One Wish

As in Augusts past, I’m enjoying Susannah Conway’s “August Break” photo challenge.  Today’s prompt was “One Wish” and I woke up thinking that I have so much of what I once wished for, for which I’m very grateful.  But as for a personal wish to photograph today, I’d just have to keep my wishful eyes open.

I had a small act of service to complete before noon.  I’d volunteered to buy and deliver groceries to a summer camp for refugee children near Lake Merritt. I loaded up the requested bags of fruit and pasta makings and headed for downtown Oakland.  I hadn’t been to that particular location for years–not since my own children were young and taking boating lessons.  There was some lag time between my arrival and the refugee children and so I watched other children take off in sailboats, kayaks and paddleboats.

They looked like they were having so much fun doing boating activities that I don’t really know how to do. (I grew up waterskiing in Idaho, but that’s about it.) I wished that I knew how to paddle about in a kayak or maneuver a sail to get where I wanted to go. And then I thought that I could still take lessons to do either.  But almost immediately realized that I didn’t really want to LEARN how to do those things.  I just wish I KNEW how to do them.

Perhaps the children I provided lunch for today feel the same.  When I met up with them they asked me where I live? (Oakland, but before that a potato farm in Idaho.) Did I speak another language? (A wee bit of German, badly.) And had I seen any animals that day? (The geese nearby and the deer in my front yard.) The camp director was anxious to continue with their schedule and so there was no time to ask them where they came from, what languages they spoke and what animals had they seen that day (and were they different than animals they would have seen in their home countries?)

They seemed engaged and excited to be gathered by a manmade lake in the middle of downtown Oakland on a foggy August morning. But I wondered if they, too, sometimes wished they KNEW it all without having to learn everything anew.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful August.


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Kathryn Pritchett

writes about Things Elemental — where we find shelter, why we connect, what sustains us and how we strut our stuff.