In the blink of an eye, winter melted away. We had a glorious week of sun and birdsong, and then the March rains came, leaving puddles in their wake. Although only a few last sad mounds of dirty snow remain, I’ve been sending the girls to school with their snow boots and snow pants every day. The schools are adamant on this point.
“Do you still really have to wear snow pants and boots at recess?” I asked Bean-girl every day last week.
“Even though there’s hardly any snow?”
“It’s because of the puddles,” Bean-girl informed me. Then she went on to tell me about the perilous water in the schoolyard. “There’s one puddle,” she told me, “that is sooo deep!” And she raised her hand to a level just below her chin.
“Wow,” I said, impressed. “How do you know it’s that deep?”
“Because my friend, Hadley, said so.”
“Hmmm,” I said. “And how did she know that it’s that deep? Did she measure it?”
“No. But she saw a boy stick his shoe partway in it. And he said, ‘I can’t feel the bottom!’ And he ran away.”
“Oh. You know, you could measure it with a stick.”
“We don’t play around puddles. I think you might get a white slip for doing that. And you could drown.”
It does make sense not to play around dirty water. But I smile to think of Bean-girl and her friends playing in this schoolyard of mystery and danger. Where fathomless pools of water lurk, immeasurable to any.