I was in Kansas City, Missouri on Friday, several states away from the cold and gloom of the northern Midwest. I was there for a conference that turned out to be inspiring and exhilarating, a chance to network and score free coffee. The days were 80 degree ones, full of green and sun and the smell of hot tarmac. Several of us left the conference center for an exploratory walk through a park and down busy streets, into a beautiful old train station that held the sunlight and reflected it from marble floor to gilded ceiling. I felt as if I was in a sacred space, the echoes of hellos and goodbyes murmuring from the walls.
We ate lunch in a square full of families and white tables covered with umbrellas. I leaned back, weightless as a balloon without the heavy drag of a coat. Warm breezes playfully lifted my skirt and for several minutes, I think I entered heaven on a Kansas City afternoon. The day would have been perfect with all of that, but an announcement filled the courtyard and kids of all sizes scampered to a nearby fountain in the square. Adults everywhere turned expectantly and we waited. Soon enough, an unseen symphony started its opening notes and suddenly the fountain came to life, plumes of water dancing and sashaying around in time to the music. Like children, the jets of water skipped and leaped, as if they were drunk on the playful music and the spring sunshine. The strings hit their crescendo and the water rose higher and higher until it came crashing down, the children squealing and shrieking as the water darted out to touch them. My group all sat and watched this beautiful thing we had stumbled upon and I felt dizzy with gladness to be alive, here in Kansas City with warm rays of sun cloaking my arms, surrounded by friends and beauty, music and water. What an opportunity, what a gift to be able to live to see such things. How lucky to be able to bear witness to the fact that whimsy still exists in this world and that we are all prepared to put down our lunches to enjoy it.