Monday, August 08, 2005
The child and Sara discovering the river.
I spent the weekend with a small girl. Yes, there were other adults and nature all about, but my attention was drawn repeatedly back to the 19 month old. I don't remember being nineteen months old, though there are hazy photographs in my head of the house we lived in in (gasp) Kansas. What was riveting to me about this child was that every moment seemed to be a moment of discovery. She would get mesmerized and trancelike staring at her own fingers and her ability to wiggle them. The dog was a constant source of interest to her as she pointed and said "Dog!" every couple of minutes. "Yes, that's a dog, her name is Sara," one of the adults would say. She learned new words all day long and then repeated them, pointing, "Chair! White!, Mama!, Spinach!, Water! Hungry! Cloud!" On and on, all weekend long.
I guess I was riveted because I yearn for this long lost feeling. Every day shining a new set of things to discover on you. The child seemed to be demonstrating the secret to life. To find everything around you wonderous and exciting, to wake up and just be so thrilled to be alive and experiencing the incredible world around you. Water is such a magical liquid I imagine to a 19 month old, and it certainly was for this child. An hour was spent slowly dipping an old plastic cup into a tub of water and then pouring it onto the ground. The water then made the dirt mud, and the child squealed with delight watching the dirt change to mud, dipping her fingers in it, brushing it off, and then starting again. Bonus sensations came along the way as she poured the water into her lap, and cooed about this new cool trick with the water.
It made me imagine that her "higher self", for lack of a better term, was so amazed and wild about being alive, like she was pinching herself to make sure this wasn't a dream of winning the Lottery. This energy was so profound that just by watching her I siphoned a bit of it off for myself. And what marvelous medicine that was, the little blue pill that helps you see this big beautiful scintillating world for what it is - magical!
And once again, I felt enormous gratitude for being able to witness and marvel at this stage of development without having to tend to the child's (many) needs 24/7 for the past 19 months. As you can imagine, the parents have been through the gauntlet of a year's worth of sleep deprivation. I can see how it's worth it, but I can also see how blessed I am to have kids in my life. And in the end, even though I went out searching for some nature, I got what I needed, a lesson in life.