The Teacher in the Red Stroller

On a Sunday that was no more or less amazing than any Sunday, a girl was being rolled down the street in a red stroller.

She was a year old, I’d guess. And she looked like a wishbone: legs splayed wide apart, little torso resting on top.

That little torso was leaning forward and the girl was gazing down. An open eyed, marveling gaze that you don’t see so often among adults. I couldn’t tell what she was looking at. Her stroller was basic gray metal and red cloth. There was nothing amazing under it that I could see.

As the stroller rolled closer and I looked closer, I saw that she was gazing at the earth as it passed underneath her. And it amazed her.

So there I was. Thirty years ahead of her. I could teach her about how a bill becomes a law, that public transit’s always slower on weekends, to be sure there’s a plunger in the house.

But she could teach me about how to be amazed. Which can get unlearned as we make room in our minds for all the requisites of getting by.

And amazement probably isn’t a requisite if we want to get by. But it is if we want to live.

The red stroller started to turn left up the street. For the little wishbone, it would be a new street covered with new earth to pass underneath her.

I’ve had good teachers in classrooms. But some of my best have been in cabs, supermarket lines, and now, in a red stroller.

So I said a silent thank you. And the little wishbone in the red stroller disappeared around the corner.

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