Friday, August 13, 2010

A Seed of Concentration

Earlier this morning Reese had been asking -- pleading, really -- to blow bubbles.  In her vernacular, this meant that she wanted me to blow bubbles until I was lightheaded from oxygen deprivation, and she wanted to run through them in the yard.  Brooke, who aspires to do most everything that her older sister does, had pressed her face against our front screen door and stared down the gallon of bubble mix sitting on the porch.  Her thoughts were almost audible: That jug might not last us today.

Spills.  Sticky hands.  Bubble mix in the eyes.  One sibling wrangling the plastic wand from the clenched fist of the other.  Hundreds of iridescent bubbles lazily making their way down our hillside and street. 

It was the typical bubble blowing experience.

And then, by accident, my children's attention turned downward.  One had found a small seed, a cherry pit, perhaps, wedged into a crack in our sidewalk.  Both girls crouched to examine it, their knees bent, their bottoms hovering mere inches above the ground.  I stopped blowing bubbles.

For the next several minutes, my girls worked to excavate that seed from the crack in the sidewalk, first digging their fingers as deeply into the crack as they could, then searching for the perfect twig -- one slender enough to reach, but strong enough to lift -- when they realized that they needed more advanced, delicate tools for the task than their own hands.

Sometimes when I watch Reese flit from one activity to another she reminds me of a hummingbird:   perpetually in motion, yet rarely alighting on one singular purpose for an extended time, rarely zeroing in on one task for focused periods.  This was not the case with the seed.  I scarcely moved in fear that I'd disturb the moment.

Minutes later, Reese approached me and opened her fist to reveal the seed resting in her palm.  "We got it," she said.  She handed it to me then rushed inside to whatever activity was next on her agenda.

Brooke came next and peered at the seed in my own palm.  She gripped it between her finger and her thumb, carried it to the sidewalk, squatted down, and dropped it back into the crack. 

More fun for tomorrow, I presumed, as I watched her race into the house to follow Reese.

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