Tadpoles and Sunsets
When I was young, I used to play down by the river all day. I had discovered tadpoles and learned that they grew into frogs, beautiful green creatures. I would start off the morning by rolling up my pants. I would wade in the water, leaning over with my short little haircut constantly falling over my face. I would keep combing back my hair behind my ear as I didn’t want to miss any of the tadpoles swimming about.
In the afternoon, I would swim my fingers in the water and watch the tadpoles scatter. Sometimes I dipped a jar or paper cup I had packed with me into the water and would bring the little pool of the river to my face for a closer examination of these strange little things. Science! Nature! Exploration!
In the evening, the sun would begin to drop and at the end of every day, the sunset would bring out my mother who would step out from the back yard in her sandals and call me indoors: "Jade, it’s getting dark. Time to come in." I would jerk my head up. The whispy strands of my hair would fall over my face, and I would unsuccessfully try to blow them out of the way with a pouty lower lip. Time to go home already? I would shrug, wipe my muddy hands on my pants, stand up, gather any gear I had brought with me, and head towards the backyard.
Every day this happened. I woke up and walked to the river. I played and swam with the tadpoles. The sun would set, and my mother would call me in just as it started to grow dark.
I never thought about the end of the day as a kid. When I was down by the river, I didn’t dread the imminent beckoning of my mother and the goodbye I would have to give the tadpoles. When the sun was up, I only leaned over the running water thinking of how wondrous the little guys swam in the shallow of the water.
I never thought of my mother. I never worried about the dark. I did not think about how happy I was at the river, I just was. I did not think about it coming to an end, it just did.
And sometimes I think of how I felt during my childhood with the river, the sun setting, and all of the tadpoles that grew into frogs and then died one way or another after a life as beautiful green creatures, and then I realize...
I am not a child anymore, and I am well aware of sunsets.