They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.
On Monday, we left the confines of our little town and adventured off into the nearby “wilderness” of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. We, my mother, myself and Fiona, invited our friends to join us and they did, my friend and her daughter, Fiona’s best friend. We found a little trail that ran alongside the junction of two creeks and brought our lunch.
For the middle of July it was cool, only 85 or so. The water was cold enough to feel chilly, but easy to get used to after a few minutes. A warm morning breeze ruffled the trees and rippled the surface of the water where it had gone still. The sky was bright blue with little wispy white clouds that drifted lazily across the horizon.
The sound of little birds met and mingled with cicadas and joined the gentle shushing of the stream in a medley of the world whispering at us to be calm, to slow down, to be quiet.
How quiet do you think two three-year-old girls can be? For how long?
They sat in the edge of the stream with the bright sun shining on their golden heads and the world whispered at them to be still. And they were. The tiny fish and the baby tadpoles swam up around their legs to hide under them.
For almost an hour, Fiona sat in a tiny pool of water with little tadpoles on her legs and hands. She sat so still that she almost didn’t breathe and they drifted into the safety and shadow of her little body, hiding in the tulle of her pink tutu swimsuit. They nibbled on the tiny, invisible plant matter that drifted across her skin and she giggled wildly and called them tadpole kisses.
Her friend, also three, sat on the edge of a nearby rock and dabbled her feet in the water. Little fish swam up to drift and dart around her toes. She said that they tickled.
How still can two little girls be? Still enough. Still enough for blue darting dragonflies. Still enough for tickling fish. Still enough for tadpole kisses. Perhaps even still enough to become a part of everything, and find that quiet vastness inside themselves, if only for a moment.
And the golden sun and cool water and the tadpole kisses and the music of the laughter of little girls paint a symphony that no photo could convey.