You sneak up on him every year, gently shaking him out of his winter slumber with luscious greens below and bright blue skies above. You smell like heavy, wet dirt; he inhales you deep within his lungs and remembers…
The boy is but a toddler then, and every Sunday they go on an adventure across town to the little patch of trees that borders the community baseball field. They put on their sunglasses, hats, boots and windbreakers and pretend it’s the jungle with alligators and huge colorful birds. The little stream is a huge river, and insects crawling on the ground are poisonous snakes, ready to bite. Squirrels turn into monkeys jumping from tree to tree.
They step cautiously on the path, the old man and the boy, feeling somewhat protected by their boots, and whisper to each other, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. Each flower is another poisonous plant, or the bearer of a healing potion. Each sound carries a tale with the good, and the bad, and then the very ugly. When the silence gets heavy, the boy digs his hand hard into his grandpa’s, and his flushed little face reveals his pounding heart.
They hop on three stones to cross the little stream and look intently to catch the alligator that lives down there. They never saw it yet, but it could show up at any moment. The squirrels squeal and make him jump. But he regains control and tip-toes all the way to the outside of the jungle into the sunshine. Right across, the baseball players are practicing, and life goes on as if the jungle did not exist. But he knows better. He shakes his wet, heavy boots, takes a deep breath and smiles. Conquered once more.
They walk past the field and cross the street quietly, not wanting to let go of the magic that just happened. “Can we go in today?” he asks every single time.
“I think that we deserve it, don’t you think?” he answers every time. Their steps speed up a bit, and then they turn the corner. The Dairy Queen awaits. And his smile tells it all.
Many years have gone by, and the toddler’s body lay cold in the ground. But when you come around, the old man smiles and remembers. And you remind him deep within his heart that for one more year, the real jungle of life has been conquered, and he is still alive. And Life awaits him. And his smile tells it all.
Thank you for all that you are to us,
Cultivating Thankfulness with Ann
#557 Mastering my first pull-up
#558 The anticipation of no-alarm tomorrow morning
Sometimes, I link up with any or all of these wonderful writers: Hearts 4 Home, SDG, Hearts Reflected, WLW, EOA, Things I can’t say, Growing Home, Play Dates with God, Monday Musings, Hear it on Sunday, Inspire Me Monday, Tell me a Story, The Better Mom, a Mama’s Story, Into the Word, In and Around Mondays,OYHT, Gratituesday, Titus2Tuesdays, Extraordinay, Lessons from Ivy, Denise in Bloom, Sweet Blessings, Faith Filled Friday, Finding Joy, WholeHearted Home, Mom’s the Word,