Playing Chess with Darcy.

It snowed last night.  A couple of inches.  Steph went out for a run at about eight and came back with snow in her hair and her eyes flashing.

“Lake Calhoun was gorgeous!” She said.  “And nobody was out running!  It was just me and my friend!”

After careful thought, it is possible that nobody was out running because it was snowing outside.  I checked on the Google, and that is one of the possibilities.

And if so, those of us who stayed inside instead of running around the lake were more likely to be warm, if less likely to admire the lights strung around the running path on the lake.

“You could see their reflection in the water!” Steph said, “A double path of lights, all the way around the lake!”

Steph is right.  Lake Calhoun is super pretty at night when the snow is falling and it is April.  But I stayed in bed.


It turned out to be a spectacular day, though.  Really clear and pretty.  Perfect temperature.  The buds are starting to come in on the trees.  Springtime in Minneapolis is really exciting.

Once, when Steph and I were biking through Malta, Idaho, we stopped to camp on a baseball diamond.  Nice green grass in the middle of the desert.  We could see the sprinklers marching across the field when we set up our tents, so we purposefully picked a campsite off of the green grass so that we would not get shot by accident.  We had been riding a long time, so as soon as we set up the tent Steph and I went to bed pretty quickly.  It was a warm night, so we left the rain fly off the tent and drifted off to the sound of the sprinklers and the soft glow of about a hundred and fifty stars brave enough to shine during sunset.

Anyway, at about three o’clock in the morning, the sprinklers hidden next to our tent rose up out of the grass and shot us.  We went from REM sleep to five alarm emergency in about two seconds flat.  We had to unzip the tent, fall out of the doorway, and drag our stuff to a safe place, all while being shot at with a freezing cold sprinkler.

After Steph and I moved the tent to a safe place, and hung our sleeping bags on some benches nearby to dry we laid down on the baseball diamond and looked up.

There were approximately one hundred billion stars.  The entire Milky Way spread out above us, a tapestry of light.  

Good sprinklers.

Darcy is a bit of a chess savant.  

I played chess with Darcy tonight.  Darcy is three, and she is a bit of a chess savant, in that she knows that putting people in check is good, and taking pieces is better.  Darcy is not limited by any of the other norms of  chess.

For example, all of Darcy’s pieces can move anywhere they want to, and take any piece that they have a hankering to take.  Sometimes Darcy takes one of her own pieces.  If Darcy makes a particularly good move, she will say “Check!” and glare at you with a devilish smile.

Grant, who is more of a chess traditionalist, cannot stand watching Darcy play.  “Darcy!” he says, “You cannot do that!  The pawns do not move that way”

Darcy shoots Grant a withering glare.  “You are NOT playing!” she says.

And, if you think about it, all three of us are playing different games.  Darcy is moving pieces and saying words, and she loves it because she feels like one of the gang.  Grant is playing chess because it is fun, and because most of the games are real nail-biters. And I am playing chess so that I can hang out with Grant and Darcy.  And because it is loads of fun.

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