You are not beautiful, my child, and yet your dress is like a vase holding the bright flower of your face and your eyes are elfin lakes -- pine-shadowed, inviting. So gentle always with all living things, your fingers never crush an insect's wings or clutch a kitten tightly till it scratches, struggling to escape. You bring home caterpillars and feed them milkweed leaves. . . . then wait for butterflies. You count the stars. You used to tease me, saying (in July): ``It's snowing, Gram, it's snowing!'' And I'd look out the window in surprise and laugh and say: ``You're teasing me.'' And once, when I returned from a long absence, your eyes embraced me with such welcoming love that word and hug were quite superfluous.