A Talk With My Son


For our children, every evening ends with a fable. Today was no different, and after, he had a few questions. I always love when he has questions. Usually, they revolve around understanding something. By asking, he is exploring the world right from his bed just before sleep.

Just before dreams and imagination get hold of him. I treasure these moments, and I am truly grateful. Today we started talking about swamps, how they came to be? It’s interesting how he always asks how things came to be but never asks about their end. I’ll ask him about this next time.

So about swamps, we relatively quickly got to the point of water, and I will pick up our conversation from there.

He is close to sleep at this point, but his mind still wants to explore.

— Father?
— Yes, son, would you like to ask something?
— Yes, father, how did the water get on Earth? At the very beginning, before there was rain, when there was nothing but only dirt?
— Interesting questions, what do you think?
— I don’t know…
— Well, to tell the truth, I don’t know either, but there are a few hypotheses that humanity has about this. I’ll share one of them.

Millions of years ago, when there was no water on Earth, asteroids carried them to our planet.

— What’s an asteroid?
— It’s a piece of rock traveling in space.

So lots of asteroids brought water to Earth one by one. But they didn’t carry it as a liquid. It came in the form of ice.

— Why ice?
— You know, in space, it’s really cold.
— Ah, so water freezes, and once it reaches the Earth, it’s warmer here, and it melts, right, Dad?
— Yes, son, that is precisely how it happens.

He turns his head, and I can hear his breath slowing down. Then he speaks again.

— Dad, so water is on Earth, but why does it stay here?
— Hm, good question. Why do you think it stays here?
— I don’t know. Why?
— Okay, let’s think. Why do you stay on Earth?
— Dad, Earth is all around us. I can’t leave.
— Suppose you want to, how would you go about it?
— Where would I want to go?
— Maybe to the stars, where are the stars?
— They are upwards, so I would need to go up!
— And how would you do that?
— By jumping high, but it hurts to fall down unless you do it on a trampoline.
— Oh yes, and why do you fall back down?
— Because gravity pulls me back to Earth.
— Right, so why do you think water stays on Earth?
— I see, it’s gravity, right?
— Yes, son, it is. I am very proud of you…

He is half asleep now, but I can see he still wants to know more. He speaks again, it’s harder to understand, but I managed to comprehend it.

— Father, tell me about… mountains, how do… mountains get so high?
— I see you are very curious, good. How do you think they can get so high?
— Meteors cause them. Right?
— Hm, yes, they could, but I will give you another method to think about.

Imagine the Earth as a boiled egg. Remember when you crack the shell of it but don’t remove it yet? Earth has a cover like that. And imagine the eggshell pieces moving on the surface of the egg. Sometimes they collide, and when they do, the edge of the shells wrinkles and gets further away from the egg’s surface.

— Our planet is like that. It has these shell pieces called tectonic plates that shift around, and when they collide, mountains form.

By now, he is almost asleep. I can see his eyes moving from left to right. He is right in the state of falling into a deeper sleep. Then some of his muscles twitch just a bit, his brain is slowly shutting down his little body.

He slowly descends into the trance of sleep. Taking in the world, imagining what it could be. Understanding how things connect, dreaming up new questions. Questions that might one day change how we look at the world.

A teardrop falls from my eyes as I look at him entering his world of illusions. I smile, kiss his forehead whisper some words of proudness.

I lay beside him for a few moments, then slowly, as he leaves reality, I come back to it. I get up, turn off his light, slowly leave his room, and whisper:

Good night, my son.






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