Yesterday I was late in picking up my son. When I got to the school, the playground was nearly empty. I saw him at once. He waved at me but continued to swing. Leaning back, his feet strain for the sky. When the swing begins its backward descent, he drops his head forward, his hair a curtain over his knees.
Just as I begin to lose patience, he makes a flying leap from his perch at its apogee. His legs pump air for a moment, then break his fall in the soft mulch. He rolls neatly onto his side and climbs quickly to his feet. He brushes his clothes and hoists his backpack to his shoulder.
As he comes toward me, the sunlight of the late fall afternoon catches in his hair.