I have to share an extra-ordinary experience I had on my trip a few days ago as I was travelling from the Island to Vancouver by Greyhound bus.
My heart swelled when I eavesdropped in a conversation between a small girl and her young mother. The child between four or five years old and the woman maybe in her later twenties or early thirties, sitting a few rows behind me, carried on a conversation and both their voices travelled easily.
From the time we left the ferry terminal and all the way into the city, the young mother pointed out all kinds of interesting things to see from the bus’s the window. For instance, how beautiful the red brick-work looked on an old building we passed and the gorgeous flowers in a well-loved garden that brightened the yard of a tumble-down older home.
I began to follow her voice and saw a huge, weirdly-shaped fig tree through her eyes that still had fruit hanging, a detail I normally wouldn’t even have noticed. With the help of this smart and observant woman both her daughter and I delighted in the sunflowers that grew taller than the hedge in order to catch the rays of the sun. The darling tot would ask questions in that delightful little-girl voice— like why were the flowers yellow. It’s not something I’d ever wondered about before but I found myself waiting with anticipation for her mother’s answer and I wasn’t disappointed. Without a moment’s hesitation, she said, “They’re called Sunflowers. So therefore they have to be yellow, right?”
I found myself nodding happily and thinking... of course! And the child laughed with glee and said. “Right!”
Both her daughter and I were entranced with each new feature of nature or beauty this woman noticed and pointed out. I must admit to wearing a silly smile through this whole trip where I enjoyed the running commentary.
The only time I had to hide my face and wipe my cheeks was when she told her baby, (I'm writing this verbatim since by this time I was making notes) “The world is so beautiful. If you look close, you’ll see it everywhere. There’s bad—but the good is so much bigger and better.”
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but think of how fortunate that angel was to have such a smart, giving and darling mom. She wasn’t spending her time with her cell phone as her main focus. Not once did she stop interacting with her daughter. Opening her own eyes, she saw the beauty in the world and shared it. What a fortunate little girl!
I have to admit that not only did I eavesdrop, I also made notes. In my heart I knew one day that child and her mother would appear in one of my books.
Do you also find characters for your books from personal experiences?
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