As anyone who reads my pages knows, I get a great deal of inspiration from my walks in Central Park. I’ve begun book chapters in my head, written the end to a mystery, started a blog, figured out how to write a strong letter of complaint without being nasty…and on and on.
The other day I went for my walk earlier than usual because the temperature was to soar to near 100 degrees. Though it was only 7 a.m. there were already many joggers and walkers in the park. It was a beautiful morning and I decided to try not to let my mind wander from the scenery; the calm, dark satin, tree-reflecting water of the Reservoir, ducks floating along, people chatting in many languages, chirping birds …the great to be alive feeling I had as I made my way around the jogging path.
I was successful, in the main, and didn’t come away with any burning ideas for my writing… until I left the Park.
As I turned to walk down the street, which, seven blocks later, would end at my apartment house, I came upon a very young girl, perhaps 6 or 7, who was inching carefully around the base of one of the corner columns of the gate that surrounds the Cooper Hewitt Museum, the former home of Andrew Carnegie. The base was extremely narrow and the little girl had her arms around the column while she spoke animatedly to her father who stood watching, holding her scooter and backpack. I stopped and watched and my heart was in my throat, hoping she would not slip and fall and hurt herself. I thought to myself…If she were mine, I probably would have said, ‘Please don’t climb up there. It’s dangerous and you could fall and hurt yourself,’ a knee-jerk response from my own over protected past, which I, unfortunately continued with my own children until I wised up. And then I thought back to the early days of childrearing and my husband who would allow our children to do many things I would not have, had I known about them. My children happily told me about their exploits after the fact. I, not so happily, asked my husband, ‘What in the world were you thinking?’ But, mostly, he did right by them.