As I was lunching with my friend Bob at Crystal Bridges the other day, the friend who’s been struck with glioblastoma, I was struck by the beauty of a little girl at the next table. Sitting with her parents, a young Indian couple, she sported a beautiful complexion, a long braid down her back, and a lively patter.
Not being particularly shy, I went to their table and told them I admired the girl. The parents thanked me, and when I asked the girls said she was four, not three. Well, don’t be too quick about that, I suggested. You have a long time, don’t you, to be four?
We’re going to a cave this afternoon! she offered.
Art this morning at the museum, I replied, and nature this afternoon? That’s a lot to cram into one day. Slow and steady is my motto.
When the family left, evidently on the way to the cave, the girl came over to our table and high-fived me.
So here was Bob, struck with this deadly and dreadful malady. And here was milady, four years old, a beautiful little girl barely begun to grow. She will grow, of course, as Chevalier suggests of all little girls in the Lerner-Lowe song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” And we hope she will grow, and blossom, and not be blasted by too many maladies or iniquities or inequities.
And so it goes, the cycle of life and regeneration. I’ll drink to that and to what for most of us, we hope, will be a slow and glorious decline. (There are, of course, no guarantees.)