Monday, April 30, 2012

Exploring The Nile in The Garden

I'm no longer young by any means, although I am very active, especially on horseback. My own children are in their late twenties and early thirties now. No grandchildren so far, and perhaps there never will be. I was one of those odd people who really, truly wanted to have children. There were other things that I wanted to do, of course, but many of them were compatible with being a mom. Not everyone feels that way, has a really deep desire to be a mother, and probably it should be a requirement for being a mother, because it is, without any doubt at all, the most difficult of the many jobs I've done in my life so far. But for me, it was, also without any doubt at all, the most rewarding. 
My housekeeper never really had a choice about having children, and she has about seven of them to my two. She's barely the age I was when I had my daughter twenty eight years ago and her oldest son is in his twenties. She must have barely been slightly more than a child when he was born. Her youngest is barely a year old now and has been coming to work with her since he was two weeks old.  He's now crawling and walking with the help of chairs, walls, and tables. Luckily, he takes a nice nap every afternoon that lets Magda get some work done, but when he's up we all take turns keeping an eye on him. And these days it does take some watching to keep up with him.
 Today the gardeners were pumping water from our well to water the garden while we were sitting out in the afternoon sun. One of the larger dogs decided to stand majestically on the grass between the crawling one and me, and when he moved, the crawling one was nowhere to be seen. I immediately rose from my chair to search for him and found him happily sitting in a running stream of water. Since he was already wet and muddy, I decided that the best thing to do under the circumstances was probably just to get my camera.
 This young man is a complete treat to watch these days. He's fascinated by just about everything. The running water entranced him and he practiced putting his hand in and out of it, running his fingers through the sand/mud. He found an old piece of bamboo and twisted it around until it broke off in a manageable length.  

Then an odd sound caught his attention and I followed his gaze upwards to some wind chimes hanging from the aviary. The wind was causing the bamboo tubes to chime gently. It isn't a sound that one would expect to hear in an Egyptian village.

The musical accompaniment identified, he now turned his attention to the excavation of his stream bed for a while, but our diesel pump had been turned off and it seemed time to do more exploration down stream since the water level upstream was dropping.

When my own children were this age, I was so caught up in trying to care for a husband and my home and my sanity that just enjoying time spent watching them exploring their world was pretty much out of the question.  In a sense, Magda's son gives me the pleasures of a grandchild without the responsibilities. His mother is finding joy in a baby who is happy, well-fed, and is developing a real intelligence with the advantage of supervised play and a safe place to explore. I remember examining stones and flowers when I was young enough to find them enormous. Watching an new person discovering the same sorts of things reminds me now in my older years of the wonder of the young.

copyright 2012 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani