My son is the priest of woodland creatures. That’s what he looks like to me. The wife said it first. She gets full credit. If I don’t give her full credit right here and now, I’ll hear about it later.
We put him in his sleep sack, a winter garment for sleeping, which zips onto him and drapes down like some sort of ceremonial robe. It has pastel raccoon and deer patterned on it.
“He looks like a woodland creature priest,” the wife says.
I don’t even know what a woodland creature priest is, but it would most definitely be a baby. A baby with a perfectly round, cherubic head and sparkling eyes. And with fat little cheeks, which the critters would all relate to — fat cheeks are for foraging, for storing away acorns, and for hiding absolutely disgusting curds of formula for later spitting up on just-washed shirts.
Now, if can you picture it, the sleep sack would allow him to “float” through the woods. I know that sounds kind of creepy, but it’s a lot less creepy than trying to picture him walking with those ham-hock baby thunder thighs he’s got going on at seven-months old.
He would hang out in the woods after everyone else went to bed. He would spend time among the chipmunks and hedgehogs, anointing them and absolving them of things. He would address the various spiritual concerns of squirrels. He would visit the sick rabbits and sit with them. He would teach foxes and lead them to Jesus.
In the mornings, when I wake up to sounds of baby babble — which I’d always previously thought was him talking to himself — I’d know it was actually a prayer for the raccoons, although I don’t know why anyone would ever pray for them.
And I don’t know why foxes would need Jesus.
I do know this however: raccoons know how to undo bungee cords, even a cleverly-designed interlocking labyrinth of them clamping a trashcan shut.