“[To the mystic] grass is really a forest and the grasshopper a dragon.
Little things please great minds.”
When little Lydia, almost two and a half, visited our house recently, she spent the first few minutes walking from room to room, noticing things she remembered from her last visit nearly a year ago. She exclaimed gleefully when she spotted two Russian dolls and a family of brass llamas (the Llama Llama book series is one of her favorites) on the living room shelf.
Outside, she asked to swing in the yellow seat and to lie down in the red-and-green striped hammock.
“The basement!” is Lydia’s favorite place at our house. She goes to the basement door a dozen times a day, pausing to look up at the cow image on the Silver Summit Dairy sign, one her great-grandmother designed, as she carefully navigates the steps. Upon turning the corner to the garage-sale-toy-filled space, she squeals with delight.
“I ride the horsie. You sit on the blue ball,” she commands.
In this space, everything pleases Lydia. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, she loves naming things. And counting. And singing. Color, especially the color purple, delights her. She never fails to praise it, and when she sees my royal purple robe, she claps her hands and calls it “special!”
Lydia loves machines that make noise — mixers, vacuums, hair dryers — but she doesn’t want to get too close to them or even turn them on. She looks at them from a distance. What she does want to get close to is anything natural or created within her range of vision. When we watered the purple mums, she had to pull one off to examine it more closely in the palm of her hand.
When she loves someone or something, she never contents herself with just one name. Soon I was hearing,
“Grandma, Grandma, Grandma, come play with me in the basement.”
And so I did. I played more in three days than I had for months. Sometimes I was bored. Lydia has such a high tolerance for repetition, whereas I am accustomed to seeking novelty. For her, gazing upon a thing of beauty — or bouncing on it or cutting paper with it or pasting it — gives her as much joy the tenth time as the first.
As Lydia and her parents pulled out of our driveway on their journey back to Pittsburgh, the morning sun illuminated the dew-laden grass of our front yard. I looked closer to see a dandelion in its seed stage, covered with translucent water droplets, shining like the sun behind it. I so wanted Lydia to see this beautiful sight, but she had just disappeared down the road. Instead of taking her hand and asking her what she saw in the grass, I took a photo to share with her.
I saw the dandelion in the grass because Lydia had been my teacher in the little things.
Next time she visits, we’ll go out in the grass again, sure to find forests and dragons.
What tips or stories do you have to share on how to enjoy mystical moments, either with grandchildren
or as part of your spiritual practice?