It is easy for me to take pictures of my nieces, to enter their little girl worlds and catch a glimpse of the women they will become. It is harder with my nephews. Boys, even the quiet ones, are rarely still. And, their imaginations takes them to places that are foreign to me.
I went apple picking with two of my nephews, Raine and Avery, and my niece Tori this afternoon. My nephew Avery is a middle child and a pretty unique kid. He observes and has a great quiet smile that spreads into an amazing grin across his freckled face when he is amused. I often joke that he is an alien sent from another planet, reporting back to the mother ship, because there seems to be so much going on behind those mischievous blue eyes. But, he is still a boy and this is some of what I heard in the car ride to the orchard.
"I've never gone apple picking," I offered. "What if I find a worm in my apple."
"Pick it out and squish it," Avery offered.
"I can't. I"m scared of worms," I said.
"I'll take it out and stick it in my nose," he said.
Such a gallant offer. We drove a little further up I-89 and I told the kids to look out for the camel that you can sometimes see from the Interstate. I know, a camel in Vermont is an unique thing to see, but it didn't seem to phase my little alien.
"I want to buy a camel and if it is going to die I'll save its poop and keep it," Avery declared.
I wouldn't have thought of that keepsake myself.
At the orchard, my sister-in-law had to stop picking apples and leave Raine and Tori with me so she could take Avery to the port-a-potty. On the way home, he decided to share about the experience with the rest of us. "It was disgusting in there," he said. "There was a giant turd and all these flies and a dead fly on the turd. It was gross," he said with a big toothless smile. "The turd was gigantic and the fly was dead..."
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is hard with any picture of a boy to capture the thousand special thoughts that bounce around in their heads. It is a mysterious world that this girl may never quite understand, but I marvel at it.