In the beginning, I learned to call it “helping.” Helping wasn’t a burden, a demand, or an imposition. Helping was something people did naturally, and being allowed to help around the house was considered a perfectly acceptable way for children to enter the mysterious world of grown-ups.
Trailing behind my mother with a dust cloth, or venturing into the yard to carry bundles of sticks for my father garnered smiles of approval. I enjoyed approval, and so I looked for opportunities: cutting flowers to make the house pretty, or picking up my toys. I collected windfall apples in a bucket; pulled low-hanging cherries from trees; set the table and dried the silverware; folded the wash cloths; put newspapers in their box. Continue reading
In the beginning, the word we used was “helping”. Helping wasn’t a burden, a demand or an imposition. It wasn’t a curse or a condemnation, something to be avoided at all cost or valued beyond all reason. Helping was something people did naturally, and it was the best way for a child to enter the mysterious and utterly appealing world of grown-ups.
Helpers garnered smiles of approval as they trailed behind Mother with a dust cloth or ventured into the yard to carry bundles of sticks for Daddy. Helpers cut flowers that made the house pretty and picked up their toys. Helpers collected windfall apples in a bucket or pulled low-hanging cherries from the trees. Helpers set the table and dried the silverware, folded the wash cloths and put newspapers in their box. If a neighbor who’d been called away was worried about her thirsty geraniums, a good helper knew to borrow a bucket and carry water to the flowers.
Helping, I thought, was fun. Continue reading
Down at the cut, beyond the banks of the sullen, dark-flowing river and its silent, receptive bay, silt-heavy waters tumble and settle into the ocean’s spilling froth.
Anchored by chains of sea-grass, dunes drag and shift in the wind, while along a sepentine ribbon of hard, reflective sand, treasures abound. Portuguese Men of War, sargassum weed and a sea bean or two lie covered in spume. Shells and echoes of shells move in tandem with the waves – angel wing, bay scallop, lightening whelk and coquina – often worn, more often broken after crossing the bars which parallel the coast.
When the tide recedes and sandbars lie exposed, less common treasures invite a second look – sand dollars, an embossed candle, sea-glass in shades of pistachio and almond. One day I noticed a bit of amethyst flashing in the sunlight – a tiny dot of brilliant, intense color. Assuming a shard of plastic or a broken fishing lure, I bent, and saw the truth. It was a shell – a tiny, perfect snail. Continue reading