tales from the sandbox

In a quiet corner by our house, abutting our neighbor’s property, there is a little sandbox. It’s nothing fancy: four corners and some sand. Every neighborhood has one, and this space is where childhood unfolds. This is the place I bring my son when tragedy strikes (a favorite toy breaks, we run out of special sauce for his chicken nuggets, what have you). He sits along the shady edges to reflect on his day. He takes his anger out with shovels and hoes.

He squats down, intently focused, and picks rocks and leaves that have intertwined with the soft, chalky sand.

Buried treasure lies beneath these grains. Mini cars and big-wheeled trucks explore these crevices. Little hills turn into vast dunes and deserts. Imagination is unleashed in this square space.

Neighbors gather across the fence. The kids jabber while the parents swap fresh produce, bottled goods and area secrets. It was in this very spot that I realized my neighbor was more than the person who lived next door. She was my friend.

This is where I catch rabbits scampering. That chair is where I nurse my baby. I’m certain that my dogs have peed here a time or two, rebelling after I was gone too long.

The sandbox is special, and I know it will be here for years to come, long after the kids have lost interest. When they’ve gone off to college and left me with an empty house, tales from the sandbox will ring through my ears.

Do you have a place where gossip is shared and memories are made? What neighborhood spot is special to you?

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