Watching for Arthur, By Michael Edwards
“The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”
Spending time at the shore did feel like a cure, and we would have liked to stay. Back in land-locked Denver, we have tears and sweat at our disposal. I have to believe that fresh water will cure us just as well; the inundation of late afternoon thunder storms, the rushing creeks and rivers, even the left-over mud puddles, open for one last splash.
I set my computer screen with a Hokusai wave painting and we pore over our shells that still carry Atlantic sand. Is this attraction to big water just the yearning for something different? At the shore we still fought and fussed, grew weary of the wind and the sand that infiltrated our lunch. Wherever we go, we’ll be tethered by our bodies and brains, but when I dive under a wave some knot inside begins to loosen. I see that in the kids too – the sand and the salt and the sky bring something new to the surface. Their shoulders are more relaxed, their faces calm, hands and feet more sure.
Photo by Michael Edwards
This is the second summer that Sam has attended day camp at SPREE (South Platte River Environmental Education). I’ve been consistently impressed with their program, which involves lots of time playing in the river, as well as lessons in conservation, natural history, and environmental science. The campers are constantly learning, but without the constraints of traditional classroom structures and norms.
Today Sam came home with a ‘nature invention’ – a bug catcher made of two plastic bottles, connected by a cardboard tube, so that he could observe the bugs in action, but also give them a place to escape for shade and privacy. I love his invention because it’s an echo of his own personality. He loves action, but also needs quiet time for recharging his batteries.
Each day he’ll share some new bits of information about water conservation or animal behavior. And this afternoon, when his sister was repeatedly dumping her water bottle out on the sidewalk, he had no problem telling her that she was wasting water, and exactly why she should be more conservation minded (have I already mentioned how much I love eight-year-olds?). We also now know exactly how many gallons of water we go through with each load of laundry and running of the dishwasher, so all of us are working to make sure we run full loads.
The kids are all about the idea of wearing their clothes multiple times before washing them, but we’re treading a fine line between being environmentalists and being just plain stinky. At any rate, I appreciate Sam for reminding us to be more conscious of the resources and energy that we’re using each day, and I appreciate SPREE for helping him learn in a way that’s engaging and meaningful.
The poem and the photo sum up our trip to the ocean perfectly. Ocean waves, sand, shells, clouds – every element reminds me of how small we are. Thank you to Michael for the photograph that captured it all.
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina
maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)
and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and
milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;
and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and
may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
I’ve fallen in love with using this 180 millimeter macro lens on my camera. I want to get closer to everything, as if getting closer will help me see the essence of what it means to be here, to be alive.
I want to see the dirt under their fingernails, their crusty noses, and unkempt hair.
Not just the imperfect beauty of my children, but of anyone. Of any thing.
If I look a little closer, everything is rusty and peeling and asymmetrical.
As hard as I try, I can’t separate dying from living. The petals wilt just as the shutter snaps.
I think that black and white photos make messy houses look particularly beautiful. So if you’re exhausted at the end of the day, pick up your camera instead of the vacuum.
I heard there was an old blog wasting away at this domain address, so I thought I’d stroll by, take a peek. Yup, looks like it was pretty nice, back when someone was taking care of it on a regular basis. Decent structural elements, strong foundation, not too many broken windows… You know, with just a little paint, maybe pulling the weeds in the front yard, it could be a fine place to live.
And I don’t have to wait to move in. Here it is, open and ready to be loved. It doesn’t have to be shiny and perfect; I’m more in the market for comfortable, peaceful, and charming.
In that vein, our theme for June is Letting Go of Perfect. Bring on the wabi sabi, as we rebuild the Family Lab for Inquiry and Play!
We don’t need to get in to quotes from Proust, but I do love the idea of looking at the same old stuff, from a fresh perspective. Hanging out with a three-year-old might be the best way to help yourself transform the mundane to the amazing. Current not-to-be-missed favorite sightings include bunny slippers, a deconstructed baseball, and padlocks.
What’s caught your eye this week?
Have you tried anything new lately? Like climbing a sculpture, without your shoes?
I haven’t, but September seems like a good month to change that. And it seems like a good month to get back to photography and writing, as our schedules get a little more predicable.
As you head back to school, work, or other adventures, what are you trying that’s new to you?
All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.
Practically perfect in every way.
He likes to shake hands and dance.
His favorite place to hang out is under the dining room table.
He only barks when strangers come to the door.
He protects our yard from rabid squirrels.
He doesn’t eat shoes and he never digs holes in the yard or in the garden.