I saw a young mother with her very young baby today. The little boy snuggled into his mother’s neck and faced me with a fearless look. His deep brown eyes looked straight through me as if he knew all my recent struggles with issues to do with climate change. The family’s small picnic table was set out beautifully on the beach with delicious picnic goodies.

I asked the mother how old he was. He was a week short of completing his first year, she told me. He looked up into her face with that special look that much-loved children beam out. They were so completely relaxed with each other and delighting in each other that I was mesmerized. As I undressed under a nearby tree, preparing to go for a swim in the sea, the father returned to the group. He snuggled his face into the child’s face and the little boy laughed and giggled with pleasure.

I asked my new friend to keep an eye on my swim bag as I went in for my swim. The water had just warmed up from its cool temperatures that had everyone squealing as they entered the waves caused by the recent windy weather. As I swam out among the rocks and through the pulsing water I thought about this little boy and how he looked so trusting and content within his family.

And I thought of another little boy like this one who looked out at the world many decades before with the same kind of eyes, the eyes of an old soul. These are unflinching eyes and they presage how these children as adults will express themselves in the world. They are not the easiest of children as they blurt out their truths without compromise to the opinions of others. It’s quite startling at times to be the parents of such children as they see right into the core of life and they reflect it in a tumble of searing words.

May you go well on your path, I wished the little boy as I dried myself and prepared to go home. As I was leaving I asked the mother his name. ‘He is called Eden,’ she said.
While stuffing all the plastic I had culled from the sea into the waste bin - old bottle tops, black plastic bags and some bottles thick with algae bottles, I thought, Maybe he will be the one of the ones to help us to turn it around?