When Piper walks to the park, she skips and dances. She frolics under cherry blossoms. She makes up songs and sings them loudly. She keeps her eye on me to make sure I’m following.
If she meets a dog along the way, she looks back for my permission. I look to the owner to see if we know them and to the dog for a sign of friendliness. If I nod, Piper crouches low and holds out her hand. She holds her body still. As much as a Piper can, anyway; stillness is not her default setting.
Meeting a dog on the way to the park is Piper’s favorite thing in the whole world. Suddenly, she’s not on a walk to the park. Piper is petting a dog.
A Piper is always on a journey. She often forgets her destination. There are cherry blossoms and dogs and songs. Maybe there is a park on the other end of the path. Maybe not, but a Piper is sure there will be an adventure.
The cherry blossoms are in full bloom in our neighborhood. They’re losing their petals fast, though, and shower us with pink snow on our walk to the park. Piper says they look like cotton candy trees. She’d like me to raise her up so she can lick one, but I won’t. A girls got to learn to climb her own tree and claim what she wants. Sorry, Piper. I will cheer you on, though, and I promise to clean up your knees if you fall.
It took Piper and I an hour and a half to walk three blocks. It was a great three blocks, though. I had the time to move at her pace, which requires the following pauses:
1. Counting all public benches.
2. Sitting on all public benches to assess their comfiness (note: cement benches all feel the same).
3. Sitting on all public benches and letting the sun shine on your face at different angles (note: city buildings block the sunlight from some benches).
4. Choosing your favorite cherry blossom tree (note: cherry blossoms next to public benches with ample sunlight win).
5. Smelling all cherry blossoms (note: cherry blossoms don’t actually smell much, but you still need to smell every single one).
6. Touching, leaning against, exploring anything shiny.
7. Forgetting that you actually have a destination.
8. Realizing that Piper is ready for the poetry of Ani.
When I look around
I think this, this is good enough
and I try to laugh
at whatever life brings
cuz when I look down
I miss all the good stuff
and when I look up
I just trip over things