Two infant children play upon a patch of dusty, dry land, on a small public square in the heart of Islington. The first is a six-year-old mixed-race boy, complete with funky afro and flip-flops. With him is a long-haired Caucasian girl of similar age. Together they crouch down as their hands dig sticks into the ground; creating a haven of mess, while caring less about the stains it places upon their clothing. Now and again, they run back to two women enjoying a sun-kissed relaxing break; they must be friends outside this small, North London park area.
Moments later, a chirpy three-year-old leaves her Mother and friend, as they take their own momentary chill session. She instantly runs up to the two older kids, sits in-between them, and starts digging mysterious holes of her own; engaging in conversation with them as she does. For the next ten minutes, this makeshift gang of infants run amok together, as if they were best friends from birth; only the pigeons and a solitary Jack Russell, seem to be enjoying anywhere near as much excitement.
For these children, life, communication, and connection, are simple acts of instinct, from within our social animal. They have not yet learned the insidious powers of conscious thought, or become weary and protective from fear of our fellow man; due to the experience of disappointment, and other rough elements of adult life. They are free; even more so, because they do not realise, or consider they are. The colour, class, culture, aesthetics, odours, quirks, styles, and interests of others, and all social and personally conditioned ideas we pick up along the journey of life - are of zero importance to them... none. They just see other children, walk up to them, join in the fun and boom! Another new friend. It really is that simple.
I know as adults we cannot embrace each stranger like a long-term best friend; we need time to gather an idea of each person, and decide their uses and values in terms of our own paths. But where do we go from being young, free, innocent souls looking at the world like it's a never ending rainbow, to being the jaded, guarded, and slightly numb to it all adults we never really set out to be? Perhaps this is just me - too cynical to it all; people do still connect everyday, and always will. It just seems so much more work is needed to do so, then it needs to be. I mean, with a few exceptions, most people are not directly going out to screw each other over.
Regardless, these three children are free as birds; even those poncey pigeons. And, while we would be foolish to completely embrace the way they approach life, we would be wise not to completely ignore it too. After the older two kids leave, the little girl approaches a Chinese boy; engaging in a small conversation as his mum carries his feet along the ground like a puppet on a string. The adults barely say hello to one another…
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