A big band was playing a lively tune at one of the last concerts of the Grampians Jazz Festival. We carried chairs to a shady spot away from the hot sun and settled in to listen.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of someone dancing with such abandon I had to turn to look. A small, blond girl twirled and swayed, dipped and turned. She threw herself completely into the joy of moving her body to the beat of the music.
I picked up my camera and began snapping photos. She saw what I was doing and ran up to me. “I like the camera,” she said. “I like to have my picture taken.” And so she did. I snapped photo after photo of a child whose dance was a perfect metaphor for joy.
I was enchanted by her complete absorption in the music, yet constant awareness of the camera. But I didn’t want her mother to worry about her interacting with a stranger so walked over to talk with her.
That’s when I knew this vibrant bundle of energy had landed in the right family. Six-year-old Isobel has parents who give her the strong foundation from which she flies. Nurturing a child so lively is bound to give those who care for her most some heart-stopping moments. When I looked in her mother Tracey’s eyes, I saw three qualities every child needs in a parent: acceptance, patience, and love. And those eyes looked at Isobel’s younger, shyer brother with the same depth of affection.
As I chatted with Tracey, Isobel invited me to drop by for a visit. She described how to find her house and how to recognize it by the verandah with the toys on it. I laughed to think how many people this trusting little soul must invite to drop by.
Meeting a child as joyous and unaffected as Isobel gives me hope. So does meeting a parent like Tracey, who gave me permission to blog about Isobel. They greet the world with friendly trust. We all stand a little taller in their presence.
Still photos just couldn’t capture Isobel’s spirited dance so I grabbed the little video camera and shot the short video below.
[Find Hall's Gap on my uencounter.me map.]