Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Working by the waterside is a special source of wonder. I am blessed with the close proximity of my home to the edge of the Hudson River, with the skyline of Manhattan rising above the water's surface.
Early morning hours are the precious gems on the crown of a sun - filled day.I look up and a little girl, perhaps two or three years old, struts angrily ahead of her mother and baby brother. The mother's plea in a foreign language is met with defiant refusal.
Her soft but unhappy eyes meet mine.
"Hi," I say cheerfully. "Your dress is awfully pretty."
Her face softens, the tight defiance starting to seep away into the sunlight.
"What's your name?"
She shrugs her shoulder. Her little brother, too young to speak, is standing in front of me, carefree and smiling. He stares at me wordlessly, curious and playful, eyes lit up with excitement.
I turn my head and the little girl is inching toward me, her outstretched hand bearing a gift, a tiny green weed, a "flower."
I take it from her with effusive thankfulness. She rushes away; a moment later she returns with three tiny sprigs of green. Again I lavish thanks, grateful for her gift of nature's bounty but more so for the smile of self-assurance and innocent joy that returned to her face.
How simple to transform a moment of stubborn sadness into a smile of tender softness.
The path to this transformation was the touch of joyful gratefulness.

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