Initiated by a request from my daughter that we do something outside and my own desire to take some fall foliage photographs, we decided to go on a hot chocolate picnic. Dad came with us and we headed out one of the canyons to see what we could find. Sage and dry grass covered most of the mountains, but there were pockets of color from aspens and maples dotting the hillsides. We drove up a dirt road, then hiked a ways until we were surrounded in yellow.How is it that the colors can really be so bright and beautiful it almost hurts your eyes? It seems to be Mother Nature's last big hurrah before her long, achromatic winter's sleep.
Summer is ending WAY too soon for me. I want to shake the calendar and say, "What's the deal??! It's only August??!" Already, our mornings and nights are cool and I've even spotted a few leaves turning color. I'm definitely NOT ready! The lower angle of sunlight coming through the windows instinctively makes me think planners, notebooks and school supplies, but the warmth of midday and fading of August keeps pulling us outside. So, I'm conflicted... hot chocolate vs. lemonade, fuzzy socks vs. flip-flops, lessons vs. lakes... and conflict makes me feel stressed. Not so much in a bad way, just feeling pulled in opposite directions.
Not that we haven't had our share of "bad" stress around here. My boys have taken care of that. A week ago, my oldest was standing on the edge of the pool and called out, "Mom, look, I'm gonna do a back flip!" Before, I could protest, he made his jump, but I could clearly see that he hadn't given himself enough room. As he arched under the water, he smashed his head into the wall, coming up with a huge gash in his forehead, exposing his white skull and blood running down his face. Several hours at the emergency room later, we were back at home with new stitches and gray hairs to show for it.
A few days later, the kids were in the backyard inspecting the new studio we're having built. Through a complex series of circumstances, too lengthy to explain, a board with an exposed nail, fell on my youngest son's big toe and went right through it and then bounced out. Fortunately, it didn't hit a bone, but it bled quite a bit. More doctors, more gray hairs.
My middle son broke his wrist earlier in the summer, so that rounds it out for the boys. My daughter is no stranger to stitches or broken bones herself, but so far she's been left out of the damages. I'll keep knocking on wood though ;)
Other goings on.... golf lessons for the whole family, wildfires, family coming to visit, a short weekend getaway, and Harry Potter #7 to finish. September can take it's time.
I remember a time in elementary school. We were going through some dreary lesson when, outside, without warning, the sky turned gray and small raindrops grew from little pitter-patters to big slapping sounds. All the kids ran to the windows, in awe of what was going on outside, while our irritated teacher, looking at the empty chairs grumbled to us, "It's only rain, we've all seen it before!" As a kid, I never understood how she wouldn't want to run over to the window, too, and take in the drama. Did she just not appreciate it or was it because she was a grown-up wearied of another rainstorm?
Well, here I am, a "grown-up" now, and I was reminded of that teacher today, as the kids were constantly tempted outside by the warm sun coming through the windows. I was happy to suspend school and chores to let them run around and soak it all in, to me that's what childhood is all about. I admit there's part of me that got frustrated thinking we weren't going to accomplish much today, but when I remembered that worn-out expression on my teacher's face in contrast to all the wonder-struck smiles on my classmates I thought, "huh-uh", that's not going to be me. I don't ever want to turn into that dull, jaded teacher of mine. So, I grabbed my camera, slid on my flip-flops and stepped out into the sunshine to take a few photos to preserve the day.