The children and I walked today.
We walked to the school district office to drop off our letter of intent to homeschool.
We walked to the recreation center to eat our packed lunch and to run and climb.
We walked to a store to buy new nozzles for the hoses because they don’t make ’em like they used to.
We walked to the frozen yogurt store because I was the only one complaining and because the kids had eaten my pb&j “wraps” without batting an eye. I have good children.
Our adventure lasted several hours. We paused in the shade of nearly every tree. There are a lot of trees around here. We stopped once to watch a train go by, because my children are boys. They watched the train and I contemplated the tree we were standing under.
It was a young tree and yet gave quite good shade. It was probably only a couple of years ago that it would have been too small to duck under. I remembered reading something Wendell Berry wrote about how planting trees is an act of faith and a gift to the future because, in all likelihood, you will not live to see them grow to maturity – you are planting them for someone else.* You do the work, but someone else gets the pleasure. I’m OK with that, I guess, but what if, instead of passing on, you just move to a new home? What if the person who buys your old house doesn’t like fresh figs? Crazy, I know, but what if they rip out your blueberry bushes and put in … grass… or bricks? ACK!
The only other thoughts I remember having involved frying eggs on the asphalt and the fashion choices of teenagers. I know that once upon a time I occasionally sacrificed comfort for a “look,” but the discomfort in my day was risking frostbite and the look was an unzipped, unlined white, fringed leather jacket. The pictures were taken on film and I don’t own a scanner, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. I had to learn the hard way – through experience – that looking cool is just not worth being cold. The great thing about being middle-aged is that I am now able to learn from the stupidity of others. Case in point, the fashion knowledge I gleaned today: any pair of shorts that requires constant hooch picking is too short and any pair of shorts that make one’s legs look like sausages and causes one to waddle in order to avoid chafing, is too tight. Yeah, I said it.
*No, I don’t remember what work it was in – maybe The Unsettling of America ??? – and no, I don’t remember the quote, and yes I did try Google, and yes, I’m probably butchering the thought.