Mel and I had a lot to do today, but the weather was gorgeous by 11 so we grabbed the camera, jumped in the car and hightailed it to Sarah Duke Gardens to catch whatever peeks of spring we could find. It’s been unseasonably warm down here (and cold for that matter…) off and on and it was immediately obvious that the trees, flowers and bushes had been tricked a few times. Buds were everywhere, daffodils were riotous and some trees and bushes were just shy of being in full bloom.
The whole scene caused Mel to have the camera out immediately. She was snapping shots like mad while I went a little ahead, scoping out more inspiration for her. This pattern has kind of newly developed for us, as Mel has become more and more adept at photography. I’ve always been a fidgety guy and standing idle often makes me grumpy and impatient, so I’ve had to adapt to this.
She loves my idiosyncrasies and I love hers, even if they do on that rare occasion, go against the grain for each other. So when she takes shot after shot of one flower trying to get the best one, I tend to mosey on ahead keeping myself busy until she’s ready to move on. Not too far mind you, but enough so that I am not just staring at her tapping my foot on the ground. She loves doing this and I love her more than anything. That’s how it works! And it’s worked incredibly for years.
So as she took some pictures of wild flowers on the green, I went on to a bridge up ahead with the hope of spying to some ducklings or maybe a turtle or two. I saw neither, but as I looked down at the brook flowing underneath me, this little Asian girl came out of no where.
“Excuse me…” she said.
“Oh” I said, eyebrows raised in surprise “Hello. How are you?”
She said nothing, pointing at my water bottle sitting on the railing/wall of the bridge. Apparently it was in the way so I picked it up.“This is my water bottle. Here. Check it out.”
She wanted none of it, and as soon as I moved it out of the way, she leapt to her feet and continued to walk past me on the wall. Her father, who was down on the bank of the brook with an infant, looked up and said “be careful honey”. She came back and asked me my name.
“It’s Tad, what’s yours?”
She squinted at me and smirked, “Rose”.
Then she hopped down and ran down to her Dad. He smiled up at me apologizing for her daughter’s possible intrusion.
“Oh no, not at all, please.” I said “She’s beautiful.”
He smiled saying “Thank you.”
Melinda had caught up at that point and she was grinning from ear to ear, “she’s wonderful, she’s a little monkey isn’t she?” she said to the father.
The little girl’s Dad smiled broadly and informed us that she is and that in fact, she was born in the year of the Monkey. We all laughed genuinely and moved on wishing them a good day.
And thus the moment was complete. I was utterly smitten with this child, her bravery and her fearlessness. My entire interaction with her was just golden and it reminded about how my entire life up until this point, has been comprised of so many little scenes that I continue to carry with me year after year. Moments like these, interactions with other human beings, particularly the little ones, always make me happy to be alive.
That we are all part of something HUGE, and that maybe bouncing to and fro between these moments is truly the point of being alive.
That life isn’t just one defining moment, but the sum of all of its beautiful and ugly parts.
For me, today was definitely one of the beautiful ones.