Her name said everything about her.

Chloe-A young, green shoot. Full of life.

When I first met her it was the deadest part of the winter. I was cutting through the park

on the way home from work. I usually stayed home on Saturdays but duty always calls

for a successful lawyer. But even the most successful female lawyer has car trouble and

is reduced to trudging through the park to the bus stop.

A voice cut through the frigid air to my ears. I stopped and detoured toward the

abandoned playground. She was swinging- soaring up towards the sky then plummetting

back to earth. Her voice was raised in joyous song. She was not a child. Perhaps she

was twenty-two or twenty-three years old; but she had a child's playful spirit. When she

saw me she waved excitedly even though she didn't know me. When the swing reached

its peak she jumped. For a moment she flew, arms stretched wide embracing the wintry

sky, the air dotted with snowflakes. Then she landed, hands and feet on the ground.

Tossing her black hair behind her shoulder, she laughed. And her laugh split the freezing

air into a thousand whispering shards that flew away on the wind.

"Isn't it the most wonderful day?" she called to me. I shrugged, not caring for the cold.

She began to walk lightly at my side. "I came out this morning to feed the pigeons and

the squirrels." she said, her cheeks and nose red from the chill, "But they are all hidden

away from the snow. So I came here to the park to play with the children. But they are

all at home. I began to think about flying home to a snug nest where my family would

care for me. See that hole in that tree?" she asked, pointing to a hollow in a bare oak.

"A family of birds lives there in spring. Last year I watched the mother teach her babies

how to fly. Don't you think it would be just glorious to fly?" She spun around, arms


"Perhaps, to fly south where I could hibernate." I replied, warmed slightly by her spirit.

"Be careful!" I gasped as her feet hit a patch of ice.

My warning came too late. Her feet flew over head and she landed flat on the ground. I

lunged to help her up. Chloe threw back her head and laughed. Again the dismal winter

air was shattered by her delicious laughter.

"I wish I could have seen that." she sighed, relaxing her body against the ground. "It

would have been so funny to see my feet give out. I flew there for a moment."

She sat up on her butt and spun around in circles on the slippery ice, hugging her knees

to her chest. Her merry laugh filled the air and I laughed too- at this playful girl who

could find so much joy in everything. Carefully, she stood and jumped onto the

sidewalk. As we walked to the bus stop together she blew on her hands to warm them,

then stuck them deep into the pockets of her black coat. The skeletons of the trees

stood silhouetted against the grey sky. Chloe tipped her head back and caught the white

snowflakes on her tongue.

The bus pulled up. She stopped to wish the driver a grand morning. The bus was

crowded. At the next stop a man with a prosthetic leg got on. Chloe jumped up.

"Sit here!" she said, "I like to ride standing up." The man smiled and took her seat.

Chloe grasped the silver bar in the aisle, dancing and twirling around it.

A man asked her what she did for a living.

"I make ballerinas." she said, glowing, "I have my own dance studio"

"Are you going there now?" I asked.

"I teach Ballet I and Pointe this afternoon"

"May I watch your classes?" I asked. I had things to do at home. There was paperwork

to be done, research to conduct, and dinner to fix. But something deep with in me

wanted to watch this wondrous girl with the eversmile teach.

Her school was small. As she unlocked the door a little girl- probably three years old-

ran up to her, dragging a man by the hand.

"Miss Chloe! Miss Chloe!" she shouted, golden curls bouncing aside her round face,

"This is my daddy"

They shook hands. The man left. Chloe led the girl inside. "My daddy's going to buy me

a present, Miss Chloe." the girl said, beaming. Then she cocked her head at her teacher.

"Does your daddy buy you presents"

"He did, Claire." Chloe said quietly, hanging her coat on a hook set in the wall.

"Why did he stop?" the child asked.

"Because," Chloe smiled softly and knelt down to Claire's level, "He's in heaven with my


The child's eyes grew large. I felt a bit surprised. I'm sure that the girl did too. Her brow

furrowed. "You mean they're dead?" she asked quietly. Chloe nodded. "Claire wrapped

her little arms around her neck. Small fingers tangling in her black hair, "If my mommy

and daddy were dead I would be sad forever. Why aren't you sad?" Then Chloe, so full

of the everlife laughed her everlaugh.

"Why should I be sad, Claire?" she whispered, "Look around you. See the beauty of the

world. Feel the love of God in your soul. Swing in the winter. Let the cold bite your

hands and face. Dance and feel the world move around and around you. Perform a

simple kindness for someone else. Sing and allow the joy of music to fill and overflow

you. Child, with so much joy and happiness and beauty in our world how can I not

dance and share it with every other person I can?"