I overheard a woman calling out to a little girl, over and over again…. Lydia! Lydia!
Lydia is a pretty name, one that I don’t hear very often. But, there was a certain tone to it this time, a sharpness with a note of command backing it up. I couldn’t help but hear from where I was standing. The sound of it interrupted my thoughts. My thoughts were simple ones of tea towels and autumn inspired linens… and leaves turning and drifting in a beautiful whirlwind of gemstone colors….
Lydia’s mother and grandmother were getting louder and more emphatic all the time, trying to corral her… while Lydia herself, seemed lost in thought like me and cheerfully free spirited.
To be honest, I giggled to myself as a song sprang to mind –
“Lydia, Oh Lydia
Say, have you met Lydia
Lydia, the tattooed lady….”
It goes on from there… This child was certainly no Lydia of that variety! Another young girl named Virginia Weidler sang the rollicking song in the black and white film, The Philadelphia Story, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. She was absolutely marvelous, playing the piano with vigor and belting out every word with flair! So there I found myself, giggling in a swirl of lost thoughts of my own.
I caught sight of dancing feet to the left of me and so, I looked up. There was Lydia! Her hair was a bit messy, long enough to brush the tops of her shoulders and with a few squirrelly knots thrown in for good measure. Her pint sized glasses were slightly askew. And, she wore a pale pink dress, the kind that little girls love to twirl about in and feel them spiral outwards and let the wind catch beneath them. If one spins fast enough one might just be able to gather enough air to set one flying….
Who knows what adventure one might have then!? I write from experience…
She was clearly smitten with the Christmas decorations, all the colorful displays full of the promise of a crisp winter morning and a stocking full of sweets.
The moment was chocked full of irony though.
Lydia, her name and herself, sailing away upon the air, so genuine and carefree.
While the calling out on the other hand was an earth bound and controlling thing, limited and tethered…like trying to put a leash on a butterfly.
It always strikes me when I see a child so young in glasses. However did they know she needed them. I began wearing glasses in school when it became clear I couldn’t see the blackboard very well. I wore contacts for a while but gave them up and went back to glasses for ease and comfort. The continuous losing of them is another story altogether.
I wonder how long she had had her glasses. Were they brand new. Did the whole world look different, crisper, clearer and brighter than she had ever seen it before!
I shall never forget the day I got my first pair of glasses. I sat still and upright in the straight backed chair with its industrial gray cushion. My feet dangled as I was too small for them to touch the floor. The lady on the other side of the table slipped the glasses with the tiny pink panther emblem onto my face. She ensured that they fit properly in all the right places and ways.
Then the lady sat back and smiled as though she was setting me free. They were all mine now. And, I turned my head to the right towards the plate glass window… and I could see… every last leaf on the wise old trees across the way. Not a mass of green all blurred together. But, every tree and every branch stood out with singular clarity. I could see! It seems fitting now that it was trees that I saw in that moment. Trees have been constants in my life, and I can remember each of them in turn and the vast importance of them to my heart and to my seeing.
I never heard a word at all out of Lydia, herself. She was as silent as a tiny mouse on Christmas eve.
I only heard her mother and her grandmother calling to her. They were far enough away and around a corner so that she was displaced from their view. That is a scary thing for a parent, to be sure. No doubt, they simply wanted her to be safe.
I don’t know what their names were. I don’t know whether they one day twirled in a pale pink dress silently but in high spirits. I don’t know if they were caught up by some small novelty. I don’t know if someone called out to them too, trying to keep them safe… but still, breaking the magic spell of being a child full of wonder… seeing life for the very first time…
Why, I ask myself, would anyone put a leash on a butterfly….
Oh, to be free to dance in the bluest autumn sky…
ellie894 October 2, 2022 A very happy October to everyone! Suzanne ❤️