Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ships and crabs

I was watching the sky and sea from my favorite spot on the rocky point of the West Haven beach yesterday, lost in a pitiful cynicism about the future, when I was surprised by the sudden appearance of a girl in pink, maybe 9 years old, her hands held cupped together. As if we were old friends she asked if I wanted to see a crab, which of course I did. She opened her palm and a dime sized white crab crawled sideways off her finger onto mine. I'd never seen a crab so small. She told me there were hundreds of them in the ditch nearby, and she led me there, down to the water, showing me how to step without slipping.

We returned the tiny crab to the puddle she had found it in and built a house of stones and shells to hide it from the seagulls. Then we overturned rocks to find all kinds of other crabs which scrambled out over our shoes, and she identified each one in scientific detail. I'd been in that ditch dozens of times and never noticed them before.

A man in a wheelchair above called to her. We climbed back out and I thanked her and said goodbye. She picked up a seagull feather on the ground and gave it to me, and said maybe we'd meet again in the ditch. I saw then that the man she was with had neither of his legs. He turned his wheelchair and she followed him away, looking back at me until we were out of sight of each other. She seemed more then a girl. She spoke like a 65 year old marine biology professor. She was kind and careful with me like a grandmother. I'm not really sure she wasn't a spirit, or a Bodhisattva maybe. In any case, I left feeling a pang of loss, but also great wonder, and a restored sense of peace.

I return to the ditch in hopes of finding her again. But so often we are ships that quickly pass.

8 comments:

alvina said...

This is beautiful, Linda. Thank you.

Linda S. Wingerter said...

Thanks for reading, Alvina.

Anonymous said...

so what did you figure out when thinking about the future?

Linda S. Wingerter said...

I only got as far as returning your tent, going through the boxes like I promised, and getting a motorcycle ride if I can convince someone.

Libby Koponen said...

What a beautiful post, Linda! I like the sound of that little girl -- I hope she didn't have to take care of the old man. I'm glad she had fun with you.

And it's always really fun and inspiring to meet and read about kids who are fascinated by the world around them and eager to explore it.

Linda S. Wingerter said...

I got the feeling the relationship was very mutually caring. Really something extraordinary about both of them. I am happier just knowing there are kids like this in the world. Who knows what circumstances shape people into being just so at a certain place and time, or why I was the beneficiary of such kindness.

Anonymous said...

I never read Blogs until now...This story was soo touching that it brought me to tears....There's something about the way you write that makes my mind see pictues of your stories...Beautiful!...adele

Linda S. Wingerter said...

Thanks so much Adele.