|(c) 2013 David Borden|
I whispered, "Look at that rock over there. Do you see the turtles?"
"Oh, cool, " she whispered back, "Can we draw them?"
We quietly climbed on a boulder as close to the turtles as we dared. I slowly unpacked our sketching materials. We sat together like the families of turtles sunning on the rock a few feet away. Small birds bounced among overhead branches, calling after each other. Fish swam beneath us. We studied these creatures, drew them out, colored them in silence.
|"I set my sketchbook aside and simply watched her play."|
The turtles slid into the water and swam to safety.
The dogs played and yapped and chased tennis balls. The women and their animals had tremendous fun. When they left. The birds had gone. The fish had gone. The turtles had gone. Without its creatures, the landscape felt sterile, the pool sad and empty. We could hear people and dogs making their commotions along the trail, but no more of them stopped, for there was nothing to see but a drought stricken pool with a child playing at its edge.
She sailed boats made of twigs. She erected stone towers. I sat on a rock and sketched the pool from afar. When I finished, I set my sketchbook aside and simply watched her play. I listened to the breeze through the tall, dry grass.
Slowly the animals came back.
Before the peace could be shattered again, I crunched through the gravel and whispered to her, "Are you ready to move on?"
She had gotten her shoes soaking wet and I knew she wouldn't be able to hike in them, so we leisurely backtracked out of the park. We held hands and she told me all about the turtles and the fish and the insects she'd seen.