An early Sunday morning. Daddy is out of town. The big girls and I go for a walk in the neighborhood. The streets are quiet. There is a compelling breeze. Up ahead, a man selling fruit. I do something I don't normally do. I take my girls' hands and we approach. "Two oranges," I say. And the girls and I pick the two we want. I hand Big Girl a crumpled dollar bill. Excited, empowered, she pays.
I tell the girls to sit in a doorway next to a barber shop that is not yet open for the day. They look confused, but oblige. They settle on soiled stone as I peel an orange. I hand them each a section. And we eat. It is the best orange in the world! we decide.
The girls are thrilled.
And I am, too. Suddenly, this tiny treasure - a street-sold citrus - has given us a moment. A small shred of meaning. Here we are in this big, fancy city soaking up the promise of a Sunday morning. The girls are happy. I am happy. This is happiness, I realize.
The girls don't notice it, but I do. The lone word etched in the bricks inside the gate. Welcome. It's a small word that's also big. Isn't this what we all want most? To be welcome in this world? To be embraced upon entry?
And in this moment, as I clutch orange peels and watch my girls, I feel a surge of something. What is it? Awareness? Pride? Gratitude? Love? I'm pretty sure it is all of these things. And more.
We head toward home, but the girls stop in front of the flower shop. They bend their small bodies to smell the potpourri of petals. They point at the rainbow of colors. And I stand back, all smiles, watching them take it all in.
For much of the walk home, I lag behind them. Witnessing their closeness, their true and evolving friendship, their glorious sense of wonder. My finger presses a small button on my phone, to capture this, these, these moments. My mind races to memorize this Sunday morning magic. That orange, those bricks and that breeze, that bounty of fresh flowers.
And it occurs to me that there are tiny treasures all around us wherever we are. They are hidden in the city and the country, in our hearts and our minds and our eyes. They are before us if we look, and smell, and savor.
On Sundays and all days.
Have you experienced small moments that turned out to be cosmically big? Do the little people in your life help you open your eyes?