|Mushroom on the forest floor|
The narrow boardwalk at first annoys me - no room for people to squeeze by, and I'm always worried about toppling into the bog on either side - but then I slowly realize it was likely by design, to force strangers to slow down, acknowledge each other not in silent disconnectedness, but in polite discussion with new friends we meet along the way.
Dahlia spots a circular patch of red beside a tree. A mushroom. She leans in for a closer look, careful to avoid stepping onto the sensitive forest floor. As she hovers over her find, an elderly couple approaches from the other way and the lady - she was very much a lady, with a kind, deliberate lilt to her voice - asks what Dahlia's looking at. She explains, and both she and her husband crack huge smiles at this small discovery.
This lovely lady in the black wool coat and hand-knitted hat explains how her fading eyesight makes it difficult to make things out anymore. Still, she doesn't want to miss a thing, and asks Dahlia what she sees, and whether she's getting any good pictures of it.
The woman then asks Dahlia if she'd mind taking a picture of it for her. Of course, she says. So the lady removes an iPhone from her coat pocket and hands it to our daughter.
I stand quietly back and watch my daughter carefully and kindly interact with these very sweet people. I want to explain to them just how accomplished a photographer she is, but I resist the urge to play Proud Dad just this once. She's doing just fine on her own.
She gets down on the boardwalk and deftly composes and shoots a few pictures before handing her back her phone. It wasn't what the both of them said, but how they said it, that made me realize how profoundly touched this couple was that a complete stranger would take pictures for them.
You remember many things as a parent. This moment has just been added to the list.