I am walking my children to the school bus stop. At eye-level, I see the delicate blossoms on the apple tree. They are angels, garbed in flowing white, waiting to receive their souls in the form of an apple. They whisper sunny incantations, and pray against frost.
There’s no time to ponder their beauty. Six-year-old Eleanor is impatient, standing at the curb waiting to cross the street. Her speed is hampered by her entourage; four-year-old Sylvia and two-year-old Eli can’t keep up. She waits, dipping her foot into the street as if testing the water in a pool. With her tongue, she searches her gums for the tooth she recently lost.
Eleanor is looking forward to this kindergarten day, in which she’ll field-trip with her pals to the Children’s Theater. She has selected her clothes accordingly: short-sleeved tie-dyed shirt under a plaid-front satin dress, with red leggings underneath her hot-pink faux suede boots. She is part ruffian, part fashion-model.
Looking into the flower beds at the bus stop, Eleanor finds a worm. She speaks to it first, so it won’t be afraid. Then she picks it up and shows it to Sylvia, Eli, and the other kids at the stop. Eleanor boards the bus in her fancy dress, happily smelling like dirt.