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Searching for Summer

July 7, 2010

Drip drip the trees for all the country round,
And richness rare distills from every bough;
The wind alone it is makes every sound,
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.”
–   Henry David Thoreau, The Summer Rain

It is supposed to be summer.  Grey, “drimzee” (misty and drizzle) cool enough to wear a sweater and jeans and cozy boots. Waldorf speaks of everything in life breathing in and breathing out. Summer is a breathing out of the seasons,  children let loose, let out and let go to the freedom of summer and the relaxation. Conversely it’s  a breathing in for children’s learning as the information has time to sleep and the structured days to lie fallow, drawing inward in preparation for fall’s tasks. The high sun the, warmth and revelry of being outside in a blanket of sunshine are what we open our shutters each morning and longingly look outwards hoping to see.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, – and done a hundred things………..John Gillespie Magee

That is the song of summer. Unbridled joy of soaring. How do you meet that when it  isn’t there. Quiet drimzee days are welcome after long, hot, light filled days but we’ve had none of those from which to recover. My usual stance on summer is to laze  at home, beaches, pools and parks because we are out doing and driving everywhere the rest of the school year.  During summer especially I try hard to foster boredom.  Boredom requires a child to use their imagination, to look within to entertain, meet up with themselves in the mind so to speak. You can tell the children who are able to self entertained almost anywhere, they are the ones who can sit quietly and ponder, invent imaginary games, gather other children to play a new version of tag, manage a long line, or other waiting ; they are usually the ones who grow up and can think outside the box. My usual answer to “I’m bored” is ‘Oh Really? are you sure? there is folding, and dusting, I can find something for you to do…..” This usually creates an interest in another part of the house where I am not. But with the weather making parks and beaches uninviting even ironing was interesting yesterday.

So what to do?  Symbolically “go out”, find summer and create light. Go to the library and find books on summer, walk the dogs in the rain, visit the nurseries and look at plants,  light candles all over the house, paint pictures of  the ocean and sunsets using lots of reds and oranges, visit farmers markets, make pies, homemade ice cream do the “ideals of summer”. If we had grass ( or a yard for that matter)  I would set up a tent in the yard, or a beach umbrella and blanket to play board games under. So we’ll bundle up and ride bikes, maybe make a Summer Book of shell rubbings and art work , build forts, make popcorn and re-do the nature table. What are you doing to search for summer?

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