For our Finding Everyday Inspiration task today (Saturday, September 9th), I was to take inspiration from the world around me. Find a space and observe and write.
Saturday is my sacred day. I like having no plans. I like waking up whenever I want, even though it’s almost always before 7. I make coffee and sit with Gidget and scroll through social media. It’s slow and leisurely. After breakfast, we go to the park, take our time, and then come home, usually via a bakery, and spend the rest of the day pottering about the house, tidying up, planning, sometimes taking pictures, listening to music, sometimes watching television. Just a very calming day. That’s my ideal Saturday and I am often blessed to have it.
So today (Saturday), that’s what I’ve done so far. The park that we go to is large and has a 1.5km walking track, with 4 benches quite evenly spaced around the track. Today, I stopped at a couple of the benches and sat and observed. I took some notes about the things around me.
While it was a cool morning, the sun was out and bright and warming on my skin. The grass had been freshly cut and the smell was amazing, reminding me of my younger years. Whenever I sat, Gidget would sit by me on the bench or at my feet, basking in the sun. She is equal parts loner, worrier and princess, not bothering to play with the non-humans.
The sounds of lawn mowers in the distance, the jingle jangle of dog tags as they run around, chasing after balls and each other. A helicopter overhead, the happy shouts of boys playing, motorbikes and cars on the distant road.
Two things stood out to me: firstly, people speak affectionately to their dogs, and they are happy, everyone is smiling and chatty, people say good morning as they go by. Secondly, I didn’t hear a mobile phone ring once in the 45 minutes that we were at the park. I saw a few people with their phones, like me, but mostly people were focussed on their dogs or kids or the sunshine. It was amazing.
Birds were calling; occasionally I could hear the pounding of footfalls as joggers went past, their feet crunching on the gravel when they were near me. Dogs were growling playfully with each other, arguing over who’s turn it was with the ball, as little children spoke in worried voices, concerned about the growls. Parents reassuring.
At the busiest bench, people chatted while constantly playing fetch with their dogs, and listening to their children. A dog came over to give Gidget a sniff as she was basking by my feet. I gave him a pat as I heard his owner cry “Watch out, he’s gonna pee!” as surely he lifted his leg and peed on the bench leg. I laughed, the horrified look on her face was priceless, but he didn’t get me or missG.
And then the best part of the visit. A lady with her two children, aged 7 and 4, were playing fetch with their dog. The dog, who I later found out was named Connie, came trotting over to investigate missG who was by now up on the bench next to me. “That’s just our Irish Setter”, said little Thomas, as he and his sister Izzy came over to say hello. They were such adorable little kids, talkative and respectful. Their mum told them not to pat Gidget and they didn’t, until I said it was ok.
They chatted to me for about 15 minutes and I learned so much about them, and their super dog Connie. Apparently they go to another park with a very high fence and their daddy lifts Connie over the fence, holding her up so that she looks like SuperMan flying. They loved telling me the story, as I laughed in all the right places and asked them lots of questions.
I learned that Izzy is off to a party at her friend Alexa’s house tonight. Alexa has a little brother named Rueben and another little baby brother named Felix. Felix, as it turns out, was born at another birthday party, the party of another boy named Felix. Not the Felix who was being born though, a different Felix.
I tell you, these kids were priceless.
Their mum was laughing so hard while she threw the ball for Connie, keeping an ear out listening to what the kids were saying. Little Thomas has 4 teddy bears and he proceeded to tell me about each of them, although it turns out that one is a blankey. And one is a back-up blankey. Izzy chimed in at this point to tell me that their mum made them back-up blankeys, just in case something happened to their main blankeys. She loves her blankeys, but loves her first one the most, because she’s had it since before she was born.
These two gorgeous kids were an absolute scream and a delight. So funny and open and cute. And I probably wouldn’t have met them if I hadn’t been observing my surroundings thanks to this prompt.