They say God is happiest when His children are at play.

~ Hardy Greaves, The Legend of Bagger Vance

We walk upon the cement floor, amidst the wooden folding chairs where auction-goers sit every Saturday night, looking for that one thing. The thing we came for. We found it on the third and rusting shelf down, next to the toy gun caps and the ceramic salt and pepper shakers in the shape of whitetail deer.

She grabbed it and ran to the counter, the once-dormant spring alive and well in her step, and despite the bounce of anticipation waited for her change. I ran out of breath trying to keep up with her on our walk (run?) home.

I don’t get too worked up over the passing of seasons. I’ve known the transitions, lived through my share of false starts. Fumbled segues. I’ve learned not to get used to the sunshine, to the warmer air that prods me to reluctantly wear my sweatshirt sleeves at half mast.

Not her. A hint of waning chill and she’s outside, rolling in grass that’s hitting the snooze button and cursing the tulips and their obnoxious peeking.

Today, she sets a determined gaze on the driveway . . .

The rains come later that evening and wash it all into the culvert. But I am learning, slowly, to not fret, for it never really disappears . . .

[Flickr photo is by r0Kk and is protected]


16 thoughts on “Chalktown

  1. Good stuff. My back patio is decorated with names, pictures and hop scotch squares.

  2. I know how she feels! Despite impending snow tomorrow I went outside yesterday and started working on the garden. It felt so good to pretend that spring was finally here even if only for a little while.

  3. My niece, Bear, loves drawing on the sidewalk and it always feels really good to see the animals and four square set-ups.

  4. Hi Brian;

    Introduce her to the east Indan tradition of making Kolams and Rangoli on hard paved surfaces. There are tons of videos on Youtube to whet her interest. She can use chalks and white flour for making patterns which can be either swept up or erased with water. A friend make kolams with her grade 4 students and she said they had a blast. I think your wee one would enjoy making them. Check out the youtube film “Kolams of Pondicherry” it is a beautiful explanation of why these designs are made by women in India. G

  5. driveway ‘chalktowns’ are the best… many, many happy memories from my childhood, and my second childhood when my children were that certain age… she’s beautiful, and i hope she doesn’t lose the ability to capture a moment…

  6. why do we forget the important things we knew as children?

  7. Funny, my daughter did a chalk town today.
    Reminds me of elaborate Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas done in colored sand. Then, to illustrate impermanence, they are destroyed and it is considered part of the beauty — much like rain on our daughters’ chalk creations.

  8. It’s amazing the pure joy kids get from being outside and how the imagination flows with sidewalk chalk. I often forget the joy that comes from a spring day. But, I have my daughter to quickly remind me of the joy and happiness that can be present right in front of us.

  9. FUN! My eight year old is a “Zoe” too. Have we had that conversation before? Writing it was accompanied by deja vu. Happy spring to the you and her and the chalktown!

  10. I miss those days. Sigh. My kids all consider themselves too “old” to draw with chalk. Now, give them a squirt gun…and they forget all about acting grown up!

  11. We have a really big driveway. It’s a son of a bitch to shovel in the winter, but in the summer it’s a huge canvas for the kids. I always feel a twinge of sadness when the rain washes away some glorious chalk mural they’ve done.

  12. I loved playing with chalk on the sidewalk when I was a kid. Great post. Brings a nice smile to my face.

  13. Lovely post, Brian. Hope Spring rears her head in earnest for you all soon.

  14. me and argent did a gig recently where we played my song “Bears” which pays reference to the childhood habit of avoiding the cracks in the pavement incase the bears come to get you – and is sort of about throwing caution to the wind and remembering to have fun and be childish from time to time

    That’s what i loved about this post – its good to remember these things.

  15. We’ve got a wall here where time stops, old pencil marks on the kitchen wall with names and dates as our children have grown … our fridge with magnetic fruit also hold memories of days gone by … this is what fridge doors are for – are they not?

  16. I loved this. Please tell me you’re working on a manuscript of some sort. You write beautifully, with attention to detail, but just the right amount… not like “homework” detail. Srsly. 🙂

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