Late this afternoon, With-a-Why showed me his newest game, something he calls fyjording. To play, you find a stretch of woods partially flooded, carry a long stick, and wear the dry sneakers that you have to wear to school because they are the only pair of shoes you own. The trick is to pole vault yourself over the puddles, balancing on clumps of moss or old logs, trying to keep your sneakers dry as you cross water that stretches for hundreds of feet in each direction.
With-a-Why warned me that the sensible boots I wear in the woods would be no good for the game, and he was right. Boots sink into the mud and get stuck, and sometimes fall off just as you are leaping across a ditch of muddy water. And it's more dramatic to plunge into a foot of water wearing your only dry sneakers. I gave up after a while and just walked through the water, while With-a-Why kept doggedly on, even though his sneakers were soaked. By the time we had reached higher ground, it was getting dark and we were both splattered with mud.
With-a-Why loves science fiction, and the woods this afternoon looked like something out of a science fiction novel. Tangled vines hung from the bare branches of trees, and the puddles were filled with subtle colours – some dark and edged with purple, some filled with green algae, some muddy brown. With most foliage still waiting to burst forth, the forest floor is brown with dead leaves, and the mossy logs from fallen trees look like creatures slithering past.