I have been reading Charlotte’s Web to my son. I began it on a bit of a whim, unsure if he was old enough, but he loves it — he was goofing off and naughty this evening, and promise of more chapters in the book about the pig turned him right around.
Anyway. Tonight, as Wilbur lay lonely and weeping in the rain, and as the voice of a friend called to him from the darkness, Byron sat up in bed and started guessing who it was. He thought it was the gander, which made no sense. He thought it was Fern. And when, in the next chapter, he saw who it was he said, in hush and awe:
I cannot tell you how it was to re-experience that moment through him. I don’t even know if I experienced it; I think when I read this book for the first time I knew it would be about a spider. Also, I wasn’t as bug crazy as he is — if anything, if I was surprised by the voice from the shadows belonging to a spider, I was disappointed. But not Byron. He was thrilled, amazed, and delighted.
His joy is my joy. And the joy carries with it a sense of gravity– knowing that this moment, like first steps and first words, is over in a heartbeat. Byron will never again reach chapter five not knowing that the voice belongs to Charlotte, a spider. He will never again, say in wonder: a spider.
Harry will get his letter from Hogwarts, and Ralph will ride his toy motorcycle, and who knows what else, but nothing will top that, ever.