After Mass today, we stopped at a local high school to check out the new track and football field they had recently built. When we pulled up in the van and opened the doors, the kids leaped joyfully from their seats and ran onto the field.
The baby was napping, so instead of joining them, I stayed in the van and watched.
The air was cold, but the sky was clear and the midday sun shone brightly down upon my gang of shouting children. Their winter coats splashed blue, red, and orange against the bright green field and cloudless sky.
The big boys sprinted, side by side for the full 100 yards, and then fell laughingly to the turf. Juliette hiked up her skirt a bit and skipped cheerfully in the open air as Gabrielle galloped along behind. An icy wind whipped through Gabby’s hair and swallowed her gleeful shouts, but I could see her small face, grinning and glowing in the bright sun.
Raphael was the littlest one, a small dot of navy blue on the opposite end of the field. I watched as he raised one arm above his head, gave a yell, and began to run. His legs worked steadily, puffing along behind his brothers. Small arms pumped purposefully at his sides. As he came closer, I could make out more clearly the details of his face. His eyes squinted in the sun. His mouth was open — panting, shouting, laughing.
I know that heaven knows no earthly comparison. But on days like this, I can’t help but wonder if it might feel a little bit like cool wind warmed by sunshine. Or if it might sound something like a joyful shout carried across an open field and look a little like a small girl’s wind-whipped hair, tousled and tangled. Or if it might taste like a boy’s sun-kissed face, fresh and flushed, when he climbs back into the van and hugs me.