Tuesday, February 6, 2007
They are leaning over the edge of the roof, looking down at the railroad tracks, down at the hollyhocks ranging over the brick wall, down at a big puddle left over from the rain. It's a thrill to look over the edge and imagine themselves falling. The roof is a huge flat expanse of black tar that squishes underfoot and leaves black marks on the pads of their bare feet. Today the roof is burning in the sun and they had to run until they reached the edge and a four foot high wall that makes a cool shadow to stand in. There are piles of leaves blown into the corner and they crunch these with their toes. The oldest girl has brought an old shoebox full of seeds from a tree. The seeds have little wings on them and they call them whirly-birds or helicopters. She and her little sister have been collecting them for a long time and now they are all nicely dried and ready to fly. The little one reaches into the box and throws out just one. It spins around fast but goes down slowly, just floating on the air. They throw them out one by one for awhile and then start tossing handfuls. A flock of seed birds, spinning off in different eddys of air before making their lazy way to the ground. It is a warm, quiet summer day and the sisters don't talk about anything except to say "Hey, look at that one!" and a long "Awwwwwww" when they see that the box is finally empty. They look back over the edge, feeling sad and satisfied, as the last of the whirlybirds go spinning down.