Do you like winter?

The "Symmetrical" Tree at Regent's Park

One morning in early November, about 2 years back, I decided to go for a walk. At that time, I was living in London. I didn’t have to go too far as Regent’s Park was next door to where I was staying.

I took my camera with me as I intended to photograph some of the beautiful trees in the park, particularly those trees, which had exposed a stunningly symmetrical structure after shedding all their leaves (see photo on the left).

After a leisurely stroll through the Park, I arrived at the place where I had noticed these trees. There was no one else nearby, save an elderly man who was well wrapped up against the cold. As I overtook him, I murmured a “Good Morning” to which I received a acknowledging nod.

I moved towards the trees and was soon clicking away. After a few minutes, I sensed someone close by watching me. I turned around to see that the elderly man, I had just greeted, had walked up to see what I was photographing.

He asked me gruffly, “Young lady, why are you photographing that tree? It’s bare !”

“I love the symmetry of that tree,” I replied.

“Symmetry or not, that tree is bare,” he glowered at me.

I smiled, unsure of how to respond to that. Suddenly, he offered me his arm and requested me walk with him to the park entrance about 50 m away. I obliged and we talked as we made our way slowly to the gate. Rather, he asked questions about why I was in London, India, Indian weather and food, etc., etc., to which I answered.

At the gate, we stopped ostensibly to look back at the trees, but it was more for the man to catch his breath. He thanked me for walking with him and as we were saying our goodbyes, he suddenly asked me, “Do you like winter?”

I gushed, “Oh I love winter. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to snow. It will be my first ever experience of snow. Do you think we’ll have snow soon?”

He was silent for some time and then turned towards me and said, “These old bones cannot take the winter any more. I hope I don’t have to live through another winter.”

Saying this he walked away.

8 thoughts on “Do you like winter?

  1. Sudha, somehow this post echoed with me in the light of the series on elders and the problems of greying that I am now doing. Sometimes it matters a great deal to an elder if a youngster just likes winter as you did. No wonder he asked you to walk with him. Compassion comes in so many little ways and there is always someone waiting to bask in it. Hugs to you!

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