As we headed out of our lane yesterday, we saw a boy walking alone on the road ahead. As we approached, we saw his smiling face and realized it was the youngest of our neighbor family. As Joe waved to us, I commented how fast it seems he has grown, old enough to be out exploring on his own.
Children serve as a reminder of years — and time in general — rolling by faster than we otherwise would realize.
Walking to school
Shortly after we first moved here, we watched the oldest child of the Amish neighbor family walking to school. It seemed a fairly long walk for the solitary, tiny girl that Anna was then. The next year she was joined by her younger sister, and I knew their walk, together, would be more fun.
I was often reminded that summer was nearly over when Anna’s father came by to ask if his young daughters still had permission to cut across our farm to walk to their school. I recall those mornings when I looked up from my work to see tiny Anna and Lizzie appear over the western horizon, making their way across the farm fields, carrying their lunch boxes.
I often stepped out onto our deck, enjoying the distant sound of their chattering voices, if the wind was just right.
On their first day of school one year, our farm dog, Channing, decided to bark at them. I waved to the girls and tried to silence Channing, who chose that particular morning to decide that barking was fun.
I walked out and said good morning to the girls as they drew close, and I apologized for Channing’s barking.
“We are not afraid,” Anna said quite clearly.
I said, “I am glad you are not afraid, but Channing never barked at you last school year. Why do you think she is barking now?”
“It is because we are oh so much bigger this year!” Lizzie replied.
I thought that was a wise and wonderful answer, and I said so. She just nodded her little head and smiled at me. I watched the sisters skip on by on tiny bare feet, still about an hour from their arrival at school for the day.
Each year I have enjoyed watching the growth of the children as well as the changing numbers of those walking together. Anna and Lizzie are long grown, and Anna is now married with a baby of her own. Most of all, I have enjoyed the joyful start to the day our neighbor children share, happy to be on their way to another day.
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