Time has changed those things. Our lenses have changed. I no longer see the leaning shack on the hill as the greatest place in the world. The broken glass gets tossed aside. Mud is washed away, instead of worn like a badge. We are older now, not the same children who knew the secrets of the dusk, who could bounce on the trampoline until our legs gave out, weary and tingling. We are parents, we are spouses, we are grown. And gr'ups find over-and-under-tag a little too exhausting to play on forever.
I think about those days and wish I could go back, turn the sands of time so I could be young and free again. I was so worried about growing up fast, so worried about being something that I forgot to savor the seconds on the clock. Now as my little boy learns the glamour of the orange groves and the sweetness of summer tea, I have the chance to enjoy it all again, to submerge myself in the beauty and joy I once had. Children are extensions of ourselves, they're an opportunity to remember and relish the ease of laughter. He'll grow up here, too. He'll know what it's like to feel the scratch of hay on his arms, to pick flowers on a hill side, to peel an orange still warm from the sun and taste it, oh so sweet.