IMG_0687.JPGThe boys finally started school, which is good because they were damn near ready to kill each other by Sept. 9. I love the solitude of my empty apartment but the beginning of school makes for logistical hell: after-school program or babysitting? who is doing pick-up? where is the soccer practice? when is the soccer game? what time is that meeting? where are the lunch-boxes? can you get from 20th and 2nd to Houston and Ave D in 25 minutes (barely); who has the metro card and are there any swipes left on it? (O for the days of tokens, when you knew exactly how many rides you had left with a jiggle of your coin purse.)

Pretty much the only thing Husband and I have talked about in the last week or so has to do with logistics or the cost of having our kids in “free” public schools (let’s not even get started on school supplies, shall we?)

So the other day as I hustled Liam to a playdate on the other side of Union Square,listening to Liam with about 1/3 of my attention and making lists and plans with the rest of my mind, I got one of those reminders that the city sometimes puts in our paths–lessons that we don’t even know we need: in this case, a sand painter hard at work. He wasn’t following a pre-set design but was just streaming colored sand onto the asphalt in complex patterns and shapes. When I walked by the first time (the picture at the top of this post), I thought the painter must be close to finished.

But I was wrong–the painting was much more elaborate by the time I brought Liam home from his friend’s house, and the artist was standing to one side looking down at his work, while sweat dripped down his face. He’d spent the better part of a day focused only on his design, which would vanish as soon as the weather changed (and, in fact, it rained the next day).

Okay, so I can’t chuck everything, pull a Bruce Chatwin, and head to Australia to follow the songlines, but I can (occasionally) give my kids all my attention; I can remind myself that the logistics always (mostly) have a way of working out; I can take a deep breath and remind myself to be here now.