My roommate from college’s mother used to have artful expressions about life. One of her best lessons for me was “You like what likes you, be it a four-legged dog or a two-legged dog.”
This expression described the pull of attraction towards those that are already our admirerers. But I took her wisdom to mean not to pick your friends or dates based on their looks, but rather on their loyalty.
Last week, while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, I watched my eight year old niece follow my older son around the beach. They reminded me of Sarah Flack’s saying, but not because my niece in any way resembles a two-, or even four-, legged dog. They reminded me of this saying because of the level of intimacy they exhibited while exploring for shells and shark’s teeth on the beach. It was a level of intimacy measured and marked by their companionable silence. When a dog follows you around, there’s no need to impress or discuss. The mutual admiration or acceptance is already there. You can just ‘be’, together. And so it was with these two kids as they searched the beach together.
My heart swelled as I watched them from the hotel balcony. (Since I was using a telephoto lens to watch, I guess that it was technically spying.) My niece would occasionally play in the waves, pick up shells, or just follow in her cousin’s wake. My son smile as he saw her jumping in the water or wait patiently holding her towel as his younger, very girlie, cousin, meticulously washed her shoes and feet, and brushed sand of her legs. I had mistakenly thought the gift of silence was for the adults – sleeping happy kids. Little did I know that the gift of silence was to be found by the kids in the late afternoon on the beach.
Laura Hedgecock 2009