The Quarantimes Week 31: Leaves and Fire and How Babies Are Born

October 14th, 2020

Questions were brought to me about why we didn’t have school on Monday. That led to a deep rabbit hole of existential conversation.

It started with the interplay of Columbus Day and Indigenous People’s Day, which led to a conversation about ancestors: our Puritan ancestors, the Native American people, etc. That led to general questions about ancestors and our immortal nature: “What are they?” “Are they all old?” “Will I be an ancestor one day?”

From there we somehow ended up on “How did people talk about leaves before there was a word for leaves?”

It can get deep pretty quickly with five-year-olds.

Arriving at school, the day after Indigenous People’s Day, I ask their teacher, “Hey, how do you explain ancestors to your students?” She looks at me like great, what conversational corner have you backed yourself into this time. But she suggests drawing a family tree, which is actually an excellent idea.

Thankfully, the conversation in the car the next day eventually moved on from ancestors to childbirth. “How does the baby get out?” “You mean where I pee?” Et cetera.


The other thing is that Eliza is currently obsessed with starting fires. Not, like, in a Firestarter sort of way, but she is relentless and earnest about wanting to learn how to start fires. At some point she learned the word “flint,” but she isn’t exactly sure what flint is, so any time she suspects something might be flint, she checks in. 

The candle on our dining room table has a paper label on it that catches fire as the candle burns down. Jon quickly blows out the candle. Her eyes light up at the sight of the charred paper: “Is that flint?” 

I tell her it’s not, but after Jon peels the charred paper off, she quietly hoards it. 

She tells me with confidence that she is planning to start a fire. I am unconvinced she can pull this off, but to be sure, I say, “No. And in any case, we never start fires indoors or near trees or blankets of dead leaves.”

She looks dubious. I am slightly concerned I may have a pyromaniac on my hands. Note to self: Put all matches and lighters on a higher shelf.

Later, I Google “How to explain ancestors to small kids.” I arrive at this:

An ancestor is a person from whom one is descended. Usually it refers to a remote person, rather than the immediate parents or grandparents. A very similar word is forebear. … The line of people from whom a person’s descends is referred to as their ancestry.

Not helpful. I don’t even know what forebear means, and I’m a writer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

The Art of Seeing by Aldous Huxley

This election forecast does such a great job visually.

What I’m watching:

Speaking of deep, I downloaded a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for a while: Midsommar. Have you seen it? If so, please contact me, because I need a support group for what I thought was going to be a sweet indie movie about a woman’s revelatory experience in Sweden, but instead turned out to be a horror movie about a pagan cult. Ack!

What I’m listening to:

Colter Wall, especially this song:

What I’m eating:

 I made my first ever beef stew with this New York Times Cooking recipe, and it turned out so delicious: 

Screen Shot 2020-10-14 at 9.25.03 AM

What I’m working on: 

For Box: Work Unleashed: PATH streamlines technology to expand its humanitarian mission

For Crisp: Protect the Safety and Well-being of Your Fashion Influencers 

For SaverLife: How Voting Affects Your Financial Future


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2 Responses to “The Quarantimes Week 31: Leaves and Fire and How Babies Are Born”

  1. Thomas says:

    The bit about the revelatory Swedish experience pagan cult horror flick made me laugh out loudly.

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