Friday, June 9, 2017

An Inspired Summer

Spring was short and somewhat fickle this year, wasn't it? Allergies aside, it's just so colorful and alive after the brown of Winter, always making its adieu somewhat bittersweet. What makes it all okay, though? The season most synonymous with outdoor play being its follow-up. Summer memories are some of the greatest - peering prayerfully through the slatted floor of a precarious tree house with a little apprehension and maximum delight; the perfect temperature balance of cool water and icy popsicles on sweltering days; the wonder in camping beneath a cathedral-like ceiling of night sky with the oldest of art glimmering above; but mostly the hours upon hours of siblings, friends, jumbles of playthings, and limitless imagination in back yards. The funny thing about all these memories is that - for myself, at least - they hold no detail of whether it was the sort of play that came organically or the we-have-no-choice-because-mom-locked-us-out type of organic. I'm guessing it was a bit of both. Funny how we don't recall that sort of thing.

But I digress. Summer: It can be pretty great.

My girls are still unbelieving in this respect (except for maybe Alanna who adores any season that allows for days upon days of swimming). Or maybe it's better to say that they're still in the process of being converted to the adoration of outdoor play. No fear, this will come about. . . with much prayer and wheedling. Actually, on a more serious note, I think what they really need is as simple as a spark of inspiration and some encouragement.

Thus our seasonal book basket.

As soon as the Jacaranda trees started raining their purple blooms, I began my cloud-like hovering over our bookshelves. At first it was all picture stories in our little basket, but an incident involving disagreement over how to make a bed reminded me that as alike as the girls and I can be, our inspiration and ideas of play are probably different. More cloudy hovering, then sunshine as the basket finally popped with more variety and color.

On a side note, that Tasha Tudor book is wonderful. The opening line, "Granny, what was it like when mummy was like me?" opens this almanac like a magical phrase does Aladdin's cave, Winter sugaring parties, doll fairs (complete with beetle races), 4th of July picnics, and birthdays with floating cakes... it's the practical sort of wonder that childhood is made up of. Highly recommend.

With every good thing that seemed right for the season already out, I moved on to my perpetually running list of books-to-buy. This took triple the time because when you're trying to choose from a list completely made up of titles you want anyway, things get complicated. . . and expensive. But the excitement that burst right in time with the packaging of our final choices evened it all out.

And may I this moment to interject that if you are unfamiliar with Patricia Lee Gauch, the good Lord help you. She is marvelous. Christina Katerina and the Box and Andrew Henry's Meadow are on a almost daily repeat around here (her Tanya books are in our library treasures almost every visit, as well), and I'm not even annoyed about it. Who in world could with stories about all the games giant boxes can offer, or a tiny town completely made up of and built by children?

So that has been the introduction to our Summer: Working thoughtfully and prayerfully with inspiration herself, inviting her to be a sort of pied piper and lead us all (because Lord knows I can do with her magical music as well) into the wonder and beauty the Creator has embedded into this season.