Annie Dillard wrote that we are here to give voice to our astonishments… I am also reminded of the voice recounting T.S Eliot´s Journey of the Magi who asks the person listening to the travelogue, …but set down/this set down/This:… Both of these are calls to remember, to record, the Important, the Significant. And, just as the ways for recording are different—a photo, telling someone, writing in a journal, writing in a blog, etc… Different too are the measures of significance and importance.
I learned at the Market yesterday that the four year old boy at the table in front of me considered the burnt cheesy bits on the bottom of his bagel to be the best part. Given a choice, he’d pilot a green boat with no engine, only oars. And wasn’t it neat how the gulls automatically know how to ride the waves?
I was grateful to be someone who would gladly listen to his astonishments and Important Things. That happened because his father asked him to come find them a table and have a seat while he went to get coffee. Originally, the boy had a table in the corner. After a while of leg swinging and bagel munching, he went to go find his father in line, a line that wound around a partition that prevented either from seeing the other. When the table was freed, in swooped a waiting family. The boy returned to find his place taken. He looked at me and I pointed to the table in front of me. He climbed up on to one of the low-backed bar-height chairs, plunked his bagel onto the tall table and we began to chat. I don’t know what sort of coffee his father was ordering, but it was another several minutes before he appeared. I was glad to have him in front of me because I’d been keeping an eye on him anyway, making sure that he was safe. His father returned and thanked me for “babysitting.”
I finished up the writing and coffee drinking I had been doing and headed into the fray down below for vegetables and fruit. I was in line at one of the larger stalls and in front of me had another father with a young child beside him, perhaps two or maybe just three years old. Whether the man forgot he was with a kid or he simply assumed the child would automatically follow him, he stepped out of line and went around to the other side of this large area. The kid stayed put. A minute, two minutes, three…no sign of the father returning. By this time, the child has looked at the people now in front of him and done the ….Oh there you ar….wait a minute, you are not my people… The child looks at me. Not panicking, but concerned. “Right. We’re going to go find your dad. We’re looking for grey stripes, kid.” So off we walked. By this point it has dawned on the man that the small person he came with was no where to be seen. I see him going frantic so I whistled, raised my hand, pointing down. Happy reunion.
Walking home through Victoria park later in the afternoon, I noticed that someone had taken what looked like a bit of envelope, made an origami animal, and tucked it into the nook of a tree. That someone would take the time to do that simply pleased me.
The day as a whole had me reflect on the grace of paying attention, of listening, noticing, caring…and how these things…these are Important Things to me.
And I found myself praying at day’s end—Let my senses, let my heart, let my instinct, be for You, for Love.