We all say things like “Life is precious” and “Life is fleeting”.
We try to be healthy and put safety first. We try to prevent our end coming to soon and if it does, we prepare ahead. Like arranging for our loved ones to be cared for by signing up with Term Life Insurance Rate Company. We try to manage life. Time. As we should.
Today was a beautiful, sunny summer day. We went downtown to watch the boats race and treat ourselves to the best ice cream on the island. We were standing at the wharf, Little J, Big M and I admiring hundreds of sailboats passing by. The town had an extra happy and festive feel to it, full of tourists. My son noticed a group of children around his age fishing on the pier, right underneath us. By our favorite spot, the pile of colorful canoes that you have seen me photograph over and over again. There must have been a dozen of them, adorable with their little fishing poles and marshmallows as bait. It looked like such a great idea for the carers to bring the group of summer campers out. I even snapped a quick photo on my phone.
Little J wanted to go and visit them and get some tips on fishing. I tied Big M up to the fence because the pier was crowded and narrow and my son and I walked down. We walked down there just yesterday. And countless times before. As we reached the pier I bend down to secure my phone in my bag. Little J was asking me why fish like marshmallows and Big M started barking like mad.
The next thing I know a lady is running down the bridge saying ‘there is one in the water’. She ran past me and jumped in the water, fully dressed with her camera still around her neck and her straw hat on her head. She pulled the boy up to the surface and we helped them back up onto the pier.
Just like that. In less then a minute a decision on that boy’s life was made. A complete stranger, who happened to look in the right direction at the right time and was kind and brave changed that boy’s life forever. We have all heard that children drown silently but until today trust me I had no idea just how silent it truly is. We stood a canoe length away, so did his teachers and all his friends. There were hundreds of tourists there close by. And none of us knew that boy swung his fishing pole too far and tipped over. NONE OF US!!
She walked away even before anyone could say thank you. Before we even managed to fully understand what had happened. Just like that.
It is easy to try to ration what, who and why. To find someone to blame and to use this as an example as to what not to do. But let’s face it, this could have been my son or yours. This could have had a different ending. Luckily this was a happy day, with a happy ending.
But until today I never really understood how precious and fleeting life really is.