Little Jumps We Can Never Forget

This post is an outcome of a conversation I had with my little neighbour, who is all of 2! I’ll call him A to protect his privacy. He and I meet every evening during our walks. He’s usually with his wonderful caretaker, S who never leaves his side and entertains and gives into all his little requests. 

His vocabulary is simply stunning! As are his semantic associative abilities, at least that’s the term we use in language-based research. I won’t get into the details of terminologies because this post isn’t about that.

As I was finishing off my last round of walking, I saw him attempting to climb up and down a stone bench. The bench was taller than what he could attempt, but as the song goes, with a little help from my friends, his trusted caretaker helped him get up on the bench, and by holding her fingers, he jumped and managed to land firmly on the ground. Each time he repeated this trick, he would announce emphatically, “I did it. I jumped,” and then climbed back up to repeat. 

I decided to stop and chat him up. Somedays, he’s reticent and won’t yield to a conversation, but on other days, he could chew the rag. So this was my lucky day. When I waived my usual hello, in his classic gentlemanly style, he stopped what he was doing and paused to return the greeting, “hello” he said. He looked at me for a few seconds when I asked him what he was up to; “jumping”, he replied.

I asked him to show me how he did that. So very dutifully, he tried to climb on to the bench with Ss help, stood tall on the bench and explained in great detail how he was going to attempt his grand feat. When he was done climbing, I counted to three to help him take off, and the moment I said three, he attempted his jump. 

The granite slab that sat atop the pillars had a small gap, which interrupted his jump with a false start, but he landed on the ground. It clearly wasn’t to his satisfaction, and he felt the need to clarify, so he immediately said, “it was a little jump.”

Photo Source: Robert Collins on Unsplash

He returned to do it again, and this time, more neighbours were watching his grand feat of jumping. This totally messed with his tai chi like calm, and no matter how much he tried, he just couldn’t jump off the bench. So all of us cheered him regardless, but he was such an honest sportsman, he said, “no jumping.” I assume he meant you don’t need to cheer when I didn’t really earn it.

But after the crowd dispersed, he returned to his jumping act again with the affirmation that he was making ‘little jumps.”

Watching master A, I learned a lot from his attempts at “little jumps.”

In the end, that’s what life is all about–making little jumps. In two weeks, we’ll reach the global lockdown anniversary–one long year of having gone into lockdown together. Through this time, every single human being on this planet experienced the pandemic in many different ways. I don’t believe any corner of this planet was spared. 

There were losses and gains. Many people lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost relationships, lost themselves. 

Yet through these devastating loses, we gained a renewal incomparable to any other time in the history of humanity. I recall the number of positive affirmations that floated around the world. Millions of people came together to support people in need.

Volunteers who mobilised help when the government fell drastically short.

Families were reunited in ways unimaginable.

Stories of relentless courage in the face of adversity.

The fall of a lunatic-president and the fight towards saving the sovereignty of a democratic nation.

The cooperation between world leaders and the race to ensure scientific inquiry led to fast-paced vaccine discovery.

None of these great deeds would have been possible if we didn’t attempt to make those ‘little jumps”. So master A, yes, you are 100% right when you say we need to make little jumps to eventually take the giant leap.

“One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them…”

A long time ago, I picked out a ring
meant to be worn on the left ring finger.
The ring will leave a band of white
under its glistening silver belly

An undiscriminating kind of white
that fought to remain on the wearer’s finger
long after the unassailable metal had worn down
But, alas! The ring remains weighed down in a box.

Pinned beneath old keys and unused coins
Nailed down to abandoned dreams
Tossed beside old paper jottings
of discarded phone numbers

With no place or purpose anymore
The ring recalls the promise of a smithy–
A dead weight can be forged into a
dazzling circlet of no past or future