Twice yesterday I found myself briefly surrounded by little children. They were running about and playing and to them I was but another tree in the yard, another chair to dodge and dash around.

Life swirled around my knees, tiny vortices of vitality, alive with wonder and with presence.

One little vortex ran straight for me, then stopped just short of a collision and looked up at me, eyes wide with wonder, sparkling with amazement that some obstruction had filled his path. We made eye contact and I said, “Hi!” His mouth split wide into a smile, shiny little teeth gleaming on the verge of a laugh that was almost expected but somehow out of place.

He changed course and tottered on at full speed. I was not even a memory I’m sure, because no one is more present than a little child.

I felt a faint rush of life, as if just by being close I was gifted with a bit more than I could contain. For that moment the scars and cares of adulthood, of life, faded to the immediacy and joy of being wholly human and only innocent.

May I never grow so old that the young become a nuisance. May I never close my nose to the fragrance of youth, the perfume of hope and promise. May I never be jaded by the knowledge that someday they too will know hardship. May I instead drink in the gift of life and the memory that the present moment can be simply a joy in itself.