Today is Veteran's Day. K had the day off so we headed to a beautiful state park to enjoy the sunny 72 degree weather and fall leaves. We stopped at Subway to pick up lunch in a quite rural part of Georgia, that I often have said I feel nervous walking around while brown. Subway was offering free subs to people in the military. K is in the military. He asked for the six inch sub. I waited for the raised eyebrow, the you? really? The demand for proof (which K did have). But instead, they smiled, handed him a sub free of charge and asked us to have a nice day. At the park entrance, a very southern man with a very southern lilt in his voice didn't bat an eye before giving us a discount when we told him we were military. Do you want to see my identification? K asked. He shrugged. He believed us. I thought they'd assume we're undocumented much less claiming to be part of the military, but they did no such thing. It was me who had assumed incorrectly. I am grateful and humbled to learn an important lesson on making assumptions. [Updated to add that it saddens me there was controversy over go.ogle's Veteran's Day logo to appear 'Muslim' and the outrage it inspired in others- it makes moments like the one I experienced today of quiet mutual respect in a small southern town doubly beautiful]
An imperfect attempt to capture a perfect fall tree.
And that fall? The fall is spectacular- shocks of yellow, red, and orange. Its God's yearly art exhibit and though this former Floridian has now witnessed many such autumn leaves, the awe and wonder does not cease. We hiked up to the waterfall and as we stood feeling the gentle mist coat our faces a little ladybug flew on to Waleed's shirt. I'm not sure if ladybugs are lucky as the legends say, but it made me smile to see one flutter and land gently on his shirt. I've been to this park more times than I can count- but this was my first time with Waleed. Watching him take everything in, his lips parted in wonder made me see everything with new eyes. In truth, my life itself is experienced with new eyes ever since he entered it.
Watching the foliage and waterfall
On our way home we drove past a green field, rich and vibrant, with a backdrop of a hundred trees bursting with orange, yellow, and red foliage. Thats a great picture, K said. I found his choice of words interesting. I love my camera- but its a balancing act not to make it all about the pictures. As wonderful as it is to see the world through a camera lens and save the moment for years to come, its important not to forget to live that moment too. Sometimes I think I take so many pictures of Waleed because I know that babyhood is fleeting so I'm stocking up like the grasshopper readying for the winter, gathering a huge stack of photos to look at once he's older and grown and these are all I have. Still, I'm grateful for the camera, and grateful that it can give me moments, such as his precious chubby baby feet that I can look back at and treasure forever.