Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thursday, or the day before Labor Day weekend officially begins

Thursday... Last day of August... You feel suspended between summer and fall. Between vacation and the school year. The long Labor Day weekend and a work day.

Of course, for me it shouldn't matter. I retired from teaching three and a half years ago. Holidays, school years -- what import do they have?

Because of Snowdrop, they've become significant once more. Her schedule this week is unusual because her school is closed until after Labor Day. And as I take her to this place or that, I feel that restlessness all around me -- of children with perhaps too much vacation behind them, even as they cling to the last scrap of play in the middle of a fine grand half autumnal, half summer day.

The school year, it turns out, anchors us all. Even as the drift in the interim, is not at all unpleasant!

My morning is, let's face it -- luxurious. I always wake up early, but honestly, I don't have to spring out of bed. And so I don't. I read. Ed reads. He dozes off, I read some more, I doze for just a few minutes, then, still in bed, I review the day before me. Such luxury!

In fact though, I'm so programmed to get going, that most often I nudge myself to get at it at a very early hour. Today, I drive over to the bakery to get fresh croissants for Snowdrop's snack, but hey, as long as I'm in the bakery at a dawnish hour I may as well pick up a few yummy croissants for us!

(You don't have to write and tell me that Ed's pinkie finger looks weird. I know it does. He mangled it in one of those Ed adventure episodes a very long time ago.)

farmette life-2.jpg

When I drive out to pick up Snowdrop, I encounter the sandhill cranes once more. So you're still here, you lovely birds! Are you telling me that we're still in the thick of summer rather than creeping into an early fall?

farmette life-5.jpg

And now I have this dilemma: what should I do with Snowdrop? Too cool for the pool. She's with me briefly today, so too little time for a protracted period of play at the farmhouse...

I have this idea, inspired by my Polish architect friend who just sent me an email with photos of a family hike in the Polish mountains of Bieszczady. Their four year old made it to a summit which frankly would have strained many among us.

So I'm thinking -- perhaps Snowdrop would enjoy training for a long hike?

I tell her we're heading for an adventure in Owen Park (yes, yes, I went there just yesterday). We will be hiking!

She looks puzzled, possibly because no one has ever used that word with her before.

I explain that I have a backpack, food, and good shoes. We will hike!

She is excited, even as she doesn't fully comprehend what's in store.

But she is a trusting child and if I say -- let's go down that trail! -- she will indeed saunter down that trail, happily embracing the unknown.

... With pauses to admire the bunny rabbits and the butterflies and the heavenly prairie flowers.

farmette life-14.jpg

(Here's that beautiful pond I first noticed yesterday...)

farmette life-26.jpg

But as luck would have it, toward the bottom of the hill, she develops a blister. A hiker's worst enemy! I suggest taking off her shoes. And she goes along, but still, she is uncertain as to her stamina at this point (and so am I).

We pause for a snack of fruit and croissant.

farmette life-28.jpg

She is revived somewhat, but still, there is the matter of a blistered foot and shoes that rub mercilessly against it.

Gaga, can you carry me?
You mean up that hill?
She snuggles into my arms to let me know that this is exactly what she has in mind.
Snowdrop, you are heavy... I would have to be very strong to carry you up that hill!
Gaga is good... -- she says in her sweetest voice.

Fine little one... Up we go!

My plan had been to take her then to a new playground, but she has other ideas: can we go to the zoo?
The zoo? I guess so... Do you want to see the polar bears?
No, I don't want to see the polar bears.
The giraffes?
No, I don't want to see the giraffes.
The lions? Tigers?
No I don't want to see the lions and the tigers.

I must say, at this point I am just immensely curious: what on earth do you want to do at the zoo if you do not like viewing the animals?

After a stroll through our small but serene zoo (well, mostly serene: on this Thursday before Labor Day, there are a lot of children here), I still do not have an answer to this question.

But I do know this much: when we get close to the merry-go-ground, and when she spies that it is open, she is one happy child!

farmette life-61.jpg

(The serene flamingos also cause her to smile.)

farmette life-65.jpg

Adventuring done for the day. I return her home and now Ed and I settle into our Thursday (end of) summer routines: a trip to the farmers market, where I discuss the corn prospects for a Labor Day supper.

 This is it, I'm told. Today, tomorrow... the end of the season.


Yes. In case you haven't noticed, summer is a thing of the past.