The other day, after our trip to the beach where we bought him some fun sand and mud play gear (mostly shovels and pails) Alexander wanted to take some of them into the bathtub with him. Why not? I thought, and we headed upstairs with them.
As usual, he wanted me to be part of the action and he said. "C'mon Dad. Us digging for hunted treasure."
At first I thought it was cute how he mixed up the terms "digging for buried treasure" and "hunting for treasure" -- but after a few moments of playing the game with him, shoveling bath water into a small red pail and then stirring it ("Got to mix it up, Dad") and pretending to drink it as if it were some magic elixir, I realized the truth.
My son was teaching me how to dig for hunted treasure.
I interpreted it like this: "hunted treasure" is that magic something, that thirst for life, that pleasure of living in the moment. It is a special and wonderful thing that most of us adults lose so often in our days. Yes, it's often hunted for by everyone but rarely grasped -- maybe because we try too hard. And "digging" for that hunted treasure meant simply taking life, taking the moment in a giant embrace and just focusing on the simple and wonderful joy of the moment.
Of course, Alexander has been teaching me how to dig for hunted treasure his entire life. I remember this photo of him at a beach day just days before his first birthday where he was looking into a plastic pail and grinning as if he'd discovered the secrets of the universe in the bottom of it.
I think he had, and it took two years for me to realize and properly understand his message.
So this week I'm counting "digging for hunted treasure" and how I've spent most of this week learning, again, how to do that with my son and my wife. Sure, we've spent a lot of time laughing and playing in the pool, at the beach and at playgrounds. But even when we've been working around the house, I've paid special attention to how Alexander finds something fun and exciting in the work before us -- finds a reason to laugh and smile and play. Of course, it's a simple thing, really. He's just digging into the moment; and of course, teaching me again. It's funny, I'd always thought I'd be the one teaching my son about life and not the other way around.
And here's hoping that people reading this are pausing in their hectic and busy lives to dig for their own hunted treasure.