by Eric Walker, guest contributor
We climbed and climbed and climbed. We ditched our shoes as soon as we began climbing the rolling mountains of sand. Then we arrived at an absolute vista of our beloved Great Lake. We were surprised. We’d never been here before. ‘Look at that, Lucan!’ I said and pointed out beyond.
After all, we just climbed the highest dune, from where we were gazing down upon, and the Great Lake was performing with waves that raced far. We were proud to contribute our climb. Lucan took a long pause. Then said, “Dad, I can see the world!”
My son just said, “Dad, I can see the world!” and the depth of that statement belted sweet and low down feelings deep into my heart.
There are some things we hear and when we REALLY hear it. That, I believe, is an important reminder of why we are in the world. That’s how I felt in that meaningful moment.
If there was a tattoo parlor set up in those dunes on that day, I would have gotten it tattooed across my shoulder blade, “Dad! I can see the world!”
Dad, I can see the world! was blowing my mind.
Lucan didn’t linger too long with the view. He was five at the time of this moment. The pitter patter of his graceful, fast moving feet that elegantly tapped the sand juxtaposed with the power of his motoring legs turning it up behind in the fore of that epic view moved me.
There were two glances to beholden: first, that of my boy, so small in a big world, so many years to go. Then at the grandeur of the view, and how fast time passes in our pursuit of all things beautiful. And, all that isn’t beautiful which we see in between.
Lucan’s tracks reminded me of our smallness in the world. It’s such a small significance. Yet with each step of his, there went the entirety of my world. There went my flesh and blood running fast enough to create his own wind. His tiny breath so alive and well and strong, pulsing into the ears of my guts and my heart.
Without him expecting to hear me, I said, “We have miles and miles to go together Lucan Frederick Walker!”
A tear arrived at my eye because of my faith to travel the miles with my boy. I also chuckled at the same time because I felt earnest about the fact that Lucan actually did see the world at our view, and he was running with determination after it.
It felt like a signature moment for us, a first of many where, together, we’d be our own truth of spirit staring into the majesty of it all. One of us would always notice. I am so proud that it was him on that day.
His words kept replaying, “Dad, I can see the world!” For a moment, I had doubts of myself.
Am I passing on the right things to him? Some things wash out in the water and some things are in the blood. Where on the balance were me and my son?
Because, with another glance at Lucan, I was reminded of a song his mother wrote, she sang, “…Why do we hold on when nothing stays, suddenly the sand changes shape underneath the relentless waves…” There have never been more true words.
I’m well aware of the impermanence of things. How we create temporary homes for what suffering creates when things come together and then fall apart. This view seems proof there’s plenty of room for that coming together and falling apart.
“Dad, I can see the world!”
I pulled my phone from my pocket before moving on to snap of a picture of this view. Then began the descent on our way down to the water. My mind was still working his moment of clarity through my imagination.
I smiled to myself, muttered, “hashtag tattoo moment” because – how cool for me – for the first time in 41 years of life, I felt compelled to get a tattoo. Like I finally knew what it should be.
Then I felt a tad cynical. Like I could have said to Lucan: Are you sure that’s not your own dizziness, son? Because I think that view is just a carving from all our vein movements toward what can’t be seen and what isn’t ever going to be known.
I finally caught up with Lucan. We marched onward together. In and out and up and down through the dunes. Then we reached the water. The waves filled the air. The wind was strong. The waves crashed hard, still in turmoil from the thunder and lightning storm the night before. It was rough out there.
My son looked to me. I loved the way he looks at me.
“Dad! I can see the world!”
And, as I took off my clothes, and leaned into the wind, I said to myself, ‘Me too Lucan. Me too!”
Then I spread my arms like the gulls that hover on the ancient air. My heart pounded wide open in my chest. I dove in.
Eric collects the small moments of life, adds thoughts and responses then declares them precious. He lives in Kalamazoo with his three children: Ella, Lucan and Ada.
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