Play. It sets the ground for crazy creativity, hilarious ideas and conversations, and remarkable inventions. I watch this morphing of ideas and suddenly I realize we are in a dream world filled with a completely unique set of rules, manuals, ideas, ways of traveling, ways of communicating and collecting. Oh the collections. Amelia is our collector. George Wilder is our dreamer.

A visit to Amelia’s room might lead one to believe we kill birds for her feather collections. I’m sure in the last month she has collected enough cardinal feathers to supply one cardinal with a new set of wings. She has emu feathers, peacock feathers, goose feathers, turkey, chicken, sparrow, blue jay, dove, cardinal, mallard duck, Asian pheasant and a great horn owl. They are in groups; they are in vases, in bags, and in baskets.

George Wilder dreams. He dreams of riding on the back of a wolf, of becoming a vulture bat, of flying jets all around the world, especially to Africa. He has a book from grandmother that he says he must have aboard the plane with him when he flies. He tells us we will drop him off at the airport and he will go away in a plane and we will be at home without him. He wants to ride on anything the flies.

Grandmother knew exactly where to go with a collector and dreamer -- A Native American pow-wow. A tribal reunion open to the public. Amelia was fascinated by the falconry games. She saw birds from Russia and Egypt and Asia. George Wilder saw a wolf. A couple dressed in their traditional regalia came and spoke to the children.

The children returned from grandmothers. I couldn’t stop watching them. Amelia, who never wants to dress up, wanted to dress up like a real Indian and George Wilder wanted to be a dancing Indian. They made headdresses and satchels to hold their cardboard knives. Amelia picked a long dress and we braided her hair. It was a fast world of make believe created before dinner and then we moved to singing and bath and bed. Tomorrow perhaps we will be Indians again, or birds, or airplanes, or farmers.

It is beautiful to live with these precious children. I pray that their imaginations grow. I pray we can water it with space and time and music and yarn and feathers and pretend wings and books and words and hope and faith. And of course the greatest of these . . . LOVE!


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