Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1: Water Play

It was so hot today that they let school out early. Only in Maine! My neighbors across the street coped with the day's heat by laying out a tarp on a small hill in their back yard and running the hose to create a water slide of sorts. The four little boys, tanned and tow-headed from a summer spent on the beach and running around outside, happily slid down the wet tarp over and over. The youngest child, a little girl still young enough to play outside with no clothes on, wanted to join in. But soon she was crying. I looked over with some concern, but her mother explained--as she carried off the wet, naked baby--that the girl had slid too fast down the tarp and it scared her. By next summer she'll be old enough to join her brothers without tears, I'm sure.

I remember the first time I ever realized that a girl wasn't supposed to walk around without a shirt on. It was a hot summer day like this one, and I was seven years old. Without even thinking about it, I went outside to play with just shorts on. At some point, one of my friend's mother told me that I needed to put a shirt on because I was a girl. It made no sense to me, because my chest didn't look any different from a boy's chest. But, self-conscious, I went home and changed my clothes. And never went topless again. Except for the occasional skinny-dipping indulgence, which would have felt really nice on a day like this.

A simple cool-down:
four tan little boys, a tarp,
a hose, a back yard.

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