Posts Tagged ‘leaf’

A lesson from the Wild


Today’s post is by me, Haziq’s mum. I came across this beautiful picture of a silverback gorilla contentedly sitting in a still pond covered with vegetation. There it sits seemingly oblivious to the photographer and all else. A quick glance suggests that the gorilla is merely looking at a leaf just before munching it. Perhaps. Or perhaps there’s a gentle breeze and the gorilla is enjoying a quiet moment watching the delicate leaf swaying in the breeze. This picture struck so deep within me because I have seen my son in this same quiet pose much of his toddler life. Replace the gorilla with a child and there’s Haziq, sitting calmly in the water (always calm when in water) and playing with any leaf within his reach. Oddly enough I do not recall the same fascination with flowers. Perhaps flowers are too diverse or offer too much sensory stimulation for his brain to take in.

When in the sea, leaves are replaced by seaweeds. He would run his fingers through them, loving the tactile responses and laughing to himself. I remember being upset and snatching them away and forcing him to play ball or catch or whatever the cousins were doing in the water. I did not want people looking at my son as if he was a freak. If I knew then what I know now I would have understood that collecting seaweeds and gleefully hiding fingers into the squishy mass was a form of play for him. It probably gave him a comforting sense of connection….. that his hands were somehow part of his body. I learned this from a book written by a mildly autistic woman named Donna Williams who succeeded in fighting her way out of ‘her autistic world’ into ‘their world’ – the world where reality resides. She explained that all parts of her body felt disconnected when she was autistic and knew something was different that miraculous morning because for the first time she could actually feel her legs attached to her body. She felt connected, whole. I read the book so many years ago but I remember that revelation of hers was like a stab in the heart. I walked around that day paralyzed with grief because for the very first time I understood what it was like to be him.

Enjoy the photo taken by a very inspiring National Geographic photographer, Ian Nichols. How I wish I had taken a similar photo of Haziq sitting in the water playing with his leaf. It would have offered a very interesting angle of Man vs Animal. Lastly, a quotation about animals that Haziq would surely agree on whole heartedly;

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms – George Elliot