Saturday, May 12, 2007

Through the eyes of a child

Tonight I had to make a run to the grocery store around the corner. We were out of coffee -- a crisis! -- and it couldn't wait til morning.

It's an older store, in the older part of town. It has all of the conveniences of a newer store -- deli, hot bar, bakery -- but you can just tell. It's older than most around here.

There is a mosaic set into the floor in front of the seafood and meat case. It's not fancy, but it would have passed for such 30 or 40 years ago when the store was built. I usually go around it when I'm shopping, simply because it makes for a very bumpy cart. It's definitely not an easy go when I have one child hanging onto the edge of the cart and one hanging onto my leg.

Tonight when I was there, a girl of about 9 was at the mosaic, pushing the cart behind her father.

She stopped after she'd passed the edge of the mosaic. "Dad! Dad! Look! It's just beautiful, isn't it?"

Dad looked over and continued walking toward the dairy case. "Yeah, it's great."

The girl picked up her pace again and followed. She looked at me as we passed and said, "Just beautiful," in that wispy, wonder-filled voice that children often have.

I had to agree. For a moment, I could see it the way that she did. The textures are different than the rest of the store. Certainly, the oversized, generic Super WhatEver doesn't have anything like it. There is nothing utilitarian about it. It seems as if it's there simply to be noticed.

I often point out different features to my children: shapes in the clouds; colors in the sunset; interesting points or designs on a building; butterflies. I had never once considered that old, shades-of-brown mosaic on the floor to be worth my interest. And I think I was missing out.

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