The Crystal Wisdom of Innocence


“Look what I have!” She showed me the small orange ball. “Can you open it?”

I ‘opened it’. She stood on the steps of the school porch and I sat next to her, so our faces were on a level. She ate sticky, citrus-scented sections and we talked about the things we could see.

“Do you want this?” She held out half of her orange.

I did want it. I like oranges and it smelled delightful. But I hesitated.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

She was sure. She gave it to me, and together we ate our halves.


Later, when I was gathering my things, she asked me what did I have? Oh, I had a half-empty bag of crackers. I showed it to her.

“Can I have it?” she asked.

I paused. But really, why not? I was going home and I wouldn’t starve without these few crackers.

She accepted them easily and she was munching on them when I left a few minutes later.


A little thing, these exchanges. Small amounts of food, gone in minutes; probably forgotten by her almost as soon. But she left me fascinated, this black-eyed angel-child who gave and took with equal freedom. Why is it so hard for me to do the same?

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