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On Not Wasting the Sun

This lady and I are pushing swings next to each other at Montclair Park. Second week in the row that we’ve seen her. Her granddaughter’s name is Renny, which I find adorable. Renny’s grandma proclaims—for the fourth time in half as many meetings—“I’ve never known anyone named Cayden before. Such a nice name, Cayden. “ The lady wears a wide-brimmed visor and high-waisted pants. She has short grey hair and never ceases smiling this contemplative grin, which matches her eyes, surprisingly un-tracked by crows; she has no worries.

At the top of her swing, Renny shouts down to me: “This is my friend, Grandma!”

As she descends, legs-splayed and scabby-kneed, I tell her: “My grandma’s my friend, too!”

We keep on swinging. I’ve got double-duty pushing both Finn and Cayde. It’s getting near five, and Mama will be home soon.

Cayde shouts excitedly. “Daddy–I see solar panels!” Which are on the hillside beyond the park’s chain-link fence, adjacent to a house that has a view of us and Renny swinging.

“They’re getting energy from the sun, Daddy,” and Cayde goes on an on and may as well have explained the entire Kreb’s cycle to me for as long as he elaborates the sun’s particular workings, the plants, the everything. I push Finn who just laughs.

Renny’s grandma tells Renny that she bets Cayden is fast. Because he’s seven. This is Cayden’s cue to take off running. Which he does, leaving an empty swing creaking its links. But–not being done with his second-grade dissertation on all things solar–Cayde shouts over his shoulder: “Daddy, we can’t waste the sun!”

I didn’t hear the sentence before that one, but that’s perfectly ok. Cayden bolts across the grass bare-footed and the solar panels are due to collect a few more hours.

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