There’s a town called Celebration, just outside of Orlando.
It’s a traditional neighborhood, designed by the Walt Disney Company, with carefully planned parks, shops, restaurants and homes.
Last weekend, my sister and I were at Celebration’s Columbia Restaurant for hot Cuban bread and their famous 1905 salad. Their patio is a perfect spot to dine outside in view of the interactive fountain in the town center with streams of water that rest and gush at timed intervals.
We barely touch a fork to our salads before my nephew Nathan and my niece Devon are asking when we’re going to the fountain. They think they have the fountain figured out.
Nathan asks if he can run through it with his shoes on. He thinks he can avoid getting soaked by the tall water columns.
Devon takes off her sandals but stands just outside the water jets, not wanting to get wet.
It’s calm for a few minutes and then the water suddenly appears. A small spurt at first, that quickly bursts into a rushing gush of water.
Nathan stands right in the middle of the fountain, calculating, then plans his mad dash in and out of the water streams. He gets splashed here and there, but for the most part, he avoids the full force and is relatively dry.
Standing at the edge of the fountain, Devon squeals to Nathan to come run with her. He ignores her for awhile, then finally comes over and grabs her hand to lead her through the maze of spurting water.
She screams and comes running back, afraid of getting caught in the middle with water streams all around her.
I think both of them have the right idea.
Sometimes standing under the fountain is okay.
When I want to rush ahead in all directions, when I want to give my side of the story to all who will listen, when I want to speak a stream of words that may be better left unsaid, maybe what I should do is wait.
And stand still in the cool stream of water.
But sometimes it’s better to sidestep the coming waters, too.
To dodge and duck. Weave in and out. Escape the deluge. Steer clear of the rush of events and circumstances and mini-dramas that threaten to flood my day.
At the end of the night, Nathan takes one too many chances and is soaked by the fountain.
But Devon wants to stay dry. As she races toward us, she yells, “I did it! I didn’t get wet!”
And I realize it’s a celebration for both of them.
Nathan doesn’t mind getting wet to play mind games with the water. He thinks he had fun. And he’s drenched.
Devon ends up with a few splashes on her dress, but is glad she didn’t get doused. She’s happy.
And my sister and I are celebrating, too.
Dinner on a breezy, sparkling patio with bubbling fountains and giggles and gushes of laughter.
Celebration is always a good place to celebrate our lives.