A Walk in the Park?

One day my daughter and I took a long walk through a deep wooded area. As it was getting late in the afternoon, we got lost by inadvertently straying off the beaten path. Everywhere I looked – 360 degrees all around me – I saw woods, nothing but woods. Dark and dank. No light anywhere.

It frightened me. But I couldn’t convey this to my daughter, for I had to appear as a strong and all-knowing father. So, I said. “Let’s play a little game. You look around and see if you can see any light anywhere.”

You see, I realized that she, being much shorter than I – only 4 feet high and 8 years old – was better able to see light coming through the trunks of the trees since the foliage above was densely thick and impenetrable.

“Okay.” she said as she slowly turned in a circle. “There, I see the sky or something bright over there.” pointing in a direction almost the opposite of where we had been moving.

“Let’s go there.” I said as I held her left hand and we followed the straight and narrow path to where she was pointing with the light. It worked and we eventually emerged from the woods!

Unfortunately, we were then faced with a wide river that I realized we needed to cross to get home. I recognized some landmarks on the other side. “How did we get here?” I mumbled to myself. “Crap, we’re not out of the woods, yet.”

“What are you talking about Daddy? We just―.”

“Oh, it’s an idiomatic, uh … anyway, Sweetie, we need to find a way to get across this river. That’s what we need to do now. We’ll just walk along the riverbank until―.”

“I guess we’ll just have to, um, cross that bridge when we get to it, huh Daddy, hee, hee?” she said as she looked up at me with a unique smile that, I swear, I’ll never forget.

david r. topper
David R. Topper is a published writer living in Winnipeg, Canada. His work has appeared in Mono, Poetic Sun, Discretionary Love, Academy of the Heart & Mind, and elsewhere.
Synchronized Chaos Magazine nominated his poem Seascape with Gulls: My Father's Last Painting to Sundress Publications as a 2023 Best of the Net.

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