A Walk with Dad This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 13, 2012
By
My father and I are going to Walden Pond. I have never been before. My father goes quite often. We sit silently in the wide front seat of his car listening to his classical music station. The plush seat cradles me as we drive through the suburban neighborhoods. Summer is thick in the air. The air conditioner cools us as we drive.

We pull off the road onto a dirt path. My father pays the five dollar parking fee and parks the car. We walk from the parking lot and cross the street to the path that leads to Walden. I see people on bikes and little children escaping their parents’ grasp, as I had once done with my father. We head down the path, stopping at a clearing to look at the pond.

“Well, what do you think?” my father asks, turning toward me.

I gaze out at the beauty before me and say, “Amazing.”

Green water is circled by trees and sand. Typical, one might say, of every pond or lake. But this is different. I have seen many ponds and lakes, but nothing can touch what lies before me. It was not so much the physical beauty, but the emotional beauty. Walden dances along the edge of my being.

“Shall we walk around?”

“Sure, Dad, you lead the way.”

So we start off. As we walk, I look about me. Though the highway is but a few feet off, it feels as though we are in deep forest. Bugs and other little creatures crawl under foot. The shade of the trees turns the hot day cool and comfortable.

We pass a young boy, nine or ten, fishing with his father. I turn to my father and think back to my younger years. My father is an intellectual, a thinker.

When I was younger we would fight. Fight is not really the right word; we disagreed. I was young. He was old. He wanted me to be careful, respectful, neat and clean. All I wanted was to have fun. We could not find a middle ground. We did not scream at each other, we just stayed out of one another’s way. Sure, he was still a dad and I was still a son, but we were not friends.

As I grew and matured, I saw my father in a new light. I started to read and started to think. I began to write poetry and enjoy learning. My father, who used to be an English teacher, would read my writing and critique it for me. I respected his opinion and soon I respected him. I think he began to respect me.

“Careful, Marc!” my dad says, grabbing me out of my thoughts as I trip over a root. He helps me gain my balance; I look at him. He’s a very gentle, caring man. He loves me and wants the best for me. This is true of most dads, but how many show it? How many sons see this in their father’s eyes? I never had. Walden Pond filters out the world. I can see my father up close, without distraction. I see a man, and a friend.

We conclude our lap around Walden Pond. I discovered my father today. As we watch the tiny waves stroke the hot sand, I realize that a father’s love is a lot like Walden Pond. It’s always there, I just had to find it. My search was not for a place on a map, but a place in my heart. I had to love my father to see his love for me.

We walk up the path to the road closer than we had walked down it. At the top we turn and look back at Walden Pond.

“Amazing,” my father says, looking out onto the water.

I turn to my father, “Yes, it is.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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