"And down and down and down," the toddler's mother sings as he clears every ledge. Midway we cross their path. In rain, the museum's steps loom like the Giant's Stairway to Guardi's Ducal Palace. "And up and up and up" is what I do not say as you stagger for balance. Once I'd scaled that summit, hunted over the crowd, and saw you below, holding two hot dogs and white roses; you vaulted, took the steps two at a time, then three, and leaped to where we met. Your smile is broader now. You see more. On this day of wavering, we hear a Triton blow the horn where Giotto's Magi open hands that rise in air: up, and up, and up.
Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright © 2002 by Grace Schulman. All rights reserved.