jeudi, avril 20, 2006
The power of a peacock
Driving down Little Conestoga Road toward Route 100 this evening after Sian's ballet rehearsal, I almost ran over a peacock. Male...you know, the showy ones with the iridescent feathers. They say all that color and cockiness is an evolutionary adaptation on the part of the male of the species, but that's hard to believe. This fellow, tail lofting over the tarmac, didn't seem to give a hoot about the SUVs and mini-vans whose owners had slowed down to let him take his half out of the middle. It is possible to imagine that two decades ago Little Conestoga might have been the kind of bucolic place where you could see dairy farmers leading cows to the barn or sheep crossing the road. No more. Thronged with the blandness of new subdivisions, it has little remnant of its rural past. The chickens pecking by the roadside of one of the few farms left on that stretch of road seem like an artifact of a time both elusively close and already long gone. When Sian and I saw the peacock, we, too, moderated our pace to a respectful crawl. As we drove on, Sian looked back and viewed it parading behind our car, apparently oblivious to the peril of wandering unescorted on a busy street at dusk. Once we were on the busy highway, Sian said: "A peacock...it wasn't supposed to be there." Then she laughed...caught up on the delight of an unscripted moment of dislocation. Part of the reason I made the decision to move out here, a right and a left and another right beyond Little Conestoga, was to allow my kids the opportunity to have those precious times. They chase deer in the backyard, the varmints, as though the they were domesticated pups. Colin and Sian greet the rabbits in our yard as though they were members of the family. Wildflowers and groundhogs and flowering cherry trees are part of the backdrop of our local environment. All children deserve to have times in which they are taken completely and pleasantly by surprise. We all do. Sadly, so many children don't have the chance to experience what Sian and Colin and their friends do when they open the front door in the morning to wait for the school bus, or bike down the street to play with the family around the corner. Yet that doesn't mean that sick kids or disadvantaged kids or kids in war torn countries are shorn of wonder. In holding a new car, playing soccer with a friend, sharing an ice cream cone with a buddy or a giggling with a friend before lights out, children find ways to create their own grace and joy. Wonder is the birthright of every child. We adults simply have the challenge of keeping our eyes open so that we aren't preoccupied and miss the comet or the peacock when they come. Then we have the privilege of slowing down, which we so rarely do, and allowing ourselves a moment to savor, and gape, and grin in delight.