Under the Open Sky: Let Your Eyes Light Up

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
I was watching Oprah one afternoon (stop groaning, men, and read on) when her guest, Ms. Angelou, asked the audience, “Do your eyes light up when your child enters the room?”
Her simple question stopped my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
I wondered: do my eyes light up? And if not, why not?
My two-year-old grandson lights up like a Christmas tree every time someone new enters the room.

When do we lose that joyous peek-a-boo look of welcome? Is it because we’re too busy, too distracted, or do we just not care as much about those small moments? Are we too grown up to bother?
I spent three days with my grandson this week while his mom and dad took a trip to the ocean. (Stop groaning, people, and read on. I promise not to tell you the many reasons why my grandchild is superior to every other grandchild in the universe … even though he surely is.)

Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle. A young Red-breasted Sapsucker and a juvenile Violet-green Swallow play peek-a-boo around a tall pole. To see more photos from this interspecies interaction, visit to my website, almostdailynew.com.

My little grandson taught me a lot while he was in my care.
He taught me to remember that there is fear, as well as the happiness, in new discoveries. He reminded me how wonderful it feels to throw my arms wide and shout with joy whenever I see something that needs celebrating. He showed me that patience and study are key factors to enjoying nature.
We crept up on spiders and watched them with part fear and part awe. We waved at men and women driving huge machinery through fields, wishing they would stop and give us a ride on their great orange beasts. And we spent long minutes sitting in the grass, just looking about us, seeing what there was to see.

Kim Mason / For The Chronicle. A pair of juvenile Red-breasted Sapsuckers (the second sapsucker is playing peek-a-boo from behind the branches) playing in a walnut tree.

I would get bored, turn my attention away, and start to get up and leave. My grandson would look up at me, his brow furrowed, and he would command, “Sit!” as if I was a dog.
I sat. Every time.
And my eyes would light up as I looked at him.
I think it makes God happy when we refuse to act like grownups and allow shouts of joy escape our lips as we watch a beautiful sunset. I think a flower appreciates our admiration and care. I believe birds invite us to play and sing as they do.
When was the last time you went outside to greet nature and your eyes lit up?

Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer and photojournalist. Visit her website The (Almost) Daily News (almostdailynews.com), find her on Facebook (Kimberly Mason — The Chronicle), call 269-5017 or email kim@almostdailynews.com.