Sunday, February 22, 2009


WALKING WITH A CHILD

From the PLM archives, February 2004

When you go for a walk with a child, as I do so often with Kaya when she comes to visit (it's a crime to keep new legs indoors all day in a house in the country, to say nothing of legs that have some mileage) it is best to let the child lead, because then you are reminded - in case you had forgotten - of all the yearning and learning and true adventure there is in every single minute of life.

Seeds, weeds, roads, where did the berries go, holding pods, who made this path, what is the frost, where are the deer, if there are rabbits why can't we see them and what kind of trees are those, when do the acorns fall and what is that, sensing wild beasts large and small out there unseen but living and moving - how stirring and inspiriting it all is in truth, with a nice little bit of trepidation - and if you are paying attention in any real way, and not merely serving as an accompanying corporeal presence (perhaps, heaven forbid, an authoritarian representative of some kind) you must drop everything you've got going on way up there in the heady heights and come down to where the adventure is, return for a time to the child you once were (perhaps sadly orphaned all these decades).

When you go for a walk with a child you'd best not be all tenterhooked with expectation and directed with direction, because with a child in the lead, or even in tow, you never know the turnings you'll take (children can turn on an atom at any level) or where your twofold path will lead. That's another gift children give, in recalling to you the true grace of realworld paths: that they can lead anywhere, a grace so easy to forget after years of advance on cut-to-the-chasedly optimized career etc. paths, with their cradle-to-grave governmental perspective.

That is the very same amnesia by which you may have forgotten that you too were once able to go wherever you pleased, a privilege you now realize, with a pang of some proportion, was a valuable privilege indeed: however could you have given that up, you might ask yourself, among the many other questions you haven't asked in a long while, perhaps even never before. And maybe as a result you'll hear the answers you've always carried inside, until before too long wherever you go it is as though you are walking with a child.

The way I try to walk when Kaya isn't here.

3 comments:

Delwyn said...

This is a lovely post - beautifully written, and as I love Japan I tried to imagine your walk.
Thank you for taking me with you today.
Delwyn

Bob Brady said...

Glad you could come along.

Viver said...

...beautiful...