Tuesday, September 15, 2015

the shifting in balance

This past weekend, a few days of school under our belt, we headed North.  To camp.  And despite the new teachers and subjects and spaces and friends that had been our focus for the past few days, we easily fell back into the open silly playful days of summer.  And it felt so very reassuring to see that all it took was a raft.  It was as simple as carrying that beast of a heavy thing down the beach and strapping on the barrels and hauling it out into the deep water.  And a careful placement of feet.  A pause.  And a squaring of shoulders, a strengthening and preparation of bodies.  And then that glorious leap into the chilly deep waters of the lake.  To get back to our sumer selves.  Our truest selves.

Our swim raft, built several summers ago, quite imperfectly, and therefore perfectly camp, tipped and rocked and creaked and drifted and bobbed its way through the long weekend, pulled out deep enough in the lake to be over their heads and anchored, but of course not completely anchored as it drifted slowly down lake with the hours.

And then, they did what they do.  What kids do.  The took turns jumping off it, shifting their weight, challenging themselves to stay on that bucking lake-dwelling bronco.  Each time one of them jumped, those who remained needed to hold on and sway with the jolting movements of the raft and allow their bodies to ride the jerky movements without fighting it.  To give in to it.

Seriously.  It was hours and hours of this.  And it struck me.  There in the lake.  Jonathan and I on the shore.  That raft.  There they were out there.  Doing their thing, challenging themselves, laughing, jibberjabbering away, completely enjoying themselves.  It wasn't so different from the work of beginning a new school year. The little bit scary, little bit exciting, topsy turvy movement and transition of it all.

Every once in a while, they would send a minion, typically the smallest minion, a minion who wore a just for show waist cinching fish about his waist for most of the weekend, back in to shore to fetch materials for their next level of awesome.  And he would, of course, take a few extra minutes to chat with us, and check on his minnows, freshen the water and the fish supply and release those among the school who appeared somewhat peaked. 

But then he was off again, swimming back out into the depths.

And they took the new materials, fish nets and buckets and paddles, this time.  Adjusted to Elliott's return.  Held on tight while they all made minor adjustments until the raft was steady again.  

Some were better waiters and some were better movers.

And really, like school, I wished I could hear what was happening, what was being worked out and discussed.  But also, I knew that not being there was part of the work, and part of what was making it work for them.

And so, back at school this week, I am settling back into my own school year routines.  Grateful to have time again and quiet to do my own work.  But missing them.  And missing our summer together.  Adjusting to the sudden loss of their weight, their presence, feeling the shifting under my feet. Riding it and giving in to it.  

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