Summer Snow

Drifting cottonwood seeds and sunlight turned the backyard into a summer snowstorm. The boy walked about the yard and finished his cup of water. "Don't you have chores to do?" said his mother. "Homework?"

"Done them," he said. He stopped walking and stared into his cup. "A seed fell in my cup."

"So dump it out," said his mother. He didn't answer, instead walking around the yard in a zigzag, holding out his cup. "What are you doing?" she asked.

"Catching seeds, Mom."

"But why?" she said. "Why not do something useful?"

"I dunno," he said.

"You could be studying, or practicing your piano," she said, but he kept catching seeds in the backyard.

"If you move the cup to catch a seed," he said, "the seed moves. You have to put the cup where the seed is already going."

"I'm glad you're developing strategies for something useless."

After a half-hour, he dumped the seeds out. "After all that, you just throw them away?"

"I wasn't catching them to have them, Mom," said the boy. He handed her the cup and went inside. A few seeds clung to the damp inside, and she looked from them into the summer snow.