My Magical Daughter
Last evening we went to a high school graduation party for my great-niece (my nephew’s daughter) at a lodge in Black Creek Park. The park is a beautiful place with lots of woods and hills and grassy fields and miles of trails. The party was at a lodge that overlooks a large pond. After eating and socializing, while my son Arthur was playing volleyball with some other kids, my five-year-old Fiona wanted to walk down to see the pond, so I accompanied her.
The evening was perfect; an archetypal Summer with the warm sun setting just above the forest beyond the pond. We walked across the immensity of grass that smelled like fresh-cut hay, down into the long, cool shadow of trees. A crystal moon shone in the pure blue sky. Then Fiona began to run until we reached the edge of the pond.
The water was wide and dark and smelled like life itself. A few big rocks dotted the bank of well-worn earth. Fifi immediately dipped her hands into the water and squished the soft mud between her fingers and exclaimed in delight, “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!” We soon saw little fish swimming near to investigate us, and heard the echoing calls of bullfrogs nearby and answering croaks from across the water. Fiona took everything in with such reverence and wonder that I too was swept up in those memories of my earliest perceptions, experiencing a pond full of life for the first time. A big dragonfly whizzed by us, darting back and forth along the bank as Fiona continued to express in her own unique voice her perceptions of this summer night. I wish I could remember more of the things she said! She said she would love to be a fish swimming anywhere she wanted to go. And she said I would be a frog (’cause I told her I love the sound of frogs) and we could swim together through the cool water.
In the big woods beyond the big pond the songs of different birds floated on the evening air like music. And as Fiona continued talking to the fishies and playing in the water, I realized once again how much she is like me in the way we just automatically connect with nature. The way we become what our senses take in; the melting of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ until distinctions become meaningless, and the pure delight of being alive and connected to all living things is all there is.
Then she began to sing. She sang a song from the radio by The Band Perry that begins like this: “If I die young, bury me in satin; Lay me down on a, bed of roses; Sink me in the river, at dawn; Send me away with the words of a love song… Uh oh, uh oh.” Except instead of ‘satin’ she said ‘lay me down in sand’, which I thought sounded pretty cool.
And as she sang in that sweet, heavenly little voice, her song drifted out over the water and echoed back from the forest to fill the evening air like a mantra. I was transported again into a magical realm where time is suspended, and the power of her voice filled my senses for one long, long moment. It still gives me chills just to remember that feeling!