Saturday, November 5, 2011


Dear Spike,

We picked fruit out of the air.

Apples and pears. Peaches and plums. Mangoes. Pineapples.

There is no fall in the Land of Make Believe. No winter. No climates prohibitive of tropical fruit farming.

At your instruction, I released an armful of coconuts onto the platform aside the playground slide, then plucked one from the ground, centered it over an invisible brick, and hurled it downward. It split open into two perfect bowls and we didn’t lose a drop of milk. It’s brilliant what you can do when it doesn’t matter what you do.

We drank the milk, became thirsty, split another, drank some more. We turned the apples and pears into pies. The peaches and plums were jellied. The mangoes…

… hmmm …

… I guess we forgot about the mangoes. Easy thing to do when you’re working with invisible ingredients, I suppose.

The pineapples we cut into spears and ate off skewers. After a while, we’d had our fill and so, quite logically, it was time to stand lookout for sharks.

It might have been five minutes. It might have been 15. It could have been an entire afternoon. Amazing thing, that.

We played without rules. And honestly, I can’t remember the last time I did that.

Oh, I think I do a pretty good job of encouraging your imagination, but I’m always trying to mold it a bit, too — particularly when I see an opportunity to sneak in a smidgen of education.

“OK, so now you have one pony in each hand. And if I give you another pony…”

Or when I sense ridiculous gender constructs sneaking into your pure little mind.

“Let’s play princesses,” you say.

“Let’s play princesses who are superheros or scientists,” I say.

So it goes.

Same too, I admit, when you’re playing with other children. I try very hard not to interfere when others are rude or hurtful to you — figuring that you’ll benefit most from learning how to deal with these situations on your own.

But you’ve got a tendency to be a bit bossy. And I reckon I step in a little too often just to try to rein you in.

On this day, though, I was your first mate. Your wish, my command. I didn’t mind.

What joy.

We did it again the next day. And again the day after that.

My to-do list is 25 items long and getting longer by the day. But all I can think about, lately, is when we’ll get to play that way again.

It’s been a very long time since I visited this place. Thank you for inviting me.