When I was 8 we used to play in the garden- we made roads by dragging our fingers through the dirt- giant circles around the geraniums, the onions. Our Matchbox cars would power around and over jumps on their way to Nashville or wherever the Dukes of Hazard lived. Vroom noises and crashes where there were no victims except the occasional unlucky spider. We made houses out of cardboard dad had in the garage. The old Pall Mall boxes would wilt down in the wet soil. The popsicle stick roofs would tip off in the wind, but we didn't care. This is how we built things when we were children. There was no permanent tragedy, nothing that couldn't be refashioned under the geraniums tomorrow.
When I was 8, home plate was a worn place in the grass- where only the dirt showed through. First base was the pyracantha bush that grew berries in the summer and would catch your shirt with its thorny branches if you did more than brush by it with an open hand. Second base was the birch tree- the one that was missing most of its paper skin around the middle where we'd grab for safety from desperate tags. Third base was a glove, or a hat. We all hated third base because it moved. Third base was fickle, but could take a good slide. This is how we built things when we were children. In our backyards with what we had, with rules that were understood.
When I was 8, we colored with crayons. Dad brought us home reams of heavy white paper from his job and we all had clipboards on which to design our masterpieces. Landscapes or cars or hot air balloons- all filled with happy people and sunshine and butterflies. Even the car pictures had butterflies. Because this is how we built things when we were children- out of purple and burnt sienna and gold and silver. Out of sunshine and forever smiles.