Sometimes the most enjoyable moments in life are those that are unanticipated. After drawing a “go photograph something” card from my Simple Pleasures deck, I headed off to a local park with my dog. I imagined my experience would be a peaceful, solitary walk, and was therefore disappointed when I arrived to discover that the park was hosting a soccer tournament. Hundreds of children and families, filling the grassy fields, threatened to disrupt my tranquility.
I forged on nonetheless. As my dog and I rounded a bend on a path surrounding the park’s pond, I came across four children on a mission. A soccer ball had landed in the water and, appearing to have escaped the watchful eye of their caregivers, they were determined to retrieve it. One of them hoisted a bent reed into the water, which had zero effect as the ball was floated at least ten feet from the boggy edge. Next, they began chucking good-size rocks they’d salvaged from a nearby drainage ditch into the pond, hoping to create ripples that would move the object closer to their grasp. An older child praised a younger one for the effort put into tossing a stone, only to realize the distance covered had fallen short and created an impressive mud splash. They all gathered around the youngest child, who was now speckled up and down, including their white shirt, in dark brown mud. “It’s even on your forehead” one remarked with a mixture of glee and the foreboding of a child many times scolded.
At this point, my walk took me away from their pleasant scene. I snapped my photograph a few minutes later at the other side of the pond as I wanted to respect their privacy. Somewhere off camera to the left, a soccer ball remained floated, although the breeze had brought it a tempting distance from their location. I ended my walk and left without knowing whether they succeeded in retrieving it or how much trouble their rock-tossing landed them in with their caregivers. All-in-all, I was both entertained and encouraged by the collaboration and ingenuity I observed. The kids are alright and they made me smile. What have you observed (or photographed) today that’s made you smile?