Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Martin Luther King Day was clear and relatively warm, with a fresh snow. Early that morning a  flight of snow bunitngs flitted past, and there were flocks of blue birds and robins in the forest edges around the fields.  We were off to the local coasting hill to do some sledding around midday..

 The snow was perfect, and two of the children had constructed a low jump and were skidding over the top and launching themselves wildly into the air before crashing into the snow on their backs   --   only to get up again and do it all over. The sun was warm,  and below the hill the woods had taken on that grey green cast of early winter, a perfect day, a  timeless New England winter scene, with all the cliches of health and home and a fire crackling in the hearth. 

And yet.

In spite of the fact that this was a school holiday, out of however many children there are in this town there were but six on the hill that day, including two in my own family, which means that there were in fact only four children out on what was the easily finest outing day this season, and a holiday to boot..

What happened? Where are all the children?  Trapped by some electronic Pied Piper? Imprisoned in a sunless mall? Grounded by angry parents?  Depressed? Sick?

What hope can there be for such a people??


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