I noticed a swirl of dust up ahead. Our driveway has a portion that is wooded and there is a downslope, bottom, and upslope back up a hill again. I was near the bottom portion of the slope on one end, headed away from the house, when I looked up the hill further down the driveway. The dust swirl was imbued with an ethereal quality by the backlighting of the sun as if it were a dream. The vision I was getting was a cross between the Tasmanian Devil and a fairy from a cartoon that was just a ball of light that would eventually diminish to reveal the beautiful fairy. As the seemingly mystical source of the pint-sized dust-light tornado neared, the light diminished and, sure enough, I could see our five-year-old fairy. Little H was running flat out down the hill toward me. I decided to try to capture this magical moment in video on my phone. I fumbled to get my phone out of my pocket and by this time she had stopped and was looking back up the hill, away from me and my phone.
Our daughters were accustomed to my wife and I photo-capturing the details of their lives. Little H shied away at every opportunity. I felt like the paparazzi during a private moment she didn’t want anyone to witness. Then, she shrugged in resignation and promptly started picking up rocks, throwing them into the stream that ran perpendicular and under our driveway through a culvert. She wore a pink princess dress with pleated chiffon that looked like gossamer overlying the skirt. She seemed to sparkle as the sun’s light tried to dodge through the tree canopy and catch the ever-moving target that is my daughter. I snapped out of my reverie and decided to try to capture what I finally recognized as one of her favorite activities any time she ran down the driveway. She appeared to be feeding the creek or tossing in an offering or making a wish. She would never say which. I brought my phone up again to capture the moment. By this time, however, she had stopped throwing rocks and simply stared down the creek as if waiting for an acknowledgement of her offering. I lowered my phone to just try to take her in and enjoy the moment.
As if she could tell exactly the right moment to escape capture on film, she turned and dazzled me with a set of teeth in a smile only interrupted by a missing right bottom incisor. She dashed past me and I turned to try to catch her escape. The moment had passed and all I could do was watch her hair bounce from side to side like a finger wag saying, “not this time.”