The mulberry bushes stretch far up a hill, and we eat all the berries, like a mama bear and two cubs storing sunshine for the long winter. The seeds crunch between our teeth like bones as juice drips from our chins and hands. We are sticky, and we like it.
“Mama,” my son says between swallows, “a group of bears is called a sloth.”
“Really?” I ask, shoving away my daughter’s hand as she steals berries from my bush.
“Yeah! And grizzlies eat 20,000 calories in a day. Is that a lot?”
“Almost as many calories as you,” I tease.
I initially wasn’t going to share this on my blog because after submitting it two places, I had actually decided I didn’t like it. It’s weird and I don’t like the violence implied against children. (When I wrote it, I had two toddlers, so I think I was working through some ambivalent feelings about parenting.) But the second place I submitted it to accepted it (a record low-number of rejections for me!) and they’re my biggest publication yet, so maybe they must know something I don’t?
If you click on the link and rest of the story, it does include some fun etymology. This was the first piece that I wrote that really dug into, and was guided by, etymology. I’ve discovered I love it! Did you know, for example, that “journey,” which we think of now as something that takes place over a long period of time, comes from the word “day”? (eg, soup du jour). How has this word transformed from something that meant a day’s walk to something that now has the connotation of taking multiple days? So while I’m still not sure the piece was all that successful, I think the technique was very successful. And I’ll take the writing credit.