Myrna is the tousle-haired two-year old daughter of my neighbors, Jim and Jenna. This morning her hair looked even more tousled. She possibly slipped out of her home as soon as she woke up.
She was wearing a green frock and a bright yellow top and seemed to be keenly studying something in her hand.
The moment I said Hello, she turned to show me what she held in her hand. It was just a light-gray stone, a small one, almost an oversize pebble. It fitted neatly in her small palm.
I examined the stone and found nothing special about it. My face might have shown it. Myrna does not talk yet, but she pointed the stone with her little finger and wanted me to study it as well as she was doing it.
One would think she was holding Aladdin’s lamp in her hand. She reverently held the stone, gazed steadfastly at its invisible-to-me charm and even kept pointing at it repeatedly. Clearly, I was missing something.
Finally, I said to her, “Okay, let me take a close look,” and extended my open palm, signaling her to place the stone there.
A plain oval stone, slightly elongated asymmetrically, gray in color, but the shade is marginally darker on one side. Then I noticed what I thought Myrna was pointing to: a tiny blue-black spot at the stone’s edge. It was easily overlooked, but Myrna’s avid investigation had revealed it to her. I looked at the spot keenly and found it dark blue at the edge but clearly black at the center.
I was amazed. I cross the walkway in front of my home twenty times each day, but I had never observed this stone – or any stone like it. Light gray, shaded, with a blue-black spot, with a dark ebony center. Myrna could have picked up the stone only from this walkway. It had taken a two-year old to find something unique that I hadn’t noticed – probably nobody had noticed – and surprise me with her discovery.
I keep a chair in the yard in front of my home, and I sat there to examine the stone further. Myrna stood expectantly by, waiting for something interesting to happen. Somehow, as I looked at the stone, I saw it with a new set of eyes. My point of view had morphed, for now I was trying to see the stone with the curiosity of a little girl. Suddenly a simple stone had gained a new significance, almost a new glow.
Just then Jenna came running.
“Good Heavens! You are here,” she said, in a tone of relief, to the child.
Then she turned to me and said, “I just opened the front door to get the newspaper. Just a moment or two. I had no idea Myrna had slipped out. I was looking for her all over the house!”
Jenna picked up Myrna in her arms and took her home, probably for her breakfast. The stone remained with me.
I sat in my chair and turned the stone over and looked at it from every possible angle. Yes, it was just an ordinary stone, a plain gray stone, indistinguishable perhaps from ten or twenty other stones on our walkway. It had gained a special significance only because a little girl picked it up, gave it all her attention and invested it with a remarkable aura that derived only from her marvelous, innocent curiosity.
It made me think of the thousand other things, lying all around me, in the walkway, on the next street, around all sides of my home, near the garage, on my deck, to which I paid no attention, for I assumed them all to be ordinary things that merited no attention. I gave them no importance; I had no curiosity about them; I had really no interest in them.
And then came a little girl, innocently picked up a stone, gave it all her focus and made it so very special.
I wonder how many things around me, on all sides, I overlook and neglect entirely, assuming them to be of no importance, while they shine in their unique beauty, just waiting for a set of curious eyes to spot them and give them all the significance they merit.