For two little girls whose idea of outside time is a walk down the street to the park situated directly under the el tracks, who never wander outside the watchful eye of their mother, or father, this relative unrestricted access to the outdoors must be pure heaven.
Within minutes Mary and Kate had figured out how to open both the back and front doors, and discovered that a lovely loop could be made by running out the front door, across the porch and round the side of the house to the back patio where one could meet their sister who had gone round the other side. The timing was perfect, doors equidistant so as to meet each other having covered just about the same amount of yard. And the yard, landscaped as if it was a hide and go seek playing field, just the right nooks and out of the ways to allow for decent hiding but nothing too frightening, never having been left and not found.
Apparently there is some innate inner child sense, when faced with a door and a back yard one must run and spend as much time outdoors as possible. From my perch in the kitchen, peering out from the beautiful window over the sink, a place I have long dreamed of, I could see a flash go by, often a wet bathing suit covered flash, racing to the front yard to find a lacrosse ball, or a slower trot chasing a small butterfly. Mary appeared one day with a small green caterpillar on her hand, Kate following behind with a bug jar, soon to be full of fireflies, leaves, sticks and ants. They serenaded the neighborhood from the front porch, a perfect stage for two melodic voices who just happen to know all the words to every song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
And one afternoon, the beautiful yard became the perfect place to stretch out and have an nap, something I dream of, but certainly resisted had it been offered at four.
Not this one, a lazy stretch and she was back running, refreshed.