Another Sunday filled with Life’s Simple Pleasures’
The Greatest Gifts Are Only A Connection Away
Living a life wrapped inside every moment and filled with positivity is what life is all about. Such is the case for my Sunday outings with Dante and Alyssa. Despite the ongoing negativity surrounding everyone, our hearts and heads are filled with more than enough positive energy to share with the people we meet along the way. But only if they are open and willing to accept it.
My moments of joyful anticipation begin long before we even step out of the car onto the ground beneath our feet. As I drove down the street to pick them up I spotted Dante “prepping” himself for his date with Mother Nature by jumping up and down on the sidewalk while throwing in some of his own unconventional and unconstrained acrobatics while Alyssa stood watching from the front porch steps. It was a sight that filled my heart with joy in anticipation of the time we would be spending together once again.
As usual, Alyssa filled her backpack with enough snacks and water to last until the end of the day. This time there would be no long walk along the canal like the week before when we decided to extend our trek across the bridge that led us to Green Lakes State Park. (You can read about that one in a previous post Dante and Alyssa).
With our minds fresh with the memories from the week before, we set out to have another great adventure of positive reinforcement. This time we had one thing in mind; to walk the entire trail that looped around the lake, and from the moment I stepped into the canopy of Mother Earth, I was mesmerized by the depths of her sheer beauty that surrounded us. It was obvious that Dante and Alyssa were as engaged as well. They were both at peace in the grips of the magic of Mother Nature and her enviable beauty. Along with the gentle breeze sweeping across the aquamarine water, the sun peeking through the density of the trees leaving shadows of flora and fauna, and the lure of Mother Nature’s boundless hidden treasures and earthworks; more importantly, we had each other.
The paths were filled with families with many well-behaved children and pets while we also witnessed an occasional display of someone going against park rules and procedures. But most of all, the most fun for Alyssa and I was watching the pure joy of Dante’s connection with the natural world that embraced his whole being, and the symphony of the unrehearsed gyrations that caught the eyes of the unsuspecting spectators we met along the way. When people are feeling comfortable and willing to stop and make a connection with him, they are often comforted by his friendliness and concern for others; particularly when he sees someone with a physical disability. This day was no exception.
While strolling along the beachfront he stood in front of a group of people, two older women were sitting on a bench facing the water, and a few others appeared to be family members. In his usual harmless way, he began to wave at the two women on the bench, who were immediately drawn to him. I watched as the other people standing around them at first seemed to be a little curious as to what was going on. As I explained this gift of connection that he was trying to bestow upon them, they became very engaged as to what was actually taking place. They all seemed a little disappointed when we suggested that we should move on. We exchanged positive sentiments and we headed to the parking lot.
A little farther on, he caught sight of a young woman, who was sitting in a folding chair. To him, she appeared to be confined to a wheelchair. At first glance, even I could see how he could have mistaken a substantially solid folding chair for a hospital transport chair. We watched closely while she and her parents seemed to be unconcerned with his unusual compassion while pointing to her feet, asking her how she got like that. I explained to her and her parents that he was on the spectrum and that it was not unlikely that he would show that type of unrestrained spontaneous concern for a stranger. He only wants what’s best for others and in doing so eases their pain and brings joy to his soul. They asked if Alyssa was his sister and I acknowledged that she was indeed his sister, and one to be very proud of. I had an opportunity to share all of the wonderful things she does, not only for her brother but for whomever she meets.
We headed back to the car and along the way, we decided that we would return as often as we could. Hopefully the next time Bianca will come along to show us the path that leads to the smaller lake that sits in another corner of this ancient wooded wonderland. A place that could only have been created by something so powerful, so mysterious, and so benevolent, that it has to exist beyond the limits of human understanding and our wildest imaginations.
In a few weeks, autumn will begin to fall upon us when once again we will return to that magical wonderland filled with an astounding kaleidoscope of colors and undeniable smells of one’s favorite season.
Autism like other disabilities, must be brought to the attention of every American; not only by articles and books written on the subjects but by mindful participation in their daily lives. People with disabilities are usually “eager” to get to know us, and we need to respond to that with that same eagerness when we want to get to know a newborn baby. When that happens, there’s a connection and bond so powerful that it can never be pulled apart.
Oh yes, we stopped on the way back to our favorite ice cream haven and finished the day enjoying each other’s company while sitting on the front porch “watching the Fords go by.” A phrase coined by my mother.
Blessings my dear friends,