We are taught that “putting aside childish things” is the essence of maturity.

What a sad loss, because it is our ‘child eyes and ears’ that perceive the abundant miracles around us every day, an instant infusion of joy just for the sensing.

If you permit yourself to even imagine what a conversation with your animal friends or favorite plants or a tree that graces your neighborhood might sound and feel like, I would be willing to bet it would change your day. Most people who share their homes with animals would attest to this quite easily.

But let’s say you have goldfish, as I do. Meet Paris, named for her jaunty red beret, and Tango, bright orange, flashy and bold. Here is how my morning might begin:

“Good Morning!!!” I always greet them before I feed them and make my voice very cheery.

“Morning, Paris! Morning Tango! I’m very happy to see you!”

Actually, it’s easy to sound cheery because I love them.

“Hi hi, Hi hi!” they say with equally cheery voices as they swim close to the glass to look at my face. They really DO seem to gaze at me, so I ask…

“What do you see when you look at me?”

“Eyes, I see your eyes” says Tango. “

Yes, eyes! I do too” Paris is quick to chime in.

“But…” she hesitates.

“But what?” I encourage.

“What’s all that yellow stuff around your face?”

I find this pretty funny but I don’t want to laugh and embarrass her.

“Ohhhh. That’s my hair!”

“Not everybody looks like that,” Tango observes.

“No they don’t.”

Now I‘m really impressed.

“People have different colored hair…and different colored skin, just like fish do.”

“Ohhh, that’s nice” they smile.

“Yes it is!” I agree.

They’re quiet for awhile and I can tell Tango is restless.

“What’s up, Tango?” “…Could you please feed us now?”

“Ohhh I’m so sorry I almost forgot!…here you go.” The small food pellets drift too quickly to the bottom. Paris’ eyes are further apart and she doesn’t see them quite as easily as Tango does… But she’s very good at foraging once they hit the bottom. They really are super cute and remind me of little kids on an Easter egg hunt!

“I found one!!”

“Me too! I found three!”

“Here’s another one… I got it”

“NO, I got it, that’s mine!”

“Ok, I’ll see you guys later” I laugh… “I Love you!”

“Luv you too” they sing, and dart back to their search.

“…very much” Paris adds. …just like little kids.

I have to say, it’s a wonderful start to any day. Have you noticed, that tucked away in and around the barrage of political bombshells that have claimed the news headlines and sidelines for the last year, there have also been an unusual number of stories about animals… their intelligence, their emotions, the ways they help us, the unenlightened ideas we’ve fostered about them, how we can save them, how they can save us. You name it. I’d like to take that as a very encouraging sign.

Wouldn’t you?