Last week we had just such a day - I knew that the down town library had a zoo demonstration and I made that event the center of our day, planning everything else around it. As the 2:00 start time drew nearer we loaded up the car and began to make our way downtown, without recognizing a fatal flaw in our plan. Our demonstration just happened to coincide in time and in location with the beginning of a huge summer event here in Salt Lake: The Utah Arts Festival. As we headed into the traffic I remembered the festival and could sense that our outing might be in jeopardy. There was simply no place to park our car, the library lot as well as most street parking being completely full with Art Festival attendees. We circled the area desperately, the minutes slipping away until I finally found a parking spot, the trouble now being that our program was starting and we had an entire arts festival between us and the children's library stopping us from getting there. There comes a point when you just have to say, "Oh Well!" And I am very proud of my children for not falling apart at the sad news of the demise of our outing.
All was not lost...(I'm realizing that I may be over dramatizing the retelling of a simple summer afternoon, but too late, I'm already started.) Even though there was no way we could make it to the animal show-and-tell, we were still standing at the entrance to the arts festival. And kids get in free. Okay, change of plans! We headed on in. As I expected, and as is the reason I usually avoid the festival, it was hot and crowded and overly bustling. Not as hot as other years, but still, you're hanging out in the sunshine. There is a great kids' area, however, and we headed straight for it. Stomper is getting a little to manly to be happy for long in the crafty area, but we spent an hour doing fun things like taking markers to the walls and furniture of a mini-living-room, making masks and monster claws and birds.
And then we headed home.
But there was this one little thing along the way - somewhere between the kids' corral and Ben's booth, just past the stand of homemade toys my kids really wanted, there was this really cool thing. Simple, yes, but it totally grabbed my heart. It was a pillar of plywood, painted in black chalkboard paint and covered all over with the saying, "Before I die I want to....." and then there was chalk left there for all of us passersby to fill in our dreams. I looked for a minute at everything people jotted down, and I could just feel the hope and craving and wishing that got left there as each writer paused there for a moment. It seemed so insignificant, just a fun activity at a fair, but power radiated from that tripod. It probably seems silly but I was moved very much to see such a collection of hope from such a collection of people all right there. I was honored to add my own wish to it.