January 6, 2011

Fast Forward


Emily pointed out to us today, Laura and me, the daisies as we walked to school.  “Daisies?!?” I said. “Where?”

“Wight DERE!” pointed Emily.

And sure enough, there was a patch of wide parking strip with actual daisies, actually blooming; I counted about five flowers the next time we walked by.  It’s a nice reminder of two separate things: winter is not forever, and children see things we don’t, if only because they are closer to the ground. :-)

It is wonderful having school so close by, after the endless driving of last year.  In walking distance, door-to-door is eight blocks, none of it particularly hill-ish.  Unless there is some extenuating circumstance—torrential rain, illness that kept someone home—we walk.  Since Emily has Kindergarten, we three walk there together in the morning, I walk to get her and we walk home, then the two of us walk to get Laura and we all walk home together.  Days when I do that, it adds up to four and a half miles.  A nice way to get in exercise!

We have seen so many things, out there in those eight blocks.  In the fall, we walked past two different sets of oak trees, and we began collecting acorns.  I wouldn’t let the girls pick up too many at a time, and one of the sets dropped these tiny little nuts, so our collection fit into and is still in a crystal dish on the dining room table.  One day soon we need to make a gift to the resident squirrels in our backyard.

Many, many leaves were crunched.

We have fallen in love with a garden we go by when we walk down a particular alley.  (The alley is a lovely, paved alley, with a bit of space on the sides should we need to avoid any cars).  We watched a set of pumpkins brighten over the course of about six weeks, and gasped in surprise when Someone had obviously harvested a few of them at a time.

A few of the kids in each girl’s class sometimes walk ahead of us, or behind us, or next to us, and that is pretty interesting, too. Like everyone else, kids put on a different face in the classroom than the one they use at home, and it’s been educational for the girls to see these strange new people they thought they already knew.

One of the houses we pass has these funny clover-shaped pavers as a short retaining wall (perhaps eight inches high) at the edge where the lawn meets the sidewalk.  A few days ago, Laura had to stop to get something out of her shoe and sat on the wall.  The next time we passed, she noticed one of the pavers had fallen down, so she grabbed the stone and put it back (oooof!), just in case she had been the one to loosen it and hadn’t noticed.  The next day, she saw that two more had fallen, in different spots, and put them back.  Today there was yet another (either someone is doing it on purpose, or there’s an animal knocking them down, or the ground is heaving, perhaps from the cold), and again she took care of it.

Sometimes we’re rushed, but somehow the walk always ends up calm and refreshing.  Now with added daisies.