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Lions Roar : May 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN MAY 2008 82 that, over the next decade, could mean the difference between life and death for him. He can’t run as fast as other children, and he has a hard time climbing stairs. But in the presence of his bubbling laugh, it’s of- ten hard to remember his illness. Skye has had his own set of challeng- es, although not life-threatening ones. When he was three, he began occupa- tional therapy for sensory integration issues—a combination of high sensitiv- ity and unusual neural wiring meant he could hear electricity humming in the walls, needed black-out blinds to sleep, and was regularly carried screaming out of birthday parties. At the playground, while other kids were romping on the tire swings, Skye would be studying wild- flowers and discussing the nature of light and gravity with his adult caregivers. His nervous system—and his relationships with his peers—have now normalized. But over the years, his friendship with Alex has often been a refuge for them both, in which they celebrate each other in all their gifts and challenges. Before our visit to the space center, Skye and I met up with Alex and his par- ents on the outdoor patio of a Thai res- taurant. “Boosey-duck!” the boys shouted at each other in greeting, a joke in a private nonsense language they’ve been maintaining for years. Then they dis- cussed—over spring rolls and pumpkin curry—the size and speed of the asteroid that smashed into the earth 65 million years ago, rendering the dinosaurs ex- tinct. Alex said the erupting lava burned the dinosaurs to a crisp; Skye argued that the cloud of dust and ash blocked out the sun, causing them to freeze and starve. They punctuated their scientific debate by blowing through straws into their wa- ter until it sprayed all over the ground, and then stamping in the puddles. Dis- missed from the table, they danced to the country-western band playing in a nearby courtyard—waving their arms over their heads, rolling on the ground, and leap- frogging over each other. MAY 80-105.indd 82 MAY 80-105.indd 82 3/6/08 4:37:31 PM 3/6/08 4:37:31 PM