A WALKING CONVERSATION


A cold December years ago, my son Alex and I met up with my father in Zurich to celebrate Christmas. The morning after our arrival a snow fell in wistful slow motion, bringing a welcome silence to the streets. On this soft, white morning my father and son were heading out for a walk to explore the city shops. I wrapped Alex up in gloves and a hat and wished them happy shopping. Once they were gone I moved to the hotel room window to enjoy the sight of their forms leaving footprints along the white dusted sidewalk. I knew their big plan for the morning was to buy me a Christmas present (which ended up being an enormous pair of furry tiger slippers which I wore proudly through the fancy hotel's hallways). Yet the gift still feeding my heart is the sight of the two of them walking hand in hand. Alex had his own peculiar walk. One defined by his joy and excitement. He seemed to skip and leap in spasms, my father's arm being yanked around in it's socket. The two of them at times seemed to tip off balance and then right themselves again. Every now and then Alex would reach his hand out to sweep snow off the hoods of the parked cars, leaving the small finger lines of a four year old boy. Although his movements were wild and scattered, he held respect in the tip of his head, glancing now and then to make sure his speed was equal to that of his grandfather's. Beside him my father's body hunched forward to hear Alex's tales, sharing in the conversation and very much enjoying being slightly pulled about by his grandson. Although his body leaned slightly, there was no missing the pride and confidence in the steady forward movements of my fathers gait. I was sure there were occasional words of wisdom being shared, as his finger would point to something of interest. In his back and shoulders there was patience and presence. Time could stand still for a bit and that would be just fine. I felt somehow proud to be a part of this conversation from my window. As if I had just received and given something very true.

©Lucy Hamel