A child born anywhere in the world
And so a child is born. The child could been born anywhere in the world, to anyone at all.
Anyone could have been charged with raising the child. Perhaps the child was raised in the high mountains. Or in the dry desert. To people who live on boats. To people who live on land. To those in poverty. To those in wealth. The child could be raised to learn the ways of the earth, or learn the ways of society.
The child does not understand the situation it was born into. The child may not realize it has been born at all. Wet grayness became light, and all became heavy with gravity. Sounds became clearer and touch more sensitive. All instincts and want revealed in a change of circumstance. Birth.
As a baby, the child prompts the family dynamic to change in ways suitable for the child. As the child leaves infancy, the child begins to change to fit the family.
It’s an amazing process to watch. A child who could have been born anywhere in the world to anyone at all learns to be “from” that location and “from” that situation. From countless possibilities, a child specializes in myriad ways through mimicry and observation. Language. Culture. Cuisine. Values. Beliefs. Skills. Attitudes. Like a pluripotent stem cell, a child differentiates. I’m a finger, a heart. I’m an integral part of the functioning community organ.
I can see it in six year-old Sunboy who is very much a New England boy. He knows of beaches and crabs. He calls chowder “cha-da” in perfect local accent. Neither Orchid nor I are from New England, but our children are. They have honed themselves to fit with our family and our community. At some point they will lose their pluripotency. New accents won’t sound genuine. New cultures won’t feel quite as home-like as the native one. There is a subtle loss of other in belonging to one.
The seed falls where it is cast and grows roots where it lands. No matter how tall or broad we grow there is always a tether to our circumstance of origin. The seemingly random situation in which we find ourselves at birth which is inextricably part of our definition.