He says his tummy hurts, it hurts, and so we cycle through our sick-routine again: dinosaur pjs, sleep sack, So Soft blanket. I refill his sippy cup with water, carry him to his crib, draw the curtains closed, make myself at home on the floor. He’s requesting another Mama Raven adventure, our fourth of the morning. This time he wants to go to the Snake River, to Swallows Park, to that special place where his geese friends live.
Mama Raven taps on his window, invites him to climb onto her back. He leaps from his crib, wraps his arms around her, and reaches for her throat feathers as she takes one hop, two hops, three hops, and instead of a fourth hop, beats her wings, ascending high, high into the sky, higher and higher until she is so high she is up above the clouds. He shifts his weight and tightens his body, allowing her wings room to move as he tucks his head close to hers. Black eyes directed southward, she soars down over Palouse country, over snowy hills and boggy bottoms, over patchy green earth, down to the early March chill of the Clearwater River. There she veers west, coursing along its edge for just a bit until she comes to its confluence with the Snake. A quick flap south again, and they have made it to the sandy shore of Swallows Park where the geese dive and honk and run amok. She glides down to the beach there, everywhere pebbles for tossing, and gently rolls him off her back. He snores deeply now as she spins him into a baby burrito, a fluffy yellow towel appearing for a wrapper. Her task complete, she clutches the bundle with her claws and repeats the pattern in reverse, making way back to the window by the crib where Mom is waiting to tuck him in.
I breathe over him, pull the quilt up over his body and place my hand on his chest, relieved that he has finally found peace enough to dream. It’s all in dreaming, I whisper, as I creep out over creaky wood floors breathing in the warm mist vapors from his humidifier. I close the door and gaze out the window at the tree limbs still bare and alive. It’s March, and it feels like we might make it.