Spark

Usually when I am in charge of picking up my daughter from school on Friday afternoons, I hustle her out of there sharpish. A few Fridays ago though, although it was foggy and grey, you could feel spring seeping out of the earth.  All the kids were running around with wide open jackets. There is a big hill behind the school and the kids were racing each other up and down it. I was in the mood to let her fully take advantage of this warm spell and not rush her away. After a while, my daughter gravitated down to the foot of the hill to where a gnarled old tree sits.  She tentatively made her way around the tree, slowly but surely issuing suggestions/commands to her younger brother.  They weren't playing a specific game, just warming up.  For whatever reason, I, for once, was not impatiently drumming my fingers but rather possessed by a brief but intense ability to just be there.  


Simultaneously, a boy from her class circled the tree and watched on in interest as my daughter's play started to take shape.  Initially, he observed and then he briefly swung from the tree.  Finally, he announced that he would join her play by telling her that he would make a fire. My daughter glowed as she accepted the gift of recognition that her play warranted building upon.  The spark was lit. In return, she told him she would go catch some fish.  The world of their making came alive and they diligently went about filling in the details.  I watched with admiration.  The period of time between when the whole game got started and when his mom called for him was a matter of no more than 30 minutes. Their tacit agreement, signified by the picking up of a stick off the ground, kept the tinder lit for whatever time they had.

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