If I lean in and peer closely enough I can still see her past the crow’s feet and time.
A tiny pocket miracle with sponge-like brown eyes drinking in the world as if it is Kool-Aid.
The latitude of her smile is geographically incorrect as it spills past her cheekbones and her ears and bounces light around the room at the tail end of her laugh which fills the air like happy wind chimes.
There she lies in a white nightgown tied with red ribbon and promise smelling of Johnson’s shampoo; prone on her belly which is nestled in the shag carpet and wondering how the yellow brick road knows where to take Dorothy.
Her No. 2 pencil is tied up in her unruly hair that needs brushing the moment her feet hit the floor every morning. Even before the wind hits it. Even before her ideas start kicking it into a whirl. Even before she is ready put that pencil to paper again.
And she thumbs the edges of her notebook ~ the first half empty pages and the second half soggy stamps ~ equal in promise. Always the right top corner and always with her thumb now calloused from hours spent crafting ideas.
It must be Tuesday. The predictable macaroni from the Kraft box started in the pot. A likely companion to the hot dogs that will sit as a neighbor on its plate. Social Security lends itself to both predictability and food in boxes.
But, she doesn’t know any better yet.
Or perhaps she does.
And also knows that life can be rewritten with a simple notebook and a pencil; and sent into the world with a soggy stamp.
So all is well with that child with the elfin smile and a head full of wild hair and ideas.
She still lives in me beyond the crow’s feet and despite the time.