-Buenos dias Amelie, are you going outside already?
-Yes, I do think so.
I know better than to ask her to wear shoes, still my motherly brain looks a bit disapprovingly at her bare feet. She takes notice and decides to appease my heart by wearing her merino shawl instead. Perhaps a smart choice, as the morning is still quite not settled in.
-Where are you going Amelie?
-Outside. Where else? I need to see the trees with the sun cast through the tops, and I like to get my toes wet with the dew from the morning fairies.
Amelie feels more herself outside. I am not sure this is due entirely to her wild nature or her young age, maybe both. I have tried to take many photos of her escapades into the play room, of her playing with my girls or pushing Eva in a wagon, however she denies me the chance. She says that if I want to take her picture, it must be outside. And I agree only because her expression changes, she is more at peace, her face has a very relaxed expression, she looks happier.
-Do you know what I will be when I grow up? she asks me with a very tender voice and almost a twinkle in those embroidered eyes. No Amelie, I am not sure, I reply. What do you want to be when you grow up? I ask.
-I want to be a shepherdess. But not of animals, although that would be very nice, perhaps some stuffed ones. Do you think my Mom and my sister and my cousin would get me a menagerie to take care of? Anyways, I digress. I want to be shepherdess of trees. I want to take care of them, and sing them songs. I will learn to play the harmonica or even better, the harp. And I will sing them songs of long ago, and make the bugs living in them be happier and fuller and so they won't eat as much of the leaves or fruit anymore. My trees will grow very old, and become full of beards and moss and nooks and crannies and they will never die. Or maybe they will come back to life, like an olive tree, that after a hundred years goes dormant but comes back again. Yes, I think that is what I want to be one day. Do you think I can learn to be a shepherdess of trees? A barefoot one?
Oh Amelie, I do believe there is something like that, albeit I don't know where to find one. In a book I read a long time ago, there were creatures called ents, and they took care of big forests. You are such a smart little thing, I am sure you will manage with a few fruit trees, won't you? Or do you want to walk around the littered forest floor, with those tootsies of yours, talking to the tall trees? Bugs or stings don't seem to bother you, maybe they do but you pay no notice. Perhaps you have one of those big hearts, that looks kindly upon nature and so in return nature loves you back. But I digress, just like you, I will have to tell your mom to start reading about ents and where can you learn their ancient ways.
She lies down on the grass, and stares at the sky. The sun shines through the tree tops and the grass is wet from the work of the sunrise fairies. Amelie is as happy as you can be, dreaming of being a barefoot shepherdess and of taking care of her beloved trees. I sneak out of the garden and let her lie there, absorbing the energy of the young day, being alone with her thoughts, dreaming of her future. Such are the pleasures of a young heart.