Sunday, July 10, 2011


"I found a crab shell."

I turned to follow the sound of the voice and found a young girl standing just off my left shoulder. In her cupped hands, lifted up for me to see, was to top shell of a small crab.

"Yes." I said. "Yes, you did." And I took a moment to admire her find. Of course, such things are a dime a dozen. The seagull predate mercilessly on the young crabs, and their hollowed out shells can be found half buried in the sand. But to her, it was a discovery and she was eager to share it. So she quickly launched into a short dissertation of how she'd come to find the shell. Behind her, her mother looked on, unconcerned that the child had walked up to a complete stranger to show off a bit of beach debris.My own parents would have been less sanguine, I recall. Bothering adults was something they frowned on, and so I spent time scheming ways to be drawn into their conversations that I couldn't be faulted for. I was pleased that this kid didn't have to jump through those sorts of hoops.

While I'm not normally very patient with children, I admire the level of engagement with the world that their inquisitiveness gives them. As an adult, I sometimes feel that I spend too little time just sticking my nose in places where it doesn't belong, simply to see what can be found there. Of course, I have other responsibilities. But I think that I'm too willing to allow that to get in the way of just having a sense of wonder and a joy in learning and doing new things. No wonder people never want to grow up.

1 comment:

Isonomist said...

Yes. Exactly. Listening to children talk is a gift you give to the future, and to yourself.