Pierced by Innocence

A few miles into a bike ride recently, I passed through a park favored by walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists. It sits in the curve of a river, with a gentle slope of lawn reaching down to the water. The grass frequently has a flock of Canada geese feeding on its greenery, but on this day it was empty. In fact, the park as a whole was quiet.

Alone on the sidewalk, an older woman and a toddler were walking hand in hand. Overhead, the drone of a jet could be heard, and its vapor trail arched across the open blue sky.

That plane must have been the subject of some conversation between the little boy and the woman who I guessed was his grandmother, because he raised one small hand in a wave and looking up called out, “Good-bye! Good-bye airplane!”

With the innocence of that farewell, an unrecognized tension fell from my shoulders, and I rode on with a lightness in my heart that lingered all through the afternoon.

Some days later, my wife and I were grocery shopping when we encountered a father and his preschool-age son. The boy was jumping up and down and stomping both feet firmly on the ground with glee. Completely immersed in the spontaneous exploration of his body on planet Earth, he seemed oblivious to anything other than the pure joy of being.

We could only smile in the face of such innocence; smiles that transformed our view of the day and that even now rise to the surface every time we recall that dancing boy.

It says a lot that innocence has such a power to touch and, if we allow it, to heal. For one thing, it says that we can become adulterated by too much effort and strain, too much rushing and working, too much living in the adult world. It also says that despite that rush and roar, there is still that place of innocence inside us that resonates when we see it in the very young. And when we play.

This summer, I’m going on a weeklong bicycle ride around the Olympic Peninsula. We’ll be tent camping along the way. It’s the fifth time I’ve done one of these multi-day, van-supported bike trips. Stepping off the grid and reducing daily activity to eating, sleeping, and riding may not seem like fun to some. To me, it’s magical—the perfect kind of play.

It pulls me into my place of innocence and joy.

We need that. We need to spend time playing in those internal spaces, whatever activities guide us there. Our childhood may be long past. But if, as adults, we can rediscover and cultivate the path to our innocence, we may begin to live in the world as something close to whole beings.

2 thoughts on “Pierced by Innocence

  1. Beautiful, Colin. I’m in a 4th Retreat this weekend via Zoom. May I share this with Stan and Bruce to show that all us Lightworkers truly are connected? One if our major themes is play/fun. If you prefer not, I won’t. If you can respond in the next hour that would be great.

    Thanks! Love, Paula S ❤️


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