By Kathy Joy
Voices push through paper or cloth and emerge muffled.
Smiles are imagined, not seen.
Playgrounds are eerily quiet. There should be dust and laughter; airborne shrieks and the proper “thunk” of a glove-caught baseball.
In our town, the 4th of July was an oddly packaged holiday of caution – an empty parade with echoes of marching bands past. The hollow day was punctuated later with endless fireworks, a continuous loop of virtually EVERY summer night in our town. So, with Labor Day? Who can tell?
Malls have fiber-boards for windows, and parking lots are nearly empty.
Stores that are open are not letting us zig-zag willy-nilly through the aisles; we have to watch for arrows and other masked shoppers, stepping up to the cashier only when we are told.
Shopping is exhausting. Many are opting for curbside pickup or Instacart.
While walking and longing for something cheerful to cut through life’s masks, I heard the sound of a baby’s laughter.
What is it about a child’s laugher? It’s a wonderful mystery, that unhindered joy that jiggles up from the belly and fills the air with ripples of watery music.
That baby in her new swing.
The baby stretched her bare feet into the sky and giggled clear up to the full moon.
Her experience of flying for the very first time sent trills of laughter into the evening air.
I looked around at the grownups and I swear we all looked a good deal younger. A trick of twilight softened our features and made us all wood nymphs for one moment.
Pine trees hovered over us, benevolent silhouettes bending into our joy.
Fireflies came out to light up the party.
This, I thought… this moment, this child, these loved ones gathered – will cut through our masked passages and give us wings for the journey ahead.
Kathy Joy writes for her company’s Lunchtime Jabs, and for Coffee With Kathy, her personal blog, and for Books for Bonding Hearts. She is the author of the greeting card coffee table series, Breath of Joy: Simply Summer, Ah, Autumn, Winter Whispers and Singing Spring (All available on Amazon).\