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#5 - Mid life. To Tokyo

Updated: Jan 25

Having now left home already for some years, with two sons of my own, I returned for a visit to the A-frame cabin in Alpine, with two infant son’s of my own, before embarking yet once again abroad. Together, we enjoyed the endless delight of the fireplace, the fantastic snow banks which could bury a child, the warm embrace of unconditional love from grandparents. 

My mother now had persons beyond her own children with whom to shower love and attention. Her generosity of spirit was felt in the community and their little A-frame in the woods was a site of constant visitation by persons who had no compunction to call on them without notice. Mother was an eternal optimist and believed in the innate goodness of people. She would never speak ill of anyone, often repeating the adage which her parents, Ukrainian immigrants, left her: “better to say nothing than to speak ill.” She cross-country skied every day in the winter until she was 75 and would often disappear without notice for an hour or two in the morning after coffee. In turn, I would often take to the road, the Narrow Road to the Deep North, to the top of Silvertip in a marathon of running and lose myself for hours. 

With the older son at St. George’s for summer school, and myself in Tokyo preparing for a family relocation there, my younger son, perhaps two, had a precious month with Grandmother and Grandfather, ensconced in the A-frame in Alpine, in the shadows of the lush mountains and next to the roaring river. 

A few years later, In an art gallery in central Tokyo my youngest son Ikumi (nicknamed Shiva the destroyer, the mischievous, creative) now five, stood rooted before a life-size photograph of an ancient tree. Unmoving, mesmerized, I swore that I wouldn’t let he and his older brother Iori (the fearless, logician) grow up in an urban jungle of 30 million without once returning to reclaim his time with nature. 

Already, I had lost him once on a train at rush hour, pressed into opposing carriages he was whisked off into parts unknown as we navigated our way on his first day of school after just arriving from London. Like the true story of the Indian child in the movie “Lion," I was worried I may never see him again. But this is Tokyo and not Calcutta so in a matter of hours I was able to locate him, and, barring a few tears, he was fine. 

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