My youngest daughter and I were running errands yesterday when I caught a whiff of sea air. We only had twenty minutes before we had to be home for my older children, but I took a different turn, following the scent of the Long Island Sound.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“To the beach,” I said. “We have fifteen minutes to sink our toes in the sand.”
We walked hand in hand, passing the people who had stopped for the playground and lunch tables by the parking lot, until the excitement had her tearing towards the lapping, little waves. As soon as her toes hit the cool water, she started to dance, lifting her arms and spinning around, unaware of anything but the ocean, the birds and the sand beneath her feet. I took a picture so I wouldn’t forget that feeling of heedless creativity, the natural instinct in a child that can be extinguished with age and life.
I wondered why I couldn’t join her. Maybe didn’t even want to. I was content to watch, remembering the unbridled ability to gallop, squeal and twirl with no thoughts of stumbling, or cares to how it appeared. It is pure expression, something we are all born with and told to tuck away. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others, but somewhere inside, we never lose that raw, childlike expression. And never should. I buried my toes further in the sand, collected shells and checked my watch. My time is not my own. I live within the parameters of society and structure. You just have to take a detour every chance you get. Bury your toes in the sand. And remember the youthful flight of inherent creativity.