Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A BETTER WORLD
Cadence walks quickly but carefully, brown silky strands in front of her face as she stares intently down at the cups she holds, one in each hand. She glances up only long enough to be sure she is headed in the right direction; bare feet carrying skinny legs with dirty knees.
“Are you sure you don’t want to keep them to watch them change?” I ask trailing behind with the third cup. “I have an old aquarium in the basement.” I look carefully into my cup and notice that one of the three pollywogs has sprouted tiny legs and wiggles them along with his large tail.
“The lady at the pool said they tried to keep some once and they all died; every last one! I’m putting them in the pond where I put Tiny yesterday. He’s probably their brother even though he’s all the way to frog already.” She walks faster now, urgent to accomplish her mission.
Pond-side, she squats down on the edge of a flat rock over the shallow beside the bridge. “There you go little fella.” she coos as she pours the first cup in. Holding very still, she watches as the rescued waggle to safety. “They were just about to put the chlorine in,” brown eyes glance up at me, “I was just in time.” The second cup pours in and then the third. I watch Cadence coach the tiny swimmers on their journey to life and safety.
“Looks like a storm is coming,” I say, noticing the darkness inching closer, “We’d better go back to the house.” Cadence rises slowly and reaches for my hand. “You sure saved a lot of lives today.” Her dimple framed smile warms her face as she nods; the walk home needs no words.
Sitting on the steps, we see the first raindrops splat large and loud on the stone patio. “Be right back!” Cadence pushes up and spins on the steps, screen door sliding open. She is back in seconds, scrambles down the steps and squats down on the patio, thin fingers arranging a bottle cap, toothpick and large green leaf into a tiny lean-to.
“Ooooooh.” she stands frustrated as the contraption falls. Her head whips left and right, eyes searching until they lock onto her target. “Yes!” She lunges forward grabbing a child-sized, yellow, plastic garden shovel.
“Hello!” Brad calls, footsteps down the hall announcing the end of the workday. “You guys sitting in the rain?” He asks in passing, not waiting for the answer as he makes his way to the kitchen.
“The world is a better place today thanks to Cadence.” I tell him across the room as I watch her attempt to stand a flower pot on an angle upside down. “Saved at least ten pollywogs from the chorine and it appears as though she’s saving the ants on the patio from the storm.”
Cadence stands back to observe and climbs up the steps to sit beside me, rain spatter all around. “Oh, I’m not saving them,” she corrects me; “I’m protecting their dinner that I fed them, only I don’t think Dad will be happy that I am feeding the ants.”
She lowers her voice tipping her head to look at me, “Didn’t you hear the Rrrrr, Whoosh, Bang, Rrrr?” hands gesture pushing, pulling and scooping. “That was me scooping sugar out of the canister and I put a small amount at each ant hole.” She points to the little piles beneath the lean-tos. “I didn’t want it all to melt in the rain.” She said hopping up to make an adjustment to the shovel.
The sky rumbles low and deep and we move into the house. Cadence walks to the kitchen and purges her sweet truth to her father, who tries to conceal his frustration. “Cadence, I’m trying to get rid of the ants. We really don’t need to be encouraging them to live here.” he shakes his head, hand running over the top of his hair.
“Exactly Dad, you were trying to kill them for coming in the house but they have their own homes outside. They were just coming in because they were hungry. Now I bring them their food outside and they don’t have to come in, so you don’t have to kill them. You haven’t seen any in the house lately, have you?”
“I guess I haven’t.” He answers, lips rolling together; defeat spreading across his face.
Cadence’s shoulders lower with relief.
“Good, then my plan is working!” she grins.
“Makes sense to me,” I smile with one side of my mouth, eyebrows raised. “She sure saved a lot of lives today.” I add to plead her case.
Brad shakes his head slowly; his smile tells that he knows he will not win this battle. Hands on her hips, she nods with certainty and turns to leave the kitchen.
“The world is a better place because of her…” I offer.
“Indeed.” Brad answers. “That it is.”