An author I admire a lot once said, “The best thoughts are conceived while walking.”
Ain’t that just the way? It’s certainly an encouragement to go for a stroll. Because even if you don’t think up anything good while walking — I spend a lot of time thinking about jokes and snacks, for example — you’re bound to at least see some stuff.
Which counts for a lot.
On Friday, I was walking up Wabash, headed to the newspaper office** and I saw the sweetest thing. It wasn’t anything remarkable, but it was worth the walk.
A woman was with her son. She was in her late thirties, maybe; her little boy was eight or so. They had stopped on the sidewalk because there was a problem with the boy. He was so cute, but he was not happy: There was something in his eye.
Obviously, this was not an emergency; if it had been, this would be a very different post. No, the blinky eye in question was plagued with an eyelash or a no-see-um gnat or something minor. But shorty was so grumpy, whatever it was, it clearly hurt. A gnat is big when your eyeball is small.
As I approached, I saw how sweet the boy’s mother was, helping her child steady himself while he frowned and scrubbed at his face. She tried to get at his lil’ peeper with a thumb; I heard him say, “I can do it! Ow!”
There were but a few seconds to take in the scene, but I saw it all: pure tenderness and kindness coming from the mother, pure trust from the boy, who knew he was safe, even if it hurt. Suddenly, I recalled Aesop’s fable when the mouse taking the thorn from the paw of the lion.
Now that I think about it, it’s precisely that mother-son moment and consequently thinking of Aesop that is proof positive the best thoughts are conceived while walking.
After I passed the scene, I remembered how the health foods store a block away used to stock these maple peanut butter bar thingys that I love. Mm. If I turned right a block early, I could swing by the health food store and then grab a coffee to go with it before going into the office.
See? The best snacks are conceived while walking.
**Did I tell you I got promoted? I got promoted to head-editor-in-charge of the school paper! I’m sharing the position with the brilliant and beautiful Irena, because we both were in the running for the job this coming year and decided that life, school, and working at the paper would be far more enjoyable/productive if we shared the duties of managing editor. Divide and conquer, that’s what we said, and we clinked glasses and went into the Publication Board meeting for our joint interview, which we nailed. We’re a terrific team and I’m in heaven, being a top-dog editor again. I really love being an editor. I might have to be one again, for a long time. I’ll keep you posted.