missing pieces

With Nellie on the leash I looked over my shoulder to see a dark sky rolling in from the north. Being from Seattle I know when rain is coming and can usually smell it. We walked along at a good clip, my rubber boots whapping my shins with each step.

At the fields I let Nellie off leash where she ran and dove and rolled in a lawn beginning to wither from too many days of hot weather. The leaves of trees flanking the field turned their silvery backs to the wind. I closed my eyes to better hear the rush of it and to feel its fingers caressing my skin. Finally, I kicked off my boots to stroll barefoot in the grass, something a foot doctor once told my twelve-year-old self I'd never be able to do.

From an open door I heard the voices of children singing songs from the seventies. A couple-hundred kids were seated in bleachers following along with a small band playing covers of Proud Mary and other pieces by artists including Helen Reddy and The Beatles. I walked over to the field house and peered in. Several young camp counselors in neon green tees were monitoring the children and cheering them on. I asked one of them how the kids knew the words in the absence of any booklets or projected lyrics. She explained that the lyrics had been simply taught by the band and then practiced daily.

"Amazing brains," I said of the kids' astounding capacity to learn and memorize so quickly. Then I thought about Calvin's frail brain and its missing pieces.

Suddenly, the girl cautioned me just as a throng of seven and eight year olds made a mad dash for the door. I had to shoo Nellie from the stampede and away from the table of snacks the kids were headed for. Above us a menacing sky opened up and a rush of emotion rained over me seeing the children gleefully wield popsicles and bananas, watching them laugh and skip and jump and run. I wept openly, grieving Calvin and all that he is missing, albeit obliviously, in and of the world.

Photo by Michael Kolster

1 comment:

  1. You have a whole different child. That you do gives you a great voice with much wisdom to share. I know you did not want to be this sage but so have gods and fates determined.