The Fearless Littles
Hound Tor, England
We were 6 people and 2 borrowed dogs in a land unknown to us. We had just met Rowan and her boy Azlan hours before. As we approached Hound Tor, the stony field with naturally occurring massive boulder piles that Rowan grew up amongst (she has since moved to Spain and we met in her hometown for matters of business) she said to the 3 boys (5,6 and newly 9) “Take note of that stone house and where we are, you can play and we will meet back here.”
Well my heart just about landed in my boot as I imagined the boys climbing and playing - and battling - atop towering boulders without a care...
As the boys ran ahead, Rowan and I followed at a steady pace (that masked my concern) alongside the two dogs. Surely I could trust my boys instincts to climb without my hovering over them...? Of course all 3 boys, along with Walter, climbed straight up to the top! Azlan was looking down on us from that great height, fearless and brave, but didn’t he feel that strong and wild wind upon his little body? Did he know what would happen if he, distracted and waving to us, lost his balance?
I swallowed the panic that tried to escape from my throat. I took photographs. When it became too much I headed toward the rocks. Rowan followed. As it turned out, we were both a bit nervous. Azlan had never climbed before! She meant play in the field, she didn’t consider him playing up! Seeing Søren and Silas and Walter climb up without abandon, she tried to bury her own fear and trust Azlan. I reached the top and saw Walter - and as it turned out - he too, felt unnerved by the boys running this way and that, up so high!
Once we were together and settled amongst the rocks (our distance no longer exaggerating our perspective), Rowan told me how she used to climb (Pippi Longstocking-style) around the perimeter of her olde house, knocking on the window to her mother’s study as she passed by, her mother pausing briefly from her work to smile and wave hello... As we climbed, only the older hearts persisted in thumping a bit out of rhythm. But the last thing we wanted to do was show our fear - or worse - spread it to the confident littles.
And thus marked the beginning of a new friendship...!
We say that children are bad at paying attention, but we really mean they're bad at not paying attention - they easily get distracted by anything interesting.
- Alison Gopnik
IG @thebrotherskent @pegandawl and @pegandawlbuilt #travel #adventure #family #thebrotherskent #pegandawl #england #philadelphia #places #climbing #outdoors #boys April 2017