A World Filled with Magic and Beauty

To Soraya the world was filled with magic and beauty. Soraya was keenly aware of everything, and seemed in a hurry to experience as much as possible. She liked the things of the world so much that she had to collect them. Like rocks, wherever she went, grocery store, library, or park she found a rock she had to bring home. She also found lots of fossils, and once spent two hours scratching out a fossil from the dinosaur dig at the Children’s Museum.

She was fascinated with bugs so she collected insects: live ones she later released and insect parts, like wings, antennae, and locust shells. She loved earthworms and slugs and each time it rained hard, she would rush outside to rescue the worms from the puddles, placing them back on the grass with words of encouragement. She also loved the coral reef creatures, fish, and plants; one of her first words was anemone, so of course she collected sea shells. Both summer and fall she collected leaves, as well as whatever else fell from the trees. Once we drove to a park to look for leaves, and we spotted a large tree branch that had blown down, draped in golden leaves. It had just started to rain so I told Soraya to jump out of the car to grab a few. Before I realized it, she had stuffed the entire branch into the car, completely filling it. I couldn’t see her but I could hear her laughter, and the branch stayed on our patio all winter.

Her pockets, buckets, baskets, bags and boxes were filled with tree parts a large piece of bark, a strip of moss, spinner seeds, nuts, and acorn hats. Once, a bucket of prized nuts sat in a sunny window too long, it was accidentally tipped over and hundreds of “cute little worms” crawled around the living room floor.

Seeds were treated as treasures. Soraya was always busy planting the seeds she found outside and the ones from her food; apples, peaches, green peppers, and the popcorn kernel I told her would never grow but it did. Discovery of a large seed pod was cause for celebration. She would gently open it, release the fluffies and with great delight watched as they floated away, lingering until she could no longer see them. One time when the rain chased us from the park, Soraya found a seed pod on the way to the car. She couldn’t wait until later to open it, so she opened it in the car. The air conditioner swirled the fluffies around like snowflakes, and being damp from the rain most of them stuck to us… so much laughter.

Soraya had an artist’s passion for produce and she had to experience every aspect of it – the colors, the textures, the smells and of course, the tastes – such excitement. She liked to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables and she also liked to collect them, especially root vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots. She kept one sweet potato that was shaped like a duck for two months.

Soraya seemed to have a special connection to pumpkins. When she was just twenty months old, she watched as her mommy carved the jack-o-lantern. Soraya thought her mommy was killing the pumpkin so the first incision of the knife brought horrified screams and when her mom pulled out the pumpkin guts, Soraya turned ashen and looked like she might faint. The annual pumpkin gathering became an event. Last year she had twenty eight pumpkins and squash sitting on the patio – none of them carved, Soraya couldn’t bear the thought of it.

Objects, plants, bugs, animals all had emotions and personalities. Once when her balloon popped, she began to cry, so I told her there was no reason to cry, it wasn’t the end of the world but Soraya sobbed, “For the balloon it was.”

She had hundreds of stuffed animals, mostly bears, to fill with her abundance of love. She knew each one and who had given it to her.

To Soraya, everything was a fresh experience, another cause for examination and exuberance. Things, experiences, and people were treated as individuals – needing close study and appreciation. She didn’t want just a pile of rocks, she wanted THIS, rock and THAT rock and O,THAT rock.

What Soraya collected most of all were hearts, and just like her stuffed animals, she knew who gave her each one and just how to hold it with love.

Shooting stars, rainbows, and a s single rose, hummingbirds – these arrive with such magic and beauty that we feel privileged to experience them, yet they disappear so quickly that we question if we have actually seen them. So too, with Soraya, with all her loveliness, laughter, and openness to the world’s beauty, she has gone from us before the “OH, WOW!” has barely escaped from our lips.

These words are from Grandma Patsy who spent a lot of time with Soraya. “We all love and miss Soraya dearly but even though she has left this world too soon, only nine years old, her vibes still linger on….”