We waded into the water, the creek bed shimmering with tiny pebbles, shells, and smooth stones. Ahead of us, to the west, a small curve in the bank was tattooed with skinny finger prints, like a dozen children escaped in their pajamas and toddled here for a moonlit meeting. They left behind what to my eyes looked like drowning butterflies, iridescent and glimmering, beckoning me to touch. The raccoons had feasted on the mussels, each delicate shell left clean centimeters below the flowing surface; a simple meal for them, a moment of wonder for me.
My children and I sat for an hour there, catching breezes and chasing minnows with our toes. We collected many of the open mussel shells, their lovely shades of lavender and silver muted in our hands. At some point I became restless, thinking we needed to leave, we had been there for so long. But a simple question from my youngest stopped my rushing things immediately, "Why?"
All of my wanderings and dreaming and seeking the depths, and I still fall prey to my adult perception of time. I forget what it is like to be a child, when time had no value, no relativity other than spending all the time it takes to enjoy, explore, and learn. They know intuitively to spend the least of it worrying, not having fun, and forgetting the really important things. They reminded me to be a sapling again everyday, even every moment, and to appreciate the gift of being alive; struggling again for a hold, a grasp on my place in the world.
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.