Chalk it up to children to find a way to coax sunshine out of a cloud of gloom.

Look down when you walk around town and their chalk messages will pick you up like finding a $5 bill in a pile of leaves wedged against a curb.

“Spread the Rainbow” arched over a rainbow, an enthusiastic “You can do this!” and a drawing that shows two neighbors waving hello with a 6-foot line measuring the distance between them are among just a few of the creative chalk messages that have popped up in our community, likely courtesy of children and their parents.

Younger kids probably aren’t paying attention to news reports about COVID-19 death rates, but they pick up on adult stress vibes easily and also have had to drastically change their routines. They can’t see their friends, they can’t play on public playgrounds, they can’t visit grandparents, they can’t go to school — the list goes on and on.

Taking to the outdoors with sidewalk chalk, though, is not just something fun for kids to do; it’s inspirational for adults to run across as they try to get fresh air and exercise during this ongoing pandemic. One sidewalk even offered a cardiac challenge: a 50-square hopscotch.

Just as thoughts of work or no work, the status of loved ones, and the long-term effects of the outbreak percolate, you look down and it’s as if a gift has surfaced there.

Let’s all adapt the attitude of hope that so many have taken to the streets with. Encourage each other, help out, be good listeners and remember to laugh. Maybe this chalk riddle found on a park path will help: “Why did the student eat her homework?” Answer: “Because Mom said it was a piece of cake.”

Everyone needs a dose of sunshine and silliness, so embrace it when you find it during these tough days.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE MANKATO FREE PRESS