Today I braved hours of traffic getting out of Dhaka so as to spend a few days at a small project site out in the countryside. After another relentlessly hot day, my colleague and I decided to celebrate the cool of the evening with a sweet tea bought from a battered roadside stall.
In a village with only three (tonight four) ‘bideshis’ or foreigners, it is not hard to strike up conversation!
At the stall we met a winsome little boy who was hanging around watching the men play chess on battered wooden benches. He had not gone home for his dinner because he was too frightened for fear of the ghosts that might be sliding through the rising dark.
We decided to walk him home and dutifully offered protection him from any creepy creatures that be lurking along the way. I smiled indulgently at his worries, all the while inwards feeling a little uneasy at leaving the road and wandering off into the unknown depths of dark.
We get so good at smothering down our own fears so we can chuckle at others for theirs…
The two of us followed his small greying form away from the road, stepping carefully (I was thinking a little anxiously of snakes, spiders and all the other creepy crawlies I didn’t want to quarrel with).
Once we passed the last houses we wound are way down a raised path flanked by lush rice paddies drifting with rolls of mist. Silouettes of tress stood out like paper cut-outs strung between the breathy veils air.
The full moon lit up the night and reflected on the water, shimmering like diamonds fallen from the sky and tangled between the stalks. Fireflies flickered and danced around us as if competing with the stars for sparkle.
I am not sure I have ever seen anything so lovely. It was simply too lovely to be real and yet it was. The moment stilled us, stopped us and caught our breath despite our little friend’s persistent efforts to hurry us along.
I felt the beauty inside rather than just seeing it, as if something inside me resonate, remembered, knew.
No words could do the sight justice. No photo could catch it. It was as if the sky and the water and the fields had given us one glimpse of grace, a sight of pure beauty as a thank you for a little kindness.
I wish I could have held the moment in my hands and put it in a jar for some rainy day when I might otherwise forget to say thank you for the pulse of my life and the wide world that rolls beneath my feet.
It left me humbled but heartened to come so close to something lovely, to know that my heart can cry, fret, fuss and then, unbidden, leap.