Friday, July 15, 2011


What goes on in the mind of a child? Why is a swing so compelling, why does a mud puddle demand to be jumped in? What makes a a child kick a stone as she walks? And why-oh-why is a walky-talky so irresistible?

A walky-talky is the term my friend Chris Neiman coined over 50 years ago (age 4) for those little walls children love to walk on - so daring! - while their parents keep to the safer wide pavements.

There is one on the main road of Vasant Vihar, where I walk almost every day (it's a fallen street light pole which the electricity department hasn't bothered to pick up) and even now - age 53 - I can't stop myself from hopping on it for the seven steps of joy it gives me.

I can't believe I'm alone in this delight. But what is it? The swoop of the swing, the abandon of the mud puddle, the careful precision of the walky-talky steps - so daring, yet so safe - . . .

A red car in the distance to look at while mincing along the little wall. Or a red tail-light on a black car. . . it doesn't matter. The joy is in the steps, in the mincing. Children keep it simple. They remind us of uncomplication. They keep us pure: a swing for the freedom of being lifted in the air, weightless and unencumbered; a mud puddle for the love of mud puddles; a walky-talky to help us to remember to pay attention to our feet as they step proudly along the narrow beam, amazed at their own prowess.

Sometimes I want to start all over, to be a child again. Because that's not possible, I hang on to mud puddles and walky-talkys.


signs of Life said...

because when the mind does not question much the soul flies on swings and life is painted with mud and rain water and time is travelled in seven small steps...i do it all the time too :)

ana @ i made it so said...

a walky talky... i'll think of that term now, i know exactly what you mean. i love how children live in the moment and absorb as much as they can from each passing moment. i think it has to do with that whole thing, where the longer you live, the faster time goes. i think pausing to jump in a puddle for 5 seconds must be like us savouring a warm cup of tea for 20 minutes. something like that? i don't know, but i think we forget so much as we get older and take on the worries of an adult life. 'til (if we're lucky enough) little ones enter our lives and remind us of what life is really about.

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

signs of life, ana - wow, I love both your responses!