Mud pies

    We truly experience the world only once, as children. The rest of the time is just remembering.

    I can’t properly credit the person who originated this thought, since I don’t even remember where I recently came across it. But it keeps coming back to me, probably because it is spring again, and after a quiet winter my neighborhood is bubbling with children exploring a world that for most of them is a tiny bit bigger than it was last fall. The older ones are now allowed to go skate in a nearby schoolyard on the weekends. The seven year olds have graduated to crossing the street without grownups, and the littlest ones are venturing out a bit further into the giant milky way that is our block. Over the weekend I found a half chewed sandwich on my kitchen table, I guess from a weary traveler in need of respite.

    There are a bunch of projects junking up our yards; Appalachia-ish forts in the shrubbery, a disintegrating Lego set in a flower bed, and tiny, muddy socks everywhere. My favorite mess is the one in my yard, under a spreading Japanese maple. Sometimes it’s a restaurant, sometimes it’s a house, or a Tastykake factory, but mostly it’s just a big, rotting stump and some old tin pitchers and ladles and other kitchen stuff scattered around it. It’s not as popular as the basketball hoop next door, but about half the time I offer to bring out a bucket of water for mud pies I get at least one taker. I like it because it reminds me of when my world also seemed very large, and also because I’ve gotten to enjoy some delicious treats made with local ingredients by several very talented of the newest Philadelphia chefs.

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