Friday, August 20, 2010

"All children, except one, grow up."

On Monday, the first day of camp, Rebecca's mom pulled me aside.  "Rebecca has mild autism," she told me.  "She has been to Red Butte camps before and loves them, but I wanted to let you know she may need to hear things more than once."  I noticed this week that Rebecca--a tall, slim 4th grader with shoulder length brown hair--was often in her own place.  She had a good time with whatever we did, but didn't talk with the other kids much and was happy on her own.

This afternoon all fifteen of us found a shady place the courtyard.  I brought pipe cleaners, pony beads, string, and jingle bells and watched in amazement as the kids turned them into incredible creations.  Anklets, bracelets, rings appeared instantly.  Headbands, pipe cleaner scissors, and baseball cap decorations evolved later.  For forty-five minutes the kids didn't want to move, even to go and eat.  They were mesmerized by the beads and their own creativity.  They sat on the ground in tight circles searching the bowls for the right colour choices.  I sat on a bench watching them work and preventing fights over the few precious glow-in-the-dark beads.  I watched the blue sky behind the red foothills.

Rebecca finished after only a few minutes.  She made a pipe cleaner bracelet strung with sparkling beads and one jingle bell.  She stepped out of the shade and into the sun and smiled as the beads caught the light.  She skipped and giggled as the bell tinkled.  She jumped, leaped, and twirled in her green summer skirt.  She swirled her arms above her head and down--always watching her bracelet in the light.  She laughed out loud as the small bell jingled with her jumps.  She danced free and without form.  Her eyes and face were open, happy, and enraptured by the miracle of beads and bells moving in the sunlight.  Her happiness was simple and pure.  Rebecca was everything that childhood embodies.  I wanted so much to join her!  But this dance was hers, not mine.  She filled the courtyard with her dancing until the others finally finished their projects.

"You must have been warned against 
letting the golden hours slip by; 
but some of them are golden only 
because we let them slip by." 


Laura said...

I just love your blog. After a long hard day at my annoying job, I came home and read this beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. :)

evieperkins said...

Very well written, Rach. And very beautiful moment.