#32 Miracles never cease
April 07th, 2015
My ten-year-old granddaughter Lilli is visiting (HOOORAY!!!), and my “daughter of another mother,” Deb, joined us for Easter. We cooked turkey and feasted. My blonde daughter made the stuffing, the turkey cooperated beautifully and we were, to put none too fine a point on it, pigs.
In the making of the stuffing Erin ran out of celery. No problem, I have celery in my non-greenhouse. Lilli and I headed out, scissors in hand, to snip some stalks. A sparrow had found her way into the greenhouse and was frantically trying to get through the glass to the freedom she could see on the other side of that which she obviously couldn’t see. Lilli was on the verge of tears. Oh the poor little thing….
Grandma has some experience rescuing birds from the non-greenhouse. So I scooped the terrified mite and held her in cupped hands. Lilli reached out one small brown finger, touched the head of the sparrow so gently I knew it was first cousin to a kiss. “I never felt a wild bird before…,” she breathed. I told her how to hold her hands, and put the sparrow in her gentle grasp. She took it outside, whispering to it the entire way, then opened her hands and off it flew. I hope I never forget the look on that little girl’s face!
I’ve often been accused of being a mush pot and it’s true. I can leak from my eyes at the slightest thing. Take me to a concert where little people are singing or dancing, and I leak. I don’t much care about the majorettes in any parade but when the itty-bitties ride by on a float, trying to twirl their batons, I leak. Take me to a Pet Parade and it isn’t the sight of the mutts on leashes that reduces me to a damp face, it’s the proud owners on the other end of the leash as they show off their best buddies.
Or a little girl turning loose a sparrow.
“I could feel its little heart beating.”, she said, looking for all the world like someone who had just participated in a miracle.
Now, Lilli thinks she might like to be a vet when she grows up.
Today we made turkey sandwiches and headed down to Moss Rock. For those of you unfortunate enough to never get to see Moss Rock, I say, well, it’s a glorious place. The rock is a huge chunk of geography, probably a mile or more in length, covered with four-to-six inches of thick moss, all kinds of moss. Until I saw that place I didn’t realize how many kinds of moss there are. And, at the foot of it, the Tahsis River forms a pool where, in summer, kids can swim. It’s never warm, but who cares. The water is so clear you can see every rock on the bottom and if you get thirsty. You can drink it as you swim.
For more than three hours we just sat, feasted our eyes, and ate our sandwiches. The dogs were having a wonderful time, and Lilli just had to climb over the slippery face of Moss Rock. There was a time I watched my kids doing the same thing and I didn’t feel the knot of raw terror I felt with Lilli. Old Age brings with it a realization of just how fragile we are! Every move Lilli made I envisioned her falling, compound fracture of the leg, concussion, fractured skull, broken neck… Well, none of that happened. She was like a mountain goat.
To finish fraying my tattered nerves, Lilli went in the water. She didn’t actually SWIM, but she did duck completely under a couple of times. The water drains off the face of a snow-covered mountain–and treasure is laughing and ducking under it. The pink fawn lilies are in bloom, as are the little yellow violets and the blue periwinkle. The piggyback plants have their second tier and are working on the third. That’s the tier which will fall over, then root itself in the moss to start a new plant.
Miracles are everywhere. We saw a type of lichen which looked like itty-bitty cups on a thick frond of salmonberry bush, and another kind on a punky log, dark brown, like strings. Whereupon Lilli thinks aloud we should make a regular thing of it. “Like, you know, a tradition or something. Just come here every Easter Monday for a picnic.”
Sounds good to me.
We packed it all up, came home and not a minute too soon, as the clouds rolled in.
Now the wind has picked up, the trees are dancing madly. The sky looks ominous.
Lilli has gone to the Rec Centre to go swimming in much warmer water. My old dog Minnie is stretched out on her quilt, sleeping so soundly, snoring. Not so long ago Min could have cavorted all day and well into the evening, and still been up for more, but now she’s heading on for thirteen, and she’s all tuckered out. Lilli worked it all out…. Seven dog-years to ever one people-year… so Minnie is ninety-one.
“Grandma, she’s even older than YOU are!” Lilli said.
Yep. But I’m getting there.
Anne Cameron grows pussywillows on the western edge of Vancouver Island. She received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in British Columbia in 2010. Her 23 books include Daughters of Copper Woman, the bestselling work of fiction ever written about B.C. and published from within B.C. She has banished herself to Tahsis, a small town not far from Friendly Cove where the shenanigans called British Columbia all began.