The Importance of Being Present

SONY DSC“Red moon,” he said,

his two-year-old hand reaching for mine

in the dark. 

As urgently as my granddaughter

grabbed my arm, earlier that day. 

 

For her, it was the return

of the hummingbirds.

 

 

SONY DSCShe’d spotted a female

resting on a high branch,

a potential mate preening

his feathers nearby.

Our clothesline, his stage.

 

 

SONY DSCThen . . . a flash

of iridescent red,

high-pitched squeaks,

beating wings that

skirted our hair.

Breathlessness

as abandoned homework

 

 

                                            danced

                                                                                 on a breeze.

 

SONY DSCWe chased it, laughing.

 

If not for children

reminding us to be present,

how many miracles of life

would be overlooked?

 

The insect in a daylily.

 

Shadows in the woods.

 

SONY DSC

The beauty of a half-dead 

Japanese maple tree

clinging to life.

Its unfurling apple-peel like leaves

shimmering in the sun.

 

Do our heads always need to be down?

Our brains wired and ready

for instant response

to Facebook notifications,

e-mails, texts, twitter updates?

 

SONY DSC

 

 

Look. Up.

Find beauty.

Give a child your full,

undivided attention.

 

 

 

 

And so we set aside homework

to wonder at hummingbirds.

Delayed bedtime

to gaze at a brilliant full moon,

 

SONY DSC

shrouded in a milky

red-and-blue veil.

 

“Look, Grandma!” he said,

his small hand swallowed

in mine.

                                                                                           

Clouds shifted; the moon disappeared.

 

SONY DSCBut not the moment.

The moment of just

being.

 

He ran down the driveway.

“Moon is gone! GONE!”

 

 

I raced after him,

swept him into my arms,

guided his tiny arm toward the sky.

“Watch and wait,” I whispered.

 

Together, we silently anticipated–

not a ding or a chirp or a tweet

but the reappearance

of an unreachable golden ball

nestled in the night sky.

A ball my grandson called “Red Moon.”

 

Yes, we need to be brave

in our writing,

but we must also seek the courage

to be present.

7 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Present

  1. Betsy, since the first time I read something you wrote, I knew you were a gifted writer at heart. Then, in following your blog, through the years I’ve seen the most gorgeous pictures. Your words captivating and moving, and so do your photos. You are, without question—an “artist.” 🙂

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