Snips And Snails

Never Dull

The other day Sean and I had a couple of errands to run.  It was an ugly sort of day, a day much better suited for staying home, but we had some things that had to be done, so off we went.

As we were driving along, we made up a game to see how many words we could come up with to describe the day.

I started with the obvious, “Damp.”

“Gray,” he countered. It was true. It was a monochrome day, gray from ground to sky.

“Cold,” I added.

“Still,” he said slowly.  The world did seem particularly still in spite of the traffic.

“Um, let’s see…melancholy.”

“What does melancholy mean?” he asked.  I told him that melancholy is sort of like when you feel damp and gray and still on the inside.

“Oh,” he said satisfied. “My turn.”

The car fell silent as he looked out the window and searched for another word to describe the day.

“Dull,” he finally said.

“Dull indeed,” I said. Dull was the mood of the sky.

“You know because when it’s sunny, the world is shiny,” he explained.  “But when it’s cloudy, the world looks a little dull.”

When I pulled up to a stop light, I turned to look at my little boy in the backseat.

He was looking out the window at the dull sky.

As we waited for the light to turn green, he pointed out a coyote slinking along the railroad tracks under the fog.  He wondered out loud where the coyote lived.  He spotted a shoe along side the road and wondered how it got there.  He thought about the person who was missing a shoe.  He pointed out the white plume of exhaust rising off a tall building and a line of black birds resting on the power lines.


This boy reminds me that from time to time, the sky may be dull, but the world around us never is.

26 thoughts on “Never Dull

  1. Lovely.
    My son sounds a lot like your son – the magic in the way they see the world, their kindness in how they read things.
    Lucky us.

    * * *
    Indeed, lucky us. He is a keen observer. Part of that is because he is wired that way and part of it is because we don’t have a DVD player in the car.

  2. My daughter (now 13) has always been a great car companion…even now one of her favorite pasttimes is just staring out the window. She’s never seemed to notice what she DOESN’T have, like a sibling to squabble with, or a DVD player.

    * * *
    The car is a wonderful classroom with lessons in every subject just beyond the window.

  3. Proof that the best conversations happen in the car. I have three kids, so it’s much more difficult to focus on just one person like this, but those moments when I get to really interact with my kids are priceless.

    * * *
    Yes, one is a much different dynamic than two or three, or more.

  4. YES about not having a DVD player in the car! Some of our best, most illuminating moments, have been while sitting in traffic.

  5. We don’t have a dvd player in the car, but once in a while when I have to drive in VERY busy traffic. I do bring a book for my son to read (39 clues) that way I don’t get a ton of questions that I don’t have a quick answer for while I need to concentrate! He will read and then ask questions when we get to our destination.

    I do really like this post, it helps to see things from another point of view.

    * * *
    We have a portable DVD player that we’ll pull out for long trips after we’ve been on the road for a couple of hours. We’ll let him watch for an hour or so.

    I’m not saying you have to engage every second, sometimes it’s good to let them/encourage them to occupy themselves. We all need quiet spaces, but I find car time to be a unique and special time to be with my kiddo.

  6. My van has a built in DVD and it gets used pretty judiciously, trips over an hour, are allowed 1 show and both have to agree or it gets turned off. But it was a lifesaver when I drove 15 hours to Wisconsin w/them by myself 5 1/2 mos pregnant.


  7. Sweet. The lack of DVD in the car is a gift, to be sure. We all spent an hour or so reading the other afternoon…pure bliss. Happy New Year!

  8. Happy New Year, and thank you so much for your insightful entries. Sometimes they make me think, sometimes they make me smile, and sometimes they make me a little sad for what I’ve lost with age.
    Keep up the good work.

  9. You are so blessed to have your little boy in your life. My, how I miss the times when my little girl was – little! Just seeing the everyday things through innocent eyes is such a gift.

  10. My boy sits in the back, his body turned to the window, eyes watching every little thing. I don’t know what it is about this but….it makes my heart grow a little more for him every time I sneak a peek at him doing this. We have a dvd player (portable which means I don’t often want to take the time to pull it out and set it up) and an ipod but mostly, we just chat or ride along companionably. Good times here.


  11. We spent forever at a red light the other day observing/laughing over birds on the electric wire. The way they were moving in rotation, it was quite a ‘dance’. Very fascinating, and we would have missed it, if not for a car window and a red light. We love car convos. : )

  12. I think the older we get, the easier it is to see things from a jaded perspective.

    Isn’t that sad?

    Thank goodness for children. We are old. They are new.

  13. When I was in junior high we lived in El Cajon, CA (about 30 minutes inland). Compared to sunny Phoenix there were a lot of these gray days. My mom and I came up with the word for the way they made us feel – we said it gave us the “glumps”. To this day I still use that word whenever I am feeling dull and gray 🙂

  14. My youngest daughter, now 15, is very observant of everything around her, and always has been. I have always loved hearing what she has to say about what she sees when we are in the car.

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