Driving home from work, I see my daughter and her friend walking through town, talking. I pull over, and they run across the road. We stand there for a little while, talking. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about this at all. They tell me a little about kicking around a soccer ball that morning, and remark how hot the day has suddenly become.
They finish their walk, then we all go swimming.
These days, I sometimes think of my grandparents, whose lives were marked by the depression. As a kid, when we went out to eat with my grandmother, she’d swipe ketchup packets, because, she said, you never knew when you might need it.
For these teens, the pandemic will mark their lives, too. Someday, I imagine, they’ll be saying, remember when high school stopped, and we all stayed home?
They won’t forget. Sleepovers and cozy breakfast in the kitchen are on permanent hiatus, but summer is back. Sitting on the bank, watching them swim, I’m happy for just for this moment — sunlight and pollen-flecked water, croaking bullfrogs in the weeds, laughter — a little more childhood yet to come.
Many people find it easy to imagine unseen webs of malevolent conspiracy in the world, and they are not always wrong. But there is also an innocence that conspires to hold humanity together…