Childhood’s End

My grandson is about to turn three. It’s a milestone. He is showing the beginnings of a path toward fulfillment of his humanity, which is a good thing, but also means letting go of the wonders of a small child. It’s a world where everything is wonderful and good. There are no purposes other than to teach you new stuff, and it’s all safe.

Getting older means that you need to be a bit more aware of danger. They’ll let you do a lot more on your own, and your adults will not always have your best interest – only – as their guiding principal. (They never did, but you don’t know that yet.)

You will also figure out stuff on your own, and more often than not, be right about it. My grandson had an early attachment to the garbage truck, it came twice a week, and was differently colored on different days. Green on Monday for garbage and blue on Wednesday for recycle – it matches the garbage can color!

Royce used to call the garbage truck the Dowa, a mythincal creature of immense power. In the Dowa legend, it appears, does what it needs to do, then leaves without fanfare. It’s a perfect description of a garbage truck, but it applies to other stuff as well, such as crane trucks, cement trucks, locomotives, vacuum cleaners, all sorts of modern mega-appliances.

As a sign of Childhood’s End, Royce now calls them “garbage trucks” instead of Dowa. He still knows the word Dowa, but doesn’t use it. When he no longer knows what the word means, the milestone will have been passed.