I was wandering the park the other day playing with my new camera, and happened across these children playing. The light was beautiful, and the two little boys kept picking up sand from where it pooled on the walking path and tossing it into the air like confetti. It sprinkled down, glittering in the late afternoon sunlight, while they laughed and jumped and danced. Just out of frame, the children’s mothers sat under a tree manning a little makeshift snack stand where they sold lemonade and water and assorted baggies of chips.
Watching, it took me back to a place I had forgotten. A place where my brother and I played in the long grass of the hayfields back home, making up cow languages while mom and dad worked nearby. A place where we made instantaneous best friends at farm auctions, and immediately told them all our secrets. And then felt sad when we left, because we would probably never see those kids again, but despite the sadness kept our hearts open to the very same experience the very next week. A place where I knew without a doubt that the world was good. That I was loved. That it would all be ok.
I snapped a few furtive photos of the kids playing from far away, not wanting to intrude on the magic of the moment. It struck me that despite the vast differences between my childhood and theirs, that youthful innocence is universal. Surrounded by Humboldt Park, a neighborhood seeped in its own glories and sorrows, these kids were dancing in the afternoon, making magic with sand and sunlight.