Friday, October 06, 2017

This Is It

When I arrived on the scene, I found a group of a half dozen four-year-olds who had rigged up a large black pipe to the cast iron pump. They had buried the downhill end under sand. When they pumped the water, after a moment's anticipation, it then would erupt from their sand hill as they shouted and squealed. They were calling it a volcano.

"Pump the water!"

"It's erupting!"

"Block it, guys!"

"Okay, I'll work up here. You work down there."

"Stop pumping!"

"I want to make the water stop."

"I'll help you."

"We have to have the water everywhere on the playground. Right guys?"


"My turn. I wanna have a turn."

"After me?"


"Are you trying to make the water stop or go?"

"I'm trying to make it go."

"I'll pump."

"Don't push me!"

"I didn't mean to."

"Hey, you kicked over the pipe."

"I'm sorry, I'll fix it. I was just trying to jump over it."

"What are you doing?"

"We're making a volcano stop and go."

"I wanna play."

"Get a shovel!"

I sat on a stump not far away, but I might as well have been on another planet. They dug and pumped and talked the conversation of projects, no one in charge, everyone in charge, each one alternatively in charge; a beautiful flow full of assertions, persuasion, questions, invitations, and agreements. Most of these kids have been playing together on this playground since they were two, building toward moments like these, living the journey of getting there.

As I sat there on my stump I realized that I was witnessing the pinnacle of humans living together. In every religion and every mythology there is a garden to which humans aspire to return. This is it.

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