?

I threw the grass in the lid away. I thought about packing all of it away.  I scanned the toy shelf there with the cars, trucks, the small wooden gas pumping station set up for play, Tommy doll still wearing his pumpkin suit and the baskets of trinkets we’d collected. I pulled out all the natural items and tossed them over the deck rail; redwood, fir and pine cones, your alligator stick, rocks that you’d found got shiny when you spit on them and acrons with their caps still on. I should put the toys, puzzles and games all away.  They have always been a pain to dust.  Then this morning I found Georgia on her dog bed with your stuffed lion between her paws.  She wasn’t even chewing it.  She was asleep; her snout snuggled against it.  We aren’t yet ready to pack  your playthings away. Besides, maybe your mom will let you visit and wouldn’t you want to see it all just the way you remember?

I have to tell you something.  Your  house is not the same as it was.  It looks very different.  All winter long Jim, who you called Jim-guy, is making it nicer to live in.  Your little place was chilly, it had no insulation in the walls or roof, the electrical wiring was very old and not too safe.  With you guys gone to Montana, Grandpa and Jim and I made a plan to fix it up.  Its really messy now, and looks like no one would ever want to live there.  We can see all the wires and pipes and the rug is gone.  But if you come visit, (that is, if your mom lets you) we’ll walk over there to see it.  But be warned, your bed is not there, there’s no place to sleep or to sit, and there’s no window in the livingroom.  We’ll get a new one.   You can see the insides of the walls.  But Jim knows how to fix it.  I promise that in the Spring it will be amazing.  The walls will be closed up, painted and the floor nice wooden planks. And if you guys ever come back home, you will be more snuggly, warm and safer than ever before.  And I hope you do.

Packages are coming

I keep sending you things.  It was your birthday, so I sent you a book that I made, some boots, gloves and a warm hat.  I sent sissy some too. Then I sent you a box of building blocks with animals, vehicles and people accessories for Christmas.  Enough for you to share with cousins; 20 month Nathaniel, 3 yr old Crystal and someday the two babies, your sister Elizabeth; only 3 months old and your baby cousin, Claire; 4 months. I also sent the whole family some footies.  You love footie jammies.   It must be crowded there with all of you. Maybe loud and busy, too. You have mommy, daddy Tom, Shanna, Willie, his girlfriend and your Montana Grandma, and you and the other four kids.  I probably should send you tiny things, fold-able things, maybe nothing at all.  Invisible things. But I like thinking of you holding what I placed in a box just hours before.  Your small hands wrapped around an ornament, a gingie cookie that I’d cut and iced the night before- one for each of you.  I wonder how you play.  Is there any floor space?  Where are your clothes?  Your books? Do you still sleep in a box?  Do mommy and daddy have a room yet?

I don’t ask when I call, because I just want to hear you talk and listen to the noises in the house.  “Don’t come in the kitchen.” ” Out!” “Go and turn on TV.”  “Get out of here.” ” No! pinching hurts him, Nathaniel.”  “Don’t do that. ” And I hear a baby cry.  Is it Ellie?  I’ll hold her, I think.  You all probably need a hand.  Mine aren’t ever too busy to hold a baby or to help you tell Nathaniel not to pinch, but to ask when he wants the phone.  We could teach him to tell us.  Just like we tell Georgia not to jump when she’s happy to see you.  And you tell her to sit and she does. She twirls around when we go to your old house to find you, but flops down when you aren’t there.

I found one blue slipper in the sand box that Jim built for you.  Is one of your feet cold?  I put it in the package with some little presents. I hope you took the other slipper to Montana.  I was sad when I found your new backpack in the garbage.  Some other baby may want to go hiking in it someday.  I put it in my garage.  I still have the picture of you in it.

Maybe this summer sissy can sit in it and the three of us will go for a big hike.  You can walk by yourself now.  You have your own camel back pack with a water bladder.  When you wear it, we hike very very slowly.  Because each time you want a drink, which is so fun with the tube there to suck on; your feet stop moving.  And I wait for you.  There’s more drinking and waiting than hiking.  That’s just fine.  “We are in no rush,” I told Grandpa. Someday we’ll be asking you to wait for us.

Let’s go to Echo Lake this summer, okay?  I like thinking about it.

Not so smart

I’m not so smart without you. That’s wierd because you are only three.  But you are the kind of guy who repeats so precisely what I say, that we thought, “Oh, isn’t he a clever boy.”  But then I  remembered that I said it first.  Yes, it was my idea that related to something concrete and relevant to both of us.  When we shopped at New Leaf, at check-out, Id’ give you the bring-your-own-bag tokens (maybe 3 or four of them; one for each bag) and perched in the cart, you’d push them into the slots of your choice. We’d glide along in front of the donation boxes and you’d recite each in order:  “Hungry people,  bicycle riders, flowers, animals, oceans,  students learning to grow food,  houses for people, growing organic vegetables.” You’d “vote” for who would get the store’s donation at the end of the month right along with the other shopper’s. You picked up the words, the predictable sequence of them and recited them dutifully.

