Family: Just him and I and our shadows walking in the sunshine

The wind seems angry today, tossing a carpet of multicoloured leaves about with reckless abandon as if enjoying a kind of voiceless mirth at seeing the trees stripped naked of their gorgeous attire.

It’s cool. It’s fall. And today it feels like winter is in the air.

The calendar page of September is now turned over and it’s time for a new page.

How in the world did that happen?

It seems like only yesterday I was walking with my youngest grandchild down a sun soaked sidewalk while he told me stuff about his world and his very first day of kindergarten. He seemed very grown up and quite solemn about the new challenge that lay in front of him.

And so he talked and I listened and we both were completely happy, stopping only for a moment to examine a grasshopper, who, true to his name, soon hopped out of sight.

Quite amazed at our find, we carried on.

“Grandma, can I walk in your shadow?” he asked, dropping his voice to a conspirator’s whisper.

“Of course,” I said, noticing for the first time, (because I’m an adult and I miss stuff like shadows and grasshoppers), the huge shadows our bodies had cast on the sidewalk.

And so we continued our walk, him attempting to place his little shadow self into my bigger shadow self. Sure enough, he moved and his shadow moved and my shadow let him in. And when it happened, we both just giggled and felt, overall, quite pleased with ourselves.

And, suddenly, as I played the shadow game with my grandson, I forgot what I was supposed to remember.

I forgot about my own shadows of worry that sometimes threaten to engulf my mind as life plays hardball the way it does sometimes, dragging unwilling participants such as myself, into the game.

I forgot about the coming election and how our prime minister coloured his face 20 years ago and how that incident has suddenly zoomed to the forefront like a really good Cannon camera lens that zooms backwards.

I forgot to ponder how that issue is suddenly more important than other issues, which to me, should take precedence with people who are hell-bent on telling us why they should run our country.

I forgot about the long waits between medical tests that can relentlessly and, without pity, thrust people into the barren existence of no-man’s land.

I forgot about oil companies that can hire employees, offer them a monetary lifestyle that is far beyond the scope of ordinary folk, and then suddenly take it all away just because to them it’s all about numbers, not human beings.

I forgot about global warming (well, actually, I have never thought about global warming that much, anyway).

I forgot to be worried and I forgot to be sad.

I simply remembered that we are all given some moments in time that are simply too delicious to be devoured by thoughts of worry and fear.

And I have to say it is an honour to have someone want to walk in your shadow, especially if that someone happens to be five-years-old and your grandson.

But, honestly, for me the thing I was most grateful for, on that sun drenched afternoon, was to be in the presence of someone who could, without any effort at all, take me to another time and place where worry and fear simply did not exist.

And I know very well, as enticing as it is, we cannot stay there in a shadow world, where life is nothing more than child’s play and games.

But oh, for one sweet moment in time, it is comforting to go there with a child.

And walk with him, in his shadow.

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.

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