It was a serendipitous moment, one I shared with some passersby outside of Peet’s Coffee & Tea on State Street as I waited for my California mother to join me in a calming cup of coffee and chat.
I had seen the two tween-aged boys (minus their masks) horsing around in front of Skate Works and guessed that something was afoot. When next I glanced their way, there were two boxes perched on a bench, two sets of feet protruding out from under.
I approached them and asked, “Do you speak, boxes?”
“Only to few,” replied the blue-eyed box.
Then I noticed two tween-aged girls coming around the corner. I put 2-plus-2 together. My laughter brought the girls’ glances toward the bench, and the boy-boxes sprung to action. The girls began to giggle and run away – only half-spiritedly, however. Pay dirt had arrived and all four were off to adventures.
The ending of my poem, “Blinds,” prompted by this charming moment of adolescent ardor, goes:
In climes of arid spirit,
Such are the unexpected moments to relish,
The ever-green epiphanies
Like Jacks-in-the-boxes on benches
Who, in their innocent ardor,
Charm more than their intended targets ...
If only they would remember such abandon
When they grow tall and slip on
less obvious masks.
I think this little slice-of-life represents the sense of comfort in community life that diminutive downtown Los Altos inspires. It was a heartening experience in many ways, not the least of which was the reminder that kids here are wonderfully spirited and privileged to be able to express those spirits freely and without a thought of fear as they follow their youthful instincts. They were a joy to behold, in all their innocence, ardor and freedom to be themselves.
Lenora Ferro is a writer from Portola Valley.