As a kid, I never simply asked a question. I always began my inquiry with, “I have a question.” This delighted my dad to no end and I never truly understood why until Lucy started saying, “Did you notice [insert whatever she’s noticed]?” I suppose the joy comes from the fact that kids aren’t just asking and noticing, but that they are aware that they are asking and noticing. I’ve taken to calling Lucy my little investigator because she pays attention to every single detail and then draws me in by asking if I’ve noticed it, too. Our daily walks through our tiny neighborhood never become boring for Lucy (or me) because she is constantly noticing something new: a horse in the field, a wasps nest, a hummingbird, a puddle, a flower, a flower that’s there today and wasn’t there yesterday, the caretakers new hat, whether the neighbor is speaking English or Spanish. Mother Nature keeps us on our toes, too, by constantly changing the landscape with rain, wind, bugs, and more. Just this week, we passed thru a swarm of tiny bees and only became aware of their vibrating buzz after Lucy noticed a new sound. Not to be overlooked, Teddy loves to notice things, too. He breaths in giant gulps of fresh air with the passing wind and squeals with joy when the breeze brushes through his spiky hair.
And so a trip to the beach for our weekly Lucy Tuesday outing proved to be a great opportunity for noticing. We made the short drive from home to Playa Marsella, just 7 minutes down the road. We set up shop at the southern end of the beach, under a sturdy palapa built for the residents of Bosques del Mar, a development set right behind Playa Marsella. While access thru the development is private, you can still reach the palapa by parking at the northern end of the beach and walking south. I’m not sure if we are actually welcome there or not, but no one came to ask us to leave.
Teddy and Gloria joined us for the outing and made themselves comfortable in the shade of the palapa while Lucy and I set out for the sand. For a girl born in an oceanfront surfing village, Lucy is still quite fearful of the ocean, but I suppose that a little bit of fear can instill a lot of caution which is never a bad thing. Hesitant at first, Lucy refused to join me on the hard-packed wet sand, choosing instead to stay as far from water as possible. But I eventually eased her closer to the ocean with the promise of shells that we would later use to finish decorating a [very gaudy, but made with love] flower pot. Before she knew it, I had Lucy heading for the small tide pools among the rocks at the southern tip of the beach. Positive she would freak out once she realized where we were, she completely surprised me by jumping right into the tiny swirling pools. Almost immediately, she began noticing. “Look, Mommy, hermit crabs!” “Look Mommy, bird poop!” “Mommy, did you notice these shells? They are stuck to the rocks.” “Mommy, can we climb up there so that I can see things better?” “Mommy, let’s go find a BIGGER tide pool.” “Mommy, did you notice how the water comes in and goes out?” “Mommy, mommy, mommy, did you notice…”
We stayed on the rocks, noticing, for over an hour [and 100 pictures] and returned to the shaded palapa only upon my insistence that we both needed some water and a break from the sun. After a snack of yogurt and animal crackers, Lucy set about counting, ordering, naming, washing and playing with each and every shell. “This one is my favourite, Mommy. And this one, too. Oh and I like this one because it’s lila (purple). This one is friends with this one, I think, don’t you think, Mommy?”
As Lucy set about sorting her shells, I put my camera down and simply noticed her.
“The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.”