A young mother in faded rolled-up jeans, is resting on a flat, wet rock. Feet buried in the depths of the cool brook, the summer sun dances on her golden hair as water rushes swiftly by. Two small girls with pudgy bare feet and equally golden hair cautiously wade in the waters around her making their way to her out-stretched hand. She is holding something small in the center of her palm and her daughters inch closer and closer to inspect the curious find.
It is a priceless moment that my father captured on film. A rare opportunity to freeze time. The young mother is my mother and the girls, my sister and me, no doubt on a mid-summer family adventure. I can’t recall it specifically, and yet I swear I can hear the water gurgling around me and feel the chill of it lapping at my ankles. The rocks beneath my tiny toes are moss-covered and smooth… and I haven’t a care in the world.
If I had to guess, I’d say the year was probably 1977 and my mom was younger than I am now. Every time I stop and take time to look closely at the photo, I marvel at my mother’s youth and beauty. And I gaze in awe at the two innocent and precious little girls, sheltered from pain, suffering, disappointment, heartbreak and the weight of responsibility. All of those things are out there waiting in the not-so-distant future. Looking back now, knowing what I know, I might have frozen time right then and there.
But the pages on the calendar fly as the years pass by and time has its not-so-friendly-way with us. Experiences etch their marks—forever transforming us into the people we are becoming. Nothing stays the same, its true. But if we look closely through the veil of time—we might still recognize the remnants of what once was. The goodness and the innocence, the curiosity and pure unbridled passion for all things fun! Today I occasionally catch glimpses of the barefoot girls with the golden hair… knee-deep in what I now know to be the rushing waters of change. And although our outward images are constantly being altered by the passage of time—like the rocks beneath a rapid, endless current—I am grateful for all we have managed to hold onto despite the years. Easy smiles and hearty laughs, curious spirits… and hope in tomorrow.