I walked today with a little girl. I walked today with my god-daughter Holly. I walked today in the rain with a three-year old and it was slow and languid and amazing.
We walked a little less than the half mile to her tumbling class; she with blond curls, and a polka-dotted rain coat and me dark-haired and straight in my blue parka. We held hands. We barked like dogs to make ourselves run faster to cross the very big streets. We talked about school and painting and if her baby sister could walk and how cool it was that she at three could do so much. We saw dogs, we saw street vendors selling fruit and we took small steps. I never for a second wished anything would go more quickly.
As we talked, why was the most constant refrain, but there were also shared ideas about books we were reading or how her sister was growing and why we should bark to make ourselves go faster to not be bumped by cars. We both agreed that would hurt.
At tumbling Holly climbed ropes and forward rolled down a big blue mat. She jumped on a trampoline and waited her turn in foot prints painted just so you could wait in the proper place. There were two other little kids there, boys both, and the level of work and play was considerable.
When class was over we retraced our steps wandering, barking and talking our way back to her apartment. There is a singlemindedness to being with small children and it, at least for me, is a kind of meditation. I cannot multi-task. I cannot wheedle to make things go more swiftly. The walk takes as long as short squat legs will deliver it. And this needs to be a mantra for me as well. Some things are slow. Some things cannot be delivered in a flurry of speed, and a walk is one of those things for me.