Monday, June 15, 2009

From a Child's (and Dog's) Eyes (New York City)

(Picture left: From 1980, when my daughter was 5-years-old and seemingly taking wonder, interest and imitation of a stranger standing at the swimming pool.)

Recognizing that these are difficult, oppressive times for most people (and the animals) recent entries into this journal have not been generally uplifting and/or positive.

But, I want to take a few minutes this morning to share a special moment from yesterday....

No, it wasn't "special" in the sense of having won some great victory, a million dollars, the love of one's life or even a miracle rescue.

It was, in fact a moment that most times would fly by people's radar.

I was walking my dogs, Tina and Chance in the neighborhood. Despite the fact it was a beautiful, sunny day, my mood was generally heavy; the result of a kind of stressful, confusing and depressive week.

Why the overcast gloom on an otherwise, perfect spring day? Lots of things: Worry. Negative news events. Difficulty connecting to loved ones. Professional disappointments.

Walking down an Upper East Side Street, I noted a father with two young children, a girl and a boy, about 3 and 4-years of age.

Both children were adorable, but it was the girl I particularly noticed.

She had the brightest smile. A smile of innocence and pure and utter joy. A smile that on the darkest night, would light up the universe.

I thought to myself, "What a beautiful child -- like a Renoir painting!"

The little girl was about 4-years-old, with reddish curls and plump, rosy cheeks.

But, it was her eyes that seemed to take in everything around her with an enthusiasm and wonder that one rarely sees these days (or, maybe I just haven't been looking). The girl looked like an angel.

Walking past the father and small children, I thought about the innocence and joy in the very young and how, as adults in a fast moving, competitive and sometimes hard culture, we seem to lose it. What happens to us? I thought. Weren't we all at one time like this peaceful, cheerful little child? -- Finding and taking joy in the small things of life -- the beauty around us?

From behind me, I head the lilting, happy voice of a child. "Doggies, doggies....nice doggies!"

I turned around to note the father now holding the two happy children in his arms, preparing to cross Park Avenue. The little girl, now facing towards Tina, Chance and me, waved her hand highly and enthusiastically in the air, the smile ever wider and brighter on her face.

"Nice doggies!"

I smiled and waved back at her.

And for the first time in the day, kept the smile all the way home.

I share this little "non story" because I am hoping that however, difficult, frustrating, defeating, oppressive, or disappointing these past months or even year may have been, the world outside still goes on around us and there is joy to be found in it.

That only we could learn to see (once again) from a child's (or, for that matter, a dog's) eyes. -- PCA

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