This morning’s walk was all silence until I arrived at the elementary school. The strawberry blonde dogs I named Mary-Kate and Ashley (but that are actually Bill and Ted), the friendly tabby called Simon, the omnipresent neighbor who relates conversations to Grateful Dead songs, and the rest of the characters that punctuate my route were not out enjoying the autumn air yet.

This Monday even the rambunctious yellow-haired boy who runs his Spanish-speaking grandmother around all morning did not beckon me to share what he was imagining. He was, though, wielding a hubcap and an antenna as though he was dueling dragons as his abuelita (grandmother), always watching the show, rested her head in her hand.

And then I heard the business of tetherball and the monkey bars. Of course I know there’s a lot of negotiation goes into playing with friends and getting our turn, but these little bankers and salespeople shocked me with their seriousness.

And then a man with a dog the size of a pony approached, and I could hear the change in pitch and diction as they transformed back into children again.


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