A Kid’s Fort

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The past two days it’s been close to 100 degrees. The heat has slowed things down as summer comes to a close. But on the week before school starts my kids made a fort. I came home and saw a tent of bed sheets in the living room that occupied its center. My wife saw it from the street when she pulled up at night and she thought someone had covered all the furniture to repaint the room.

But it was the kind of fort kids build so they can go inside and fill it with their imaginations. They went all over the house to get chairs and barstools that would form the edges and the center post. Inside, the floor was padded with sleeping bags and pillows. My daughter dragged my laptop inside one day to watch some TV shows.

The next morning I crawled in it to drink my coffee. My son and daughter were there too, and we passed the time in the fort’s protection. Something like this isn’t going to keep anyone out. But for just a little bit it confines your thoughts in what feels like a safe place, and it lets you think the world outside isn’t there. For a while I imagined I didn’t have to go to work that day. The kids could think that school wouldn’t start next week and summer would just keep going.

Today the fort is gone. It’s been dismantled and the sheets have returned to the linen closet. We’ll have to hope for another time when days are long and empty, and there’s nothing to do but build a fort that will let you get away from those things you don’t want to think about.

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