“Hither and thither through the meadows he rambled busily, along the hedgerows, across the copses, finding everywhere birds building, flowers budding, leaves thrusting “
My early morning run took me through Rocky Point Park, a tranquil, empty space brimming with budding trees and tulips in full bloom, shared only by a dog walker, a strolling couple, and a fisherman launching his small boat.
” nothing,- absolutely – nothing, is half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats” I mused as I turned at the end of the pier
Suddenly, the tyke came thundering towards me on his scooter, tiny leg pumping furiously to propel it at breakneck speed.
“As if in a dream, all sense of right and wrong, all fear of obvious consequences, seemed temporarily suspended. He increased his pace, and as the car devoured the street and leapt forth on the high road through the open country,”
I smiled, then glanced around. The young speed demon was far too young to be out unattended, but the path behind him was empty. Had he made good an escape from his custodians? I slowed my pace, partly to avoid the careening scooter, but mostly to ensure there was some passing adult oversight of his adventure.
“— the terror, the traffic-queller, the Lord of the lone trail, before whom all must give way or be smitten into nothingness and everlasting night–“
A long minute passed, and I turned to keep the young Lord of the lone trail in sight. Then at last I spotted her- loping over the bridge, head on a swivel, body tense with worry. There was no doubt who she was frantically looking for. I waved broadly to catch her attention, then pointed down the path towards the tiny retreating figure.
By the time she passed me she was laughing, the tension drained away,she had her quarry in plain sight and was closing the distance rapidly. We high fived, and I resumed my run, pausing again briefly at the edge of the wood to watch the reunion, before slipping into the forest .
I couldn’t suppress a chuckle as a I thought to myself – ” well, aren’t you just a poor man’s version of the Piper at the Gates of Dawn this morning !” . It was indeed a Wind in the Willows kind of morning, -a glorious spring day, full of life and promise.
“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.”
And as I ran on I could swear I heard the soft notes of a song wafting on the breeze:
“Lest the awe should dwell—And turn your frolic to fret—
You shall look on my power at the helping hour—But then you shall forget!
‘Lest limbs be reddened and rent—I spring the trap that is set
-As I loose the snare you may glimpse me there—For surely you shall forget!
Helper and healer, I cheer—Small waifs in the woodland wet—
Strays I find in it, wounds I bind in it—Bidding them all forget”
( excerpts from The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame )