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Articles About Childhood
When I was six — and eight, and 10, but never again after then — I made valentines for everybody in my class. Everybody did. The rule was that you liked everybody, even those you suspected you didn’t like.
Does it have to be said? There is only one way. Only one Earth, only one home. A blue-green marble spinning in space. A reclaimed farm, a re-meandered stream. A deeply grooved old cottonwood growing up from the middle of a marsh.
We took the long way around Ellis Pond, stopping to observe a kingfisher pair. Big dark heads, a call like a rattle and wings that opened smartly as scissors. We looked for the Great Blue Heron, but didn’t see him — or her — solitary dweller in the stream and weeds.
And that’s how childhood seems to me, a place more than a time. I still dream about certain things: the creek, the cherry tree in the backyard, the concrete front stoop that was a clean, if somewhat bumpy, slate for drawing.
A winter garden holds as much spring as spring itself, the way the pause before speech holds as much speech as the flow of words that follows.
The first time I headed to the polls, I was six. It was 1980, a watershed year in national politics, and my elementary school held a mock-contest among the three candidates.