The sun is out. It is absolutely glorious.

Feels nothing like January. The skies are bright blue with streaks of white clouds.

These are the kinds of afternoons I relish when the dreary seems so far away.

These boys. The ones with the dirty knees…

They make the most of it. Four boys who play every school day in rain and sun. Their siblings, the Middle Schoolers, get out later so they take over a patch of grass. Last year they built a club house in the branches of an old tree but the school cut it down over the summer. Last year they were pirates, and kings, and had sword fights on the small tree branches. But this year when the tree was gone and they found new things to play farther back on this patch of grass.

Football, tag, professional wrestling, and million other things to pass the time. They argue. They make up. And laughter. So much laughter.

It’s a magical time where they can just be boys. Before lessons and practice start. Before homework needs to be done, and chores need to be finished. This time is theirs, where play reigns over any pixel filled screen. No one keeps score, no one is the winner, they just play. They are in that space where they are not little boys, but yet they are still little to me.

Magical boys.

Some times that 45 minutes seems like an eternity. The days where I’m tired and they are cranky. Where everyone is an expert, and they test me, or step in dog poop and get in the car. But today was blissful. The sun was out, they ran and fell and played. Four boys with grass stains and sweaty brows.

Next year two of them will not be there. They will be in class as the two younger ones wait. I know this time is fleeting.

But today…Today, I took this picture with the sun resting on my neck, freezing time with one of my favorite images. Of childhood. Of lifelong friends. Of brothers. Of dirty knees.

Someday I won’t sit in this car, with children at this school. Someday I won’t have 45 minutes to just watch them fall and tumble over each other in laughter. But today I did.

Grace who read with me in the car asked, “Is it really this warm today, for real life?”

Yep, magical unfiltered sunlight for real life…on a glorious January day with musical laughter.

Can you hear it?