“Isn’t it beautiful?”

Sometimes, there are things that children say that stop me dead in my tracks. Last weekend was one of those times.

John and I decided to head out into the mountains on Sunday afternoon. We had no set plan other than to follow a little road to its end and walk along a hiking trail to wherever it might lead. We ended up at about 1500m above sea-level just beyond a little hamlet named Gola di Lago about 25km north of Lugano.

As we sauntered gently down the trail we came to a clearing where we found a mountain peat bog. It was at this spot where he stopped, gazed out at what lay ahead of him and spoke.

“Baba, isn’t it beautiful?”

I was genuinely lost for words to hear this dear eleven-year old boy echo what was flowing through my mind at the time. There was nothing particularly visually grand about this spot, unlike the many surrounding vistas of majestic mountains and deep, gnarly valleys. There was nothing that would call to the causal observer to elicit such a response. Yet there it was. In this simplicity, he saw something, or he sensed it otherwise, and I, once again, saw something in him. This, for me, was a moment of awe. I have been thinking about awe and its importance very much over the last three years.

Peat bog in the background

Over the last few months, he and I have been devoting regular time to sharpening his awareness of what exists here and now. I wonder whether it is this learning that has led him, a boy who like many of his peers is more than enamoured by video gaming, to be able to respond in such a way. Of course, it may well be something innate too. Nevertheless, he stood there for a few minutes and just looked at what lay ahead of him, lost in thought and feeling.

From there, we continued down the trail and the playful child appeared once again. We arrived at a rock face where he decided to lead me up a perilous rope aided scale to a dead end and a very cautious descent. We then fossicked amongst nature’s debris at the bottom of the cliff for sparkly treasures to put in the backpack and then strode down to an old growth birch grove.

“Can you please take a picture of me in the birch trees?” he asked. “I have seen these in Minecraft but never in real life.”

Wonderful moments.

Our day was drawing to a close, but we still had time enough to sit down on a grassy slope, munch on a nectarine each that we had brought with us and ponder the names of the villages nestled in the valley below. One final drive and a short walk took us to a lookout where we gazed well beyond the summer playground of the rich far below us to the grandness of the mountains in the distance.

It was a lovely afternoon, and one that was made so much more special by those four words.

“Baba, isn’t it beautiful?”

Agra Lookout

Published by Athan Rodostianos

Educator, world traveller, dreamer. The world is there and open. Live it, love it, breathe it share your experiences, be kind, be good.

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