Spring is here, summer is sneaking up quietly behind. I can feel the warmth of summer on my back. The long days of summer, I am eager for them to start. It has been an unusually cruel and brutal winter it seems to me, a never ending stream of dark days. The sun it seemed had abandoned us.
Then the temperature changed and so did my feelings. I could feel that kid in me again, as my joints warmed up in the sun. I was back, back to a time where my body was never sore, where my joints never ached, back to a time where I could run and jump and skip and seemingly all at the same time.
My pixie cut head bleached by the sun, I reveled in the summer months playing trucks in the sand that seemed to form by the curb of the sidewalks. I took my trike out for a spin up and down the sidewalk, my mother making sure I was safe even though at the time there was never it seemed a car in sight.
I called on my friend Dawn and we played from morning till night, cowboys and Indians when such a game would not be politically incorrect but just a game that kids played.
I could spend hours with pie plates and dirt. Making molds of mud, pouring and adding and filling and pounding. Clay squishing through your fingers, it went everywhere, splat here, splat there, the driveway covered in mud.
Then there were the rain dances. I can still feel in my body the absolute joy of those dances in my friend’s side yard. We would grab hold of a tree with one arm and hoop and holler, yodel and yell, skipping and jumping up and down in an ancient yet childish dance for rain. The wind would pick up and funnels of dirt and sand and tiny stones would swirl around us as we chanted and sang verses calling on the gods to bring us rain. The clouds would gather in the distance and my friend Dawn and I would look at one another and smile and away we would go again with the same sing song praying for rain as we danced around the tree. We would then see lightning in the sky and we would both scream in terror or joy … did we do that? When the rain finally came we would laugh and yell and continue our dancing until we were called in by our parents.
Oh the simple joys of being a child and embracing the absolute freedom of summer and its magic, the trips to the park, swinging up into the sky, trying to touch the clouds. I would go to the pond with a mason jar and try to catch tadpoles. Some days were spent just lying in the sweet soft grass in my back yard looking up at the sky and daydreaming for hours. There was no rush, no phones, no video games, the pace was slow. The summer it seemed to me lasted a lifetime when I was a child.
My body in constant motion, sun baked skin, bruises and scrapes on my knees. All signs of unbridled freedom, to explore and just be a kid. When you were hungry you ate. When you were tired you slept. There were no rules. Summer gardens flourished and so did we, us kids, growing up when we did. Our parents never seemed concerned when we were gone for hours on end.
I still enjoy the mud pies although I have expanded on the theme somewhat and can spend hours in my garden, digging and planting. Often when I am at work in the garden those vivid memories come back to me of playing in the dirt, the soil our great mother earth. I smile and am thankful for that opportunity I had so many years ago to be one with nature and to be totally engrossed in the magic of summer.
Although I don’t do any rain dances anymore I know that child in me can still enjoy the pleasure of sharing such a moment with a friend. Moments that encompasses man and nature. moments when those two entities seem to be one.
It’s those amazing memories that endeavor to show you just how truly connected you are to the child that roamed the neighborhood, much like the ancient dinosaur. That child still lives in you, embrace her and don’t ever let her become extinct.