The Sentinel

On a cloudy spring morning I sought to capture a few shots of the flowers that had begun to bloom at the Los Angeles Arboretum near Pasadena. My camera seemed to welcome the exercise, since I had not made any use of it for months.

After taking quite a number of shots, of the Orchids, whose unassuming beauty have always fascinated me; I walked a little ways toward a new construction that was on its way. While there and I spied an enclosed garden nearby, whose flowering hues clamored for my presence.

The garden gate, to my delight, had been inadvertently left open and I n entered to a profusion of pink, orange, red, white, yellow and pink flowering blooms; that beckoned some attention from my lenses. I hurried to catch an elusive ray of sunshine that had suddenly appeared.

Moving amid the assortment of color, my presence seemed to have annoyed a solitary child who until my entrance, looked as me, a captive to the beauty of the flowers.

The child, if I was to guess his age, was about seven or eight, four feet in stature and had black curly locks framing a pearl white face. He wore a black t-shirt with yellow writing on it over blue jeans; not unlike many of the school age children, I had seen on my morning visiting, in the company of their teachers. Dark brown eyes, silently observed my every move, as he casually leaned against a gray brick pilar in the center of the garden, hands in his pocket; he apparently evaluated the worthiness of my presence among the flowers. I venture a smile in his direction, as if to apologize for my intrusion and as an offer of friendship; almost as if I was requesting his permission to carry on with my task.

My small companion, stood unaltered by my offer; as he continued to watch me quietly as I worked.

While I passed near Terrarium, I carelessly broke one of its blooms and it fell to the ground. Sadden by my actions I sought to retrieve the broken blossom but like a sentinel, the boy hurried to my side and scooped the injured from the ground. His brown eyes pierced my back once again, to say that I had now, truly overstayed my welcome in the garden.

Having taken enough pictures of the flora and the fauna I decided to capture a few framed of the child; to have as a memento to my morning work; however, just as I got on my knees to take his picture, he instinctively turned a bit taken aback by my intentions.

“Do not take my picture” I thought he said, but my companion simply looked back at me indifferently as I snapped the pictures; neither approving nor disapproving the proceedings.

I sudden hurried feeling overtook my movements, for I became concerned that he might vanish right before my sight.

“Had I had inadvertently stumble on a secret garden?” I mused. “Have I sought to capture the picture of a fairy?” or perhaps quite by accident I had managed to stumbled upon one of the lost boy of Peter Pan’s Gang.” The thoughts plagued my senses more and more. None the less I shook off all such feelings and got some frames of the child.

I was quite in an excited state when I arrived home and I hurried to my studio to develop the pictures from that morning walk. I was anxious to see the pictures. The colors of the flowers even on such a cloudily day, where quite vibrant to say the least; a true anthem to the coming of spring and I knew for certainty, that my employers will welcome with great appreciation, the pictures and I myself looked forward to the issue they will grace. But to my surprise, as I examined each frame, none of shots taken of the child were visible to my sight. The boy did not feature in any of my frames, though I had taken at least ten of my subject.

Instead for all my labors I had only captured a picture of the gray column in the garden where the boy had been leaning on, amidst the profusion of color.

The other nine contained the image of a butterfly whose color where exactly as the boy’s attire.

An inner smile touched my lips as I recalled that there had been no butterfly earlier in the garden.

So sitting back on my chair dumbfounded; to say the least, my mind tried to reject the possibility of my adventure. I looked once again at the pictures taken in the garden, of flowers.

The ‘Sentinel’, it would seem had graciously allowed me to capture a few shots of the flowers under his charge, but he had declined to grant me one of himself.

To Haden,

M. Stephenson

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