At the end of the first stellar week of spring, I stood at the easel in the kindergarten among a group of prolific artists while a breeze blew in through the greenhouse door.
Across the room, Ellen was swarmed by writers, who were penciling letters to send through our own post office, while the remainder of the children were enraptured in the building corner.
“I’m having a kindergarten moment,” I whispered to our intern from the college who was painting beside me.
“Well, that makes sense, you’re in the kindergarten,” she teased.
I loved this young woman for the lightness she brought to my days, reminding me of my own college years.
“Yes, but I’m really feeling the kindergarten-ness of it all,” I said, unable to capture what it meant to be absorbed in the hollow sound of blocks, the smell of tempura paint and warm air, and earnest spirit of first time writers.
Later, during recess, I stood for a long time in the bright sun of the open field before heading down the hill into the coolness of the woods. There I found small pockets of children tucked into their own worlds of tree and rock, mud and stream.
As I approached, they looked up like deer; but then went on with their play as if I was of no relevance.
In one woodland home, a small girl swept the floor with a pine-fashioned broom; and I found myself crossing over into my own childhood.
…There in the dusty field of a Colorado playground, I used the tip of my shoe to draw the outline of a house, in the frontier world of Laura Ingalls Wilder…
It was only a moment, but it was enough to remind me of the magic of childhood. I tread gently through the woods this day, so as not to disturb the children’s reverie, and so that I too might take a drink from their eternal spring.
Kelly Salasin, March 2006