"Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now"
As twenty days are now"
My parents had just called. The Loire valley was divine and they were staying in a chateau, but that dream would just have to wait. It was mid-afternoon and my imagination was busy.
Fueled by snacks, my cousins and I finally set afoot, as the summer sun leaked through the tree-tops that reached miles up into the sky. Socks pulled high and probably toting a bag of essentials(bandaids, magnifying glass, and most likely more snacks), we ran down hill and located the brook, the estuary of our adventure, and took it to the right. We ran past the skunk cabbages, through the mud, and skipped stones, with beads of sweat appearing on our foreheads. On and on we trekked, until we reached the middle of the sticky underbrush where the brook waned, and our jaws dropped open. Tons of golden frogs were scattered on the eroded bed amongst the rocks. It was beautiful. Looking up, the daylight was dwindling, and farther from home than ever we decided to turn back.
Summers with my cousins were filled with these adventures, and the deep woods behind their house held what I was certain were the secrets of the world. We escaped back there most days together, and alternated it with trips to their pond. We built castles in the sand, and plunged into the cool waters, but what I couldn't wait to do was take to the open water.
We would strap on our life vests, grab a canoe, and lift off. Skimming the shores I'd sneak a few wild blueberries before turning the corner and ceasing paddle. The waterlilies. Reaching that part of the pond demanded silence, and drifting through the lilypads was like floating in a dream. On a good day, we'd reach down and cut one low at the stem and give it a new home in the bathroom sink, watching it open and close with the sun.
"The Waterlilies" are cinnamon-sugar cupcakes topped by an Italian meringue buttercream and scattered with waterlilies and pads. They are light like our childhood adventures, and whimsical like all the best memories of them are.
My cousins and I still look back on the "Land of the Golden Frogs" and waterlilies with wonder and awe. Did those creatures really exist? Was it as wonderful as we remembered? Our woodland adventures have been replaced with school and careers, but I can't help thinking that any such moment, the kind where you truly experience something and never look back, is what still makes life magical. Even if they're quick and fleeting, those are the instances that somehow leave you with hope.