Mondays, Beauty, Eavesdropping at Parks

Last Monday I got schooled by a 6-year old.  I took off for a walk in the afternoon sun, headphones in ear, and ended up at Morningside Park in Harlem. Normally, I’m not one to wander around or end up in parks – ambling, peaceful exploration is a lovely sentiment, but I have a hard time doing things that don’t feel “productive”, that are just, you know…”fun.” I’m slowly getting better at this, but my default is to get antsy when it comes to relaxation.  Isn’t there something I should be doing instead???  Planning for the future or checking my bank account or trying to generally ‘become a better person’, or  blah blah blah.

So here’s what mattered about that park trip.  An adorable Latina girl, walking with her mom and sister, maybe 6 years old, delightfully pink coat, stars on her leggings, little girl sneakers, hair in braids with probably a scrunchie or some little girl clips.  You know – stylin’.  (I would have taken a picture for you if I could, trust me, but that seemed creepy.  Use your imagination. Some future post will show off the random stalker pictures I’ve taken of interesting pictures over the months).

Anyway, I’m walking 15 feet from the girl as she half-walks, half skips along, holding her mom’s hand and gesturing out to the grass, teeming with flowers – yellow and white daffodils, pink and purple tulips.  But she’s not just gesturing at the flowers, I see, she’s actually blowing kisses at them. A kiss, launched with a fling of that little-girl arm. a kiss and a launch, again to all the flowers she can see.  And in her 6-year old voice, she remarks, “the flowers are here –  and they’re beautiful – and I love them.”

Now, I don’t normally take my cues from a 6 year old park goer, but I think this girl knew something a lot of us are looking for… something about being present, enjoying the moment, taking in life’s beauty and celebrating it. I know I’ll never see her again, but I seriously hope that girl keeps enjoying the heck out of the flowers of life, that she takes the liberty to walk through a park and admire and love and celebrate the beauty she sees, to ignore the voices that take root as we get older that say she needs to do more, get more, be more. I hope she listens to the voice that says “you are enough, and you don’t need to be more, it’s okay to just enjoy more.”   Little park girl, thanks for a reminder that life is in bloom all around us, that today’s a new day to be seen and enjoyed and delighted in.

To you, as we both go off to another Monday, a day we might expect nothing from besides a monotonous return to the daily grind, if I could see one thing happen, it’s that I, and you would share that girl’s mindset, to walk through whatever our metaphorical park is, some place of beauty or newness, take it all in and even blow some metaphorical kisses to it.  Have the most fantastic Monday you can.  🙂

Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines:

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”

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