Monday, February 25, 2013

Silent Running

The little wooden sled never went very fast
But that never mattered  

The first few trips down the gentle slope of the back yard
Were tedious
Cutting and packing the path that the next 4 or 5 dozen passes would follow,
Those first few leaving rusty orange runner lines in the pure white snow

Once the path was defined, I'd bring out the flags
Sixteen or so of the countries of the world
The ones that I included in my own backyard olympic event
Nordic and European
The US, Russia and Canada
Each tiny one drawn by hand, cut out
Pasted to a popsicle stick

And off I'd go
Each trip, after a running start, flowing across the yard
Down into the vacant lot
Then winding back along the sidewalk in front of the neighbors house
The last 20 feet, the sled moved just slightly faster than a crawl
And when all motion would stop,
A flag would be planted in the snow
The mark to beat
And back up for the next nation's run. . . 

These games were always played when my mother was at work
And my grandmother likely sleeping or watching the soaps

I knew, if they looked out the window and saw me,
The inevitable questions would come
"What are you doing honey?"
"Are you just going to ride that sled all day?"
"What are those little pieces of paper down there?"

My grandfather, though he would check on me out the house windows as much as anyone,
Never asked me those questions
Never interrupted the games
Never seemed confused by the 10 or 11 or 12 year old's imagination
To me, that silence always spoke volumes about what we shared
And every moment I sit and indulge my imagination today
The silence connects us

nicolas hall


  1. This is beautiful Nicolas! What a great memory! I had a special bond with my grandpa too!

    1. Those early ties are the things we will always, I believe, return to in later years. . . the impact of them fully realized when we finally understand what we are here to do and what led us to it! Thank you for commenting! :)

  2. Ah, how precious. I believe I can see him this very minute glancing through the window pane. What quiet delight it must have been for him:)

    1. Thank you for your comment Willo! It is a great and deep peace I feel when I realize that there was always one person who could just let me be. . . and who took such joy in it over the years.