Boy vs Backyard
by Shawna Black
Jake is eleven years old and has more persistence than most people I know. And I don’t mean persistence in the way that a kid will bug his mother to death for something that will kill him if he doesn’t have. I’m referring to the type of persistence that drives one to complete a task that’s been started, no matter what, at any cost.
Like, for example, trying to start a fire with sticks.
Jake has been watching Man vs Wild on the Discovery Channel. He loves Bear Grylls, the man behind the show. He watches intently, soaking up all the nature lessons like a dry sponge.
Like, for example, learning how to start a fire with sticks.
On several occasions over the past few weeks, I have happened upon Jake in our backyard, on the patio, or in the driveway, with sticks and dry grass, persistently trying to make fire. His first attempt was a solid 30 minutes. No fire. He’s made several other attempts, including last night when he asked me if we had a larger magnifying glass because, obviously, the sticks just weren’t working, nor was the small magnifying glass he found in the kitchen.
I don’t think he’s a pyromaniac. At least I hope not. One thing that I do know for sure is that he is still trying to make fire with his bare hands. What he has accomplished: a tree house, which he “designed” on his own (and will be a work in progress all summer, I’m sure); he’s made a bow and arrows from wood he’s cut from trees in the back yard (and he learned that bamboo is not good material for a bow); he wants a new Swiss army knife, one with a sharper blade so he can cut stuff easier. He’s a busy boy.
Here’s Jake trying to start his fire. I’ll let you know if he’s ever successful. Hopefully, he won’t burn down the tree house.
Shawna will be receiving an mp3 of Talking Head's "Burning Down the House" - just in case.