Kawakawa leaves freshen up in winter, relieved of carrying those pesky insects that perforate them all over. Kawakawa, although associated with death for Maori, always reminds me of love because of the heart-shaped leaves and healing properties.
As I went up and down the supermarket aisles yesterday, I was followed by the sound of a tiny baby crying. There she was, in a pod perched on top of her mother’s trolley, no longer reassured by her mother’s voice. By the time I reached the bread shelves, the little cry had become louder and more shrill. I could hear it right down the aisle.
My shopping was done, and I was able to make for the checkout. But I paused. The sound had become slightly irritating and I was tempted to move quickly out of range. But in winter I slow down, and pay attention to things. I walked down the long aisle to where the mother and her red-faced,wailing little one were waiting at the meat counter.
‘Is there any way I can help?’ I asked. ‘I’m used to crying babies. I have a little granddaughter.’
‘She’s hungry,’ said the mother, ‘and I’m trying to finish the shopping as quickly as I can’. ‘Well, that’s one thing I can’t help with. But would you like me to hold her?’ And this lovely trusting mother took her precious little six-week old out of the pod and handed her to me. All the baby needed was reassurance, and her cries ceased immediately. I held and rocked her while the mother attended to purchases over the counter. Then the mother took her baby, and held her close while she carried on.
What a gift, to be allowed to help. I received as much as I gave, and went away feeling tender, moved by the flow of trust and love. Maybe winter love has its own quality: soft, gentle, taking its time.