Okay, I know this will sound kinda bad, but I have to admit that I dread summer a little, because all of our usual haunts become VERY crowded. The parks are jam packed, the pool is a sea of small wet bodies, there’s kids darting out from behind the cereal boxes at the grocery store. It about does me in sometimes.
It isn’t that I don’t like kids, I love them, it’s that there’s just so many of them running in every direction!
I’m certain one is going to get lost or I’m going to back into one in a parking lot, or one will wander off into the deep end. I guess it’s just the mother in me, the one that stands up straighter, comes to attention at the sound of a baby’s cry even though all of mine are well past that stage. All these kids darting about makes this worrisome mama kind of twitchy! Maybe it’s the heat.
Anyhow, we’ve found this one place that’s completely deserted during the summer… this one fun little spot, just a short bike ride away. It’s like a secret oasis that we have all to ourselves when the summer madness gets to be too much.
Can you guess where?
The school down the street is so blissfully quiet that the only sound you hear is the rope flapping against the flagpole.
We pack up some snacks, lots of water, shovels, books, and matchbox cars, and we pedal down the road. My boys think it’s endlessly entertaining that they only go to school when no one else is there. They like to make jokes about how they are “backwards” (I tell them not to say this too loudly), or how they go to school with no shoes on, “like in the olden days.”
They race their cars down the slides,
and they play out vehicular dramas in the sand
They swing and slide some too. When they get tired, they lay on their backs and we find pictures in the woolen clouds above, or they close their eyes and float on the waterfall sound of the wind, chasing it’s tail through leaves.
Then, my backwards, barefooted bunch darts off again, and I stick my nose back into my book.
I find it kind of funny that I’m still that girl… back against the playground fence, lost in the pages of a story.
Our spot is quiet. Still. Just like the aisles of my grocery store will be again, once more, after Labor Day 🙂
Incidentally, the book, The Underneath
, is beyond wonderful. I might be particularly biased because it’s set amongst the red dirt and pine trees of my beloved East Texas, but it’s beauty goes beyond that.
It’s lyrical, poetic, fluid and dreamy. It is so much more than you’d expect from a children’s book, but exactly what you’d hope for in one. I sometimes get so fully disheartened by the drivel that is marketed towards growing young minds, but this book… this one is special.
I haven’t finished it, and I haven’t yet decided if it’s maybe a bit much for my littles right now, but I can tell you that I, myself, love it. Love it. Love it. LOVE IT. This is a book that you hear, smell, and feel – you glide, warm and drowsy down it’s river. You find your legs tangled in it’s vining twists. The tale is dark, and endearing and delicious.
Grab a copy and find yourself a deserted schoolyard!