"That's why I said to bring the cash," I said.
"But five bucks each? We'd better take our time in there and enjoy it."
"Yep. Let's go."
Our daughters took the lead into the corn maze. They were both more excited about picking out pumpkins to take home than doing the maze, but plowed into it nonetheless. It felt good to do something somewhat normal around a holiday. Even masked up and keeping our distance from the other families that were visiting the pumpkin patch the week before Halloween.
I don't remember ever traversing a corn maze before. I loved mazes as a kid, though, buying maze books and completing each and every one. I even drew many of my own mazes for others to try their luck. But because this maze was made of drying corn stalks, my mind went to Stephen King's 1977 short story Children of the Corn (which was made into a cheesy movie in 1984) about a couple who end up in an abandoned Nebraska town inhabited by a cult of murderous children who worship a demon that lives in the local cornfields.
You know, just your basic King horror story. Oh, and like the snowed in hedge maze in the movie version of The Shining.
Anyway, there weren't any cults of murderous children, or a crazy man with an axe, just excited children working their way through the maze with their families like we were.
"Let's go this way!" Bryce called to us. "This way to the exit!"
"No, let's go this way," Amy said.
"No Mom! This way!" Beatrice cried out.
"We're going to take our time and get our money's worth," Amy said.
"So, just stay lost in the maze you mean," I said.
But our girls weren't having any of that. Both Bryce and Beatrice picked one path after another, backtracking and trying new ones after we hit dead ends. It was a beautiful fall day, mild, blue sky and sun, the ocean in view beyond the corn field. We wound through the maze and then -- presto -- Bea and Bryce shimmied through a break in the corn to the exit.
"I don't think that was actually the way," I said. It had only been about 10 minutes total time in the maze.
"Yes, it's the way out," Bryce said, running with her sister toward the pumpkin patch.
"I think we were supposed to go back around that way to get to the exit," I said, pointing behind me.
But the girls were gone. Amy and I followed them into the pumpkins beyond. They searched and searched until they found the ones we wanted, ignoring most of our recommendations. After we paid for the pumpkins and carted them back to our car, I glanced over at the corn maze.
This upside down crazy covid world has been one big frickin' corn maze from hell, I thought. One that we keep winding back and forth in, hitting dead end after dead end, with no exit in sight. Doing the same things every day to keep ourselves safe and well, limiting where we go and who we're around, but never really feeling like we're going anywhere, making any progress, getting beyond the repetitive doldrums while the world inverts dreams and reality like the Christopher Nolan move Inception. Our very souls chafe from this painful repetition, and all the hope and love in the world sometimes doesn't feel like enough for us all to see daylight.
Don't get me wrong -- we're grateful to be safe and well and know there's an exit eventually from this crazy maze. Until then we'll take the lead from our kids, their simple resilience mapping the way.
Other "Days of Coronavirus" posts: