"Make a Wish"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - MAY 16, 2020
DAY SIXTY-ONE OF THE CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
Last evening, Eleni and I were reading on the back deck. She was completely engrossed in a Lonely Planet travel book and for the first time started talking about wanting to see Europe. I was completely engrossed in a story about restaurant owners in Baton Rouge who for the first time are talking about how their family business might not survive the pandemic. Eventually, we were both distracted by this scrappy little bird defending some invisible border between our live oaks. That wee warrior, time and time again, took on winged invaders easily two or three times its size, flying full speed ahead to clear the air.
As Eleni and I marveled at this animated rendition of David and Goliath, a single, silky thread of dandelion spore appeared at arm’s length. The tiny fairy wand with its wispy crown drifted across our field of vision at a perfectly constant pace, like a satellite crossing the sky. It was startling to catch a solitary fiber in flight. I can’t remember a time I actually saw one of those teeny gossamer strands independent, free from the plume of seeds you release when you blow on the head of a fading dandelion flower. Instantly Eleni cried out, “mommy, hurry, make a wish!” Her visceral, immediate response exploded with optimism and unbridled enthusiasm.
I don’t know the origin of this awesome ritual or how deep its roots run. But like so many cherished childhood traditions it is steeped in joy and grounded in innocent expectation. Children often are the inventors and instigators of these sweet customs. They shepherd good will into perpetuity with their unjaded idealism and boundless sense of wonder. Whether plucking coins into a fountain or picking pennies up off of the ground, hope is made manifest with ordinary items taking on extraordinary, miraculous power.
Invitations to breathe new life, to announce to the universe who you are or who you want to be surround us every day. We don’t need to wait for the new calendar year to make resolutions or birthday candles to spark our desires or dandelions to emancipate our aspirations. Emily Dickinson wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” Hope was in that little bird. Hope was in Eleni’s eyes as she started dreaming of days to come. Hope was in that dandelion seed awaiting its encounter with fertile ground. Hope is in the here and now. You only have to open your eyes to see.