Saturday, September 07, 2002

Play In the Garden

Today we bark. Though the landscaping was declared complete, there are, of course, finishing touches. All week I have, with help, been adding trees and shrubs. We moved the horse water trough up from the corral and in to our secret garden. It is now a huge, raised strawberry bed. And the barrels I carted home last spring are set to be filled with flowers and seeds. Alex helped me place a bird bath and hang our "Bless The Harvest" angel. And today, before Geoff heads in to the office, we are going to Home Depot to buy bark to lay in the playset area. We have encircled the fort, swings and slide with a rock wall; the rocks were set to serve as seats and tables, and they will also hold in the bark. We left a space for an arbor and climbing rose, and there are also some of the barrels between the rocks. The space is shaping up to be cozy, inviting and a fun place to be. It is nice to provide children with room to play that reflects the respect and caring we feel for them.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Roll of Thunder Hear My Laughter

Most excellent weather; not for swimming, but for breaking the tension of months of heat, dry weather and disappearing reservoirs. The sky has been like an omnimax theater presentation of outrageous cloud formations and movement. It has been scorchingly hot. The air has been clinging to the back of my shirt, and under my bra, like damp Saran wrap. Yesterday we waited for rain. We could smell it coming, but the dark and churning clouds only released sporadic little drops, and left us gasping for more. Today the relief has come in satisfying bursts of genuine rainfall. There has been lightning and thunder that rolls across the sky and under the floor boards, shaking the house and us in it. It's deep down fun to be working in the yard, hot and dirty, and feel the initial drops, and to know that the cool breeze, the charge in the air and the dimming light are sure signs that rain is at last coming. The first thunder clap brought forth a scream and laughter from me; not from fear, but from the sheer exhilaration and joy of the energy moving through the air.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Keep a Little Summer All Through The Year

The boys are sitting at the breakfast table. They have pens, pencils and sheets of computer paper. They are creating worlds and buildings, lines and dots. They shade and contour; they divine perspective. They are drawing Space Hotels.

Today is their last day of summer. Tomorrow we return to structured learning, text books, schedules, long faces and groans. Most of the time they project an exceptional enthusiasm, but I think some moaning over sheets of arithmetic, essays and rote memorization just goes with the territory, and it's no wonder; they have spent a summer free to explore and follow the sun. We've played outside until dark. We've risen with the first light and crowing of the rooster. They have explored the farthest reaches of their yard, caught lizards, beetles and moon beams. They've been swimming, and hiking, biking and filming.

I suppose I will groan a little too. I don't relish returning to strict bedtimes, and shorter days. It won't be as much fun to add up numbers on paper, as it was to count the seeds in a flower head or the stars in the sky. I have heard people discount the hours of summer for its lack of structure and the time away from the classroom. Life is far too interesting and varied to ever be 'wasted' when it is spent playing, imagining, and sharing thoughts and dreams with people. Summer is processing time; an opportunity to apply theories and develop new inventions. It is a time to become familiar with our senses, and trust our own voices. I think I'll keep a little bit of Summer close at hand. And I will praise the boys and all they have learned and tried and shared in their own learning places.

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Forces of Nature

1. water is added to the pool immediately after plastering
2. water aides in the curing of the plaster
3. our pool began to fill at 11:30 a.m., Friday
4. our pool was full at 3:00 a.m., Saturday
5. the water is murky; due to the plaster, and water quality
6. we are running the water through the filter
7. it is clearing
8. yesterday was the hottest day
9. some people suggest waiting a week, before swimming

So, now we are all caught up on the minor details.

Yesterday we sat around the pool, and lamented the lag time when we 'shouldn't swim. ' Holly, Rich Nicholas, Ruth and Corm spent the night, and so we all woke up to a full pool, sparkling in the morning light. Eventually we reasoned that no harm could come from simply dangling our feet in the water. Geoff brushed the sides of the pool, as per instructions. We swished our feet in the cold water, and talked about plans for the day.

Later, the visitors were gone, and I took over brushing the pool sides. It was necessity that caused me to descend to the bench in the deep end; there was a spot that needed particularly concentrated brushing. The bench was firm, and I was careful not to dig any sharp objects (knives, bayonets, shark's teeth, diamonds) in to the plaster.

My legs were immersed in the still cold water, and I was diligently doing my work. Then, quite without warning, a force of aquatic magnitude caused my legs to propel my body up and forward, over the greatest depth of the pool. Even with all of my faculties and strength I was unable to run backwards in mid air and return to the safety of the bench! And this is the true story of how I ended up, fully dressed, and prematurely, in the middle of our pool. Though Alex was also fully dressed he willingly jumped in and offered to rescue me. William, equally thoughtful, followed.

After about half an hour, Alex asked "What if Carter (Mission Pools' illustrious foreman) comes and sees us in the pool?"

I answered confidently, "No problem. I fell in. You tried to save me. William tried to save you. And daddy went to get help. And then we'll say 'Carter! You're just in time to rescue us!' "

It was an hour or more before the aquatic forces released us and we were able to swim for shore.