Monday, July 25, 2005

Yellow is not a color I put on normally (I was once described quite aptly as greenish yellow by an Italian friend of mine, and I get even more greenish when I add it externally). But to drive by fields full – canola flowers in May, sunflowers in July – makes me want to swallow whole the view, to get out of the car and lick up the colors with a paintbrush or a camera.

Caroline seems to feel the same way about grass. Whenever she sees lawn, she runs to it and flies in slow ellipses, arms flung wide and her smile dashing ahead. Tall grass turns her into a lion and she sits on her haunches, seed tips above her head, splendidly isolated by her nest of green. She so rarely sits quietly that I am always surprised by this transformation from swooping swift to still lion.

This weekend we drove to the mountains between Dresden and Prague and on the way I had my chance to drive through fields of sunflowers, and to see the hop vines that are nearly at their peak. Once arrived, Caroline ran amuck with her friend Viki, a nearly two herself who taught C how to hold a piece of grass to examine life in the wild, and how to stomp in mud puddles. Caroline obligingly demonstrated how to shake the fence in the children’s playground, and they took turns mimicking each other, fake coughing in echoes.

We took our time getting anywhere, with two twos, and the getting there was half the fun – parents chatting, children holding hands and careening about like taffy being pulled from one side of the path to another. Together they met multitudes of butterflies, a tiny frog and a slug that was slowly crossing the road. They hiked nearly to the top of a hill, and helped pick raspberries. Caroline lioned in the grass, and then the girls sat on a picnic blanket and lapped up yogurt and crackers and even some good for you cheese. They didn’t speak a language in common, but by the end of the trip they could say each other’s names and that was enough for them.

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