Summer Apprentice

She flew in on wings of white feathers. Her childhood joys and toys left and behind her. Her future hopes and dreams to help her take flight. Laughter and light. A breath of fresh air and a touch of magic…all landing at my front door and safe harbor.

She – this magical sprite of a girl – was to be my summer intern. A someone who would watch..observe..learn from me. Me – being the experienced sage. She – being the novice. Me – being the teacher. She – the student..poised and ready.

Altho I can’t honestly say that I’ve come to the place in my life where I might consider myself ‘experienced’..I suppose that I am. That I actually have something to offer..has come as somewhat of a revelation. Me? When was it that I crossed the line between not-knowing..and knowing? When was it that I became old enough to be considered practiced..and no longer the one who still has so much to learn? When is it that I became a ripened professional..and not a one that is still very green? And – do  I really have anything to offer this mere child who is so eager to grow herself up and be a part of this adult world?

So many questions. How – I wondered – am I going to meet her in her time and space? How – I worried – will she meet me in mine?

A new adventure. A new chapter. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I sat in her chair..while another patiently sat here in mine? Someone who held my dreams..my hopes…my magical plans in the palms of their hands?? Wasn’t it just yesterday that it was me looking over someone else’s shoulder…soaking all of their experience in like a dry and hungry sponge???

Cautiously..slowly – we began. I’d made lists of tasks I thought she could attend to. My agenda. But – what was hers? Surely – any good teacher would take that into account as well as all else?

It’s been almost two months since she began. I’ve had to adjust how I work in my small space. Whereas I am at my best first thing in the morning..she is never quite awake. As I fade in the late of day..she comes alive. Slowly – I’d like to believe that we’ve learned to respect each other’s natural rhythms..and to know when to step in and or away.

At this age and stage of my game, the solutions to design problems come relatively easily. I’ve been doing what I do for too many years. The answers seem obvious…the options fewer and farther between. I tend to take the road that is tried and true and oh-so-familiar..instead of the one that is not. Budgets rule. Practicality. I’d almost forgotten how it is to dream. She- on the other hand -  sees thru young eyes. Possibility. And nothing much else.  Yes – she is learning from me..but I – in turn – am learning so much from she.

Under her breath I hear her occasional mumbling and grumbling about the latest quick sketch. A rough idea. A sketch that was ‘imperfect’. One that I intended for her to make ‘real’. Silently – I chuckle to myself. Oh – how I remember when those who once taught and mentored me would provide me a doodle done on the back of a lunch napkin. A quick and seemingly random thought. An unformed concept. One that I was expected to transform into something else. I’d forgotten. So much does get forgotten along life’s way.

Still – I see myself as that young girl on the precipice of adulthood. Innocent and naïve. Always seeking and searching for something more. Imagining myself  someday to be ‘this’. The wise one. The experienced. The one who has something to offer others who still have so much to learn.

How it happened that I am now in this chair..and no longer in that – is somewhat of a mystery. Days and months become years. Years become decades. And – here I am. I’ve arrived at my chosen destination…in this place..at this time.

She bows deeply in respect for her elders..for all of us women who have opened up doors. She is ready to listen..to learn…to absorb and to see. And to her – I bow even more deeply right back. For reminding me from whence and where I came..and that I am no longer there...but here and now today.