You often surprised me with your ability to talk about things using the words you’d gathered and concepts, too.  Once we stopped to give a guy on the street a rain poncho after picking up a few of them at the hardware store to distribute in front of the Safeway store.  You said out the open window, “I gave you a ticket for a new house. “  Though the initial idea, the ritual of putting tokens in boxes and the thought and words were mine, they were about our shared, special daily activities.  And you made them yours. They were  smart and you; a clever two-year old.  I let it make me feel smart, too. I hear your words everywhere I go.  The very words and ideas I offered you, and the ones you chose to make your own;  at the barn, in the car, on the trail, at the mailbox, in the kitchen, the bathtub and at tea time.  Daily rituals, repetition and language for it all that knit our memories together into something that we understood and used to build more. “I hear the coyotes.  They want to share their food with their friends.”  “Grandpa is at his office spinning around in his chair.”  “I see grandpa’s antennas all over the mountains.”

You crafted rich and interesting conversations with all of us to answer your questions and fill you with more. You and Grandpa talked while you worked.  I used to listen while you guys were using the Ohm Meter in the library, practicing morse code and discussing soldering and electrical circuitry.  All at a three-year old level. Grandpa found ways to translate complex thinking into simple language for you.  You and he had very special ways that you talked about your shared work.

I hope your mom and dad and other adults in your Montana trailer keep working to connect your experience with words,  build memories and relationships with others and your interests.  You flourish when listened to,  your questions respected, answered and are thoughtfully guided through misunderstandings.  You curiously explore, try to make things occur, again and again and look to adults for words to describe it and practice saying them.  “Talk to me, please,” you once said to your daddy.  Keep asking.

Meanwhile, I’ll talk to the dogs, to grandpa and to myself; seeking the smartest me that I have ever known.  The one when I was with you, little buddy.

Storm Brewing

For a few days a storm has been building here in the mountains.  The fog and mist thickened and the sky deepened-gray, then black.  It was you that heard the phrase spoken by your friend Caillou in his small worried voice, talking to his grandpa-“a storm’s brewing.”  We all say it now.  Grandpa said it yesterday as he left the house to feed the horses their lunches.  I called, “Ask our little buddy if he wants to go..”  “Oh”, moaned grandpa ” I can’t, he’s moved to Montana.”  The rain spattered.  The wind got so mighty that small branches cracked and snagged in the trees below.  Smaller ones flung across the driveway.  There was a roll and clap of thunder.  A crackle of lightning. And the power went out in the house.

I wish you were here, so we could watch the sky together.  We’d build a fire in the wood stove. We’d talk about the storm, the branches and grandpa’s raincoat. Families have a special language they use with one another, from their own childhoods, their toddlers, from talking to their dogs and each other.  Their experiences get word-tagged as they remember them together with unique choices, sometimes silly and made-up phrases;  special phrases  juicy with memories, special to us.

Grandpa ran into the house calling.  “Whew,” he shouted, “that was loud!” His antenna for his radios were swirling, bending and rocking about. He slipped in the mud. It was wild.  You’d have been a little worried, but then after a bit we’d laugh about grandpa’s excitement.

Happy Birthday, buddy

Today is your birthday, little buddy.  Happy, Happy Day.  Grandpa and I sent you a present.  I was so mixed up after you left that I forgot to wrap the presents.  Sorry.  You’d have fun tearing off the paper.  The tearing sound is part of birthdays. Maybe your mommy will do it. We sent your sister a present, too. Her birthday is far, far away. We sent some snuggly warm things so you will both stay cozy and warm.  She’s tiny and a little too skinny, I think. I like our babies a bit chubby. Never let her cry long.  She uses her cry to say I need food, hugs, to play. Because she can’t talk yet. Try all three, okay? Food, snuggles and pat-a-cake. Make your silly faces and sing some songs.  I hope your mommy sends us pictures of your birthday party.  And that you get some yummy cake.  Blow out your candles and make a wish. Kisses to you and your daddy and mom.  They made a pretty wonderful little person…YOU. I say to them on your birthday- Thank you. You are no longer 1. You are no longer 2. Today you are 3!

Dance and Play

It’s so cold today in Billings.  The newscast reported wind, snow and -15 degrees.  Stay inside today.  Don’t go out to play. The park will still be there another day. Dance in the living room, jump off the couch, climb the backs of chairs and scoop dry beans in big tablespoons, pouring them into plastic cups of different sizes.  Dig your hands into the bucket and listen as the beans rain down.  That’s how it sounds in Bonny Doon today.  It’s raining.  Not too cold but we are in the clouds up here so it looks foggy.  The orange tractor glows hotly through the mist.  The rain rinses the mud from the tread of its big knobby tires.  You’d have liked helping me smooth out the new gravel near Grandpa’s shop.  Shelby and Geoff brought the dump truck two times and carefully driving very slowly, slipped past the shop, back by the hoop shed where the Echo Lake boat is parked. The back up beepers sounded like this: beep-beep-beep-beep.  Three of Geoff’s lug nut covers scraped off when he got too close to the retaining wall. Shelby waved and Metro had to get out of the way. We had to shout at him like this: “Move Metro. Move!” Geoff dumped two loads of small rocks called gravel and after he left I drove over the piles and used the tractor scoop to smooth them out.  Your feet will be noisy when you run back to play in the boat.  Maybe you’ll stop and sit down in the gravel and play.  I know that’s what you would do.  You are a sensory learner.  You organize your mind that way.  You dig, scoop and think.