Yesterday we were sitting in a dentist's office, while one of us had some sealants put on our ridges and buckles. One of us has weird, convoluted teeth.
As we sat, some of us played Angry Birds on iPods, and some of us read a book we'd just picked up from the bookstore that morning. A book about bats. We'd seen the author at the library in the summertime, and he was such a charismatic and inspiring speaker we all wanted to read his books immediately. Max had already encountered this series, but FDPG hadn't, so with her characteristic competence she searched the library catalogue until she'd located the first four, then read them one by one, over a period of about three weeks. That FDPG, she doesn't mess around. From morning till night her nose was in a book. From morning till night she talked about these books.
Then Dominic decided he might like to read them. Dominic came later to reading than did FDPG, and we had to work on it for a bit via conventional phonics methods, but for the past two years he's been catching up to his twin, slightly slower but doggedly working his way through many of the same books. But where FDPG lives for dragon fantasies, magical creatures stories, and books like The Lord of the Rings, Dominic likes animal tales and adventure stories: Rudyard Kipling, Farley Mowat, and Jack London. He also likes bats, so I tried to entice him with this bat series. For whatever reason he never took the bait. I think the sheer size of the print intimidated him. Then a couple of weeks ago he started reading one of them - Darkwing. He also asked me to recall the first one - Silverwing - from the library, but when it arrived the print was depressingly tiny. It was a book for someone with a magnifying glass. So we went to the bookstore and bought a different version with larger print.
So there we were in the dentist's office, me reading Silverwing and the others absorbed with Angry Birds. I read the first seventy five pages before we were done with the dentist.
Today we were on our early morning walk, Dominic and I; it was just after seven o'clock on a cloudy, overcast day. There is something wonderful about the first light of day: if it's clear you see the stars and planets setting in the lightening sky; if it's cold you see the frost glinting on the bridge; if it's raining you see the birds huddled under the dripping branches. And it's so very quiet and still at that time of the day.
We were just walking down the hill to the house when a bird burst excitedly out of a Garry oak across the road from our house and whizzed past us into another thicket of trees. The noise it was making was startling; but what was even more startling was the owl chasing it intently across the road. Big and gray and deadly silent, it sailed within six feet of our heads, eyes swiveling over us impassively for a second or two before disappearing into the same thicket as the panicked starling. It all happened in seconds.
Dominic and I looked at each other. We were both thinking the same thing: the owls were out, keeping the law. We glanced into the sky, looking for a bat or two, but there were none. Dawn had already broken.
You can read more about the series we are reading here.