Buried Treasure

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Yesterday morning, was the first of three days I took off from work to enjoy my daughter’s spring break with her and her younger siblings.

I had lots of fun activities planned for those three days: the Youth Fair, I couldn’t wait to eat an elephant ear, though not literally; the Miami Seaquarium; the Zoo, where we’d actually see elephant ears, and hopefully the rest of the elephant, but not eat them; maybe catch a movie, eat some junk food, and finally, goof around at Chuck E. Cheese, PLEASE!

It seemed like a lot for 3 days, but I rarely took time off, so really it was just like Make-up Work at school.

We had eaten breakfast together and decided to go out to the lake to see if there were any fish or turtles.

But you know kids, they are easily distracted and find joy in the little things: a gift bag, an empty toilet paper roll, an old box. So, of course, the many sticks and branches the wind had been snapping off the Flamboyant tree instantly became swords, bats, and golf clubs.

After many a close call swinging at an old tennis ball, I decided it looked more like they were aiming at their brother’s head, and called the game. Instead, we started digging for treasure with the fallen branches, I mean shovels.

We poked around near the fence, and I heard a rustling in the neighbor’s hedges.

I probably saw about half of it before it’s charcoal grey body slithered away beneath the brush.

Not wanting to frighten the kids, or end up with a snake up my pants, I calmly watched the bushes, leaves & shadows for signs of the snake’s destination or return; but there was no second act. It was gone. Before I could even see the whole thing, identify it, or examine it, it had slipped away.

“Mommy, help us find the treasure.” They called me back to the small dirt pile we had been digging through. We’d found nothing more than snail shells, small rocks, more dirt, of course, and some beetles.

I smiled at my son and daughters as they grew more and more joyous over these little discoveries. I couldn’t picture a better time or place to be than here in the crisp fresh air, getting dirt in my nails and on my jeans; pondering the impending danger of an anaconda from my neighbor’s bushes; and just playing treasure hunt with the kids. I wanted to hold onto them and this moment, forever.

Life is gone in an instant; before you have a chance to weed out what you are doing wrong, or dig up a way to do it right.

Don’t let it slip away.

Originally posted March 28, 2013