I walk my dog through the barren suburban Covid landscape of quiet streets and front doors buried by unopened shipping boxes, when I see a child crouched on the ground. Her arms jerk in and out, across the ground rhythmically, back and forth, back and forth. She’s doing something I can’t see yet. Her face scrunches up. Her tongue pops out the side of her mouth. It’s purple, hopefully from a popsicle. It is the time of plague and I assume nothing. Point is, this kid is CONCENTRATING.
I step closer and spot a pile of colorful chalk stubs by her bare foot. She squats at the end of a cheerful rainbow that reaches from one side of her driveway to the other. She’s drawn bluebirds and clouds blooming with pink butterflies and her sun is a big yellow flower. Dog-horse-beaver(?) creatures scamper along the rainbow. It is simple in its execution and breathtaking in its design. This girl is FEELING something and she wants everyone to know it.
“I like your dog.” She smiles at me and Albus. Everybody smiles at Albus.
“Thanks. I like your picture.” I try to calculate how many swipes of chalk it must have taken to create that lovely image. I stop counting at zabajillion. And then I say one of the most adult things that’s ever come out of my face. “Too bad it’s going to rain later.” Seriously?
But she grins at me. “That’s ok. Wait ’til you see what I make tomorrow.”