On our noon walk, Samantha and I encountered a mother with a son in a stroller and a little girl walking beside them. They stopped at the corner where we were going in opposite directions. The mother was engrossed in the task of adjusting a fussy and verging-on-melt-down little boy. Her little girl takes this pause as an opportunity to pet Samantha and engage me with her inquisitiveness. I am always up for questions and conversations with little children. It is most often interesting, enlivening, honest and fun. I took a good look at her. She reminded me of the painting, in a way, of The Maiden by Brian Froud from The Faeries Oracle (by Jessica Mac Beth and Illustrated by Brian Froud). At the same time there were some differences. This little maiden is a bit older, her golden locks have been fashioned into a small mullet, she is wearing colorful slipper socks instead of shoes and has little droplets of sweat on her little nose. She looks at me with an equal sort of quick visual study, and – without a word – shows me that she is surprised by my general energy and also happy about it. She gets right to the questions then:
Little Maiden: (petting Samantha, confusedly) What kind, what color is he?
Me: (I decide to sidestep the muddled question with this:) Her name is Samantha.
Little Maiden: Samantha. Mom! Her name is Samantha! (Her mother is still engrossed with the little boy in the stroller, maybe her brother…pause) Why do you have that thing on her? (pointing at the harness, obviously concerned about it.)
Me: Because she can run very, very, very fast and it keeps her safe. (I didn’t think explaining about the Italian Greyhound in her and how that factors in would help. Little Maiden is obviously hesitant about this answer…So I offer:) She doesn’t mind it. (Little Maiden is still not sure.. so I add:) At all.
Little Maiden: (Nods finally in understanding and approval.) Look at this flower I picked! It’s red!
She reveals a quite shortly cut tulip she had been hiding until now. She holds it up as close to me as she can. I lean down to see the sunlight illuminating the red.
Me: It is beautiful! It’s a tulip.
Little Maiden: It is a tulip. It is a tulip, Mom!
The mother explains apologetically and quickly that her daughter had picked it before she could do anything about it and hopes they won’t miss the one.
Little Maiden: (Quickly yet gently, changing the subject, gesturing to Samantha…) How old is she?
Me: Um…She will be 4 in June.
Little Maiden: Just like me! I will be 4.
Me: You will!? Wow! You are the same age.
Little Maiden: Mom! She will be 4 like me! (Mom is still busy)
Why are you out walking with her?
Me: This is our lunch walk.
Little Maiden’s mother is all set now and mentions to her daughter that Samantha must really appreciate the walk.
Me: Yes, she does.
Little Maiden: (mildly concerned,) Will you go home and eat after this? Will you go home?
Me: Yes, we will.
Little Maiden’s Mother says for her to say “goodbye and God bless you” to me as we part ways.
Little Maiden: Goodbye! (Pause, and we are both on opposite sides of the street now. She calls back to me:) I love you!
Me: (Cheerfully and light, with a big grin:) Goodbye!
I think I can faintly hear her mother gently telling her that I love you wasn’t maybe the best choice of words for our parting. It was surprising and delightful – having the little faery maiden in human form part with me by saying “I love you” innocently. It was the best sidewalk tarot I have had in a while. What a lovely encouragement and affirmation of my present attention on hope, joy and new beginnings. Perhaps this moment brings a brightness and smile to you as well…if it does, The Maiden probably is sending an “I love you” to you too today, encouraging you to nurture that hope, joy and new beginnings you may have brewing.