As you leave the front door to our building, you run smack dab into a parking lot road, backed by a trash dump. The road is lined by a fence, on the other side of which is an abused tennis court that now passes for a neighborhood soccer field. I often wish I had fields of wheat or forest or mountain meadows in that place, somewhere my kids could run and play in the sunshine and dirt all hours of the day. But when I look at what we do have, even with the limitations apartment life brings, I am so thankful.
There are places here and there, around corners of buildings and up against dividing fences, where a small grove of trees is allowed to grow. And this, accompanied by bits and pieces of abandoned furniture from the trash heap, or broken lamps and piles of pine needles, is the making of hours of afternoon fun.
Because what we are not lacking here, whatever landscape is absent, is the company of good friends. I could go on and on about these little people, this small band of nationalities and backgrounds that has gathered here for who knows how long, because they are an astounding bunch of kids. Not without their issues and problems mind you, but they are a blessing in this place that is barren of so much.
They are kids. So they tease and say unkind things sometimes. They are impatient and impetuous. They rule each other and sometimes a bit ruthlessly. But they are also considerate, and inclusive, they are smart and creative, they love the sunshine and fresh air and seem not to tire of the same company day after day. They are a range of ages and it's so sweet to watch the older ones innocently playing along with the group, almost unaware that they could sequester themselves off into an age bracket all their own.
It's no wonder that when the weather permits, and often even when it doesn't, my kids are begging to go outside, to run up and ring the neighbor's doorbell, to hunt down whoever is willing and able to come out to play.
And happily, there is rarely a day when no one can be found.
For other photos on this week's theme of how you (or your children) "escape", click on over to The View From Here Photo Challenge, and feel free to join in and share a photo as well!