Outdoors Childhood

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #62: Child/Childhood

…ponder what it means to be a child.

~~~

1964kite

To be a child…Part One.

Eyes first opened onto a world to explore.

To wonder. To question. To know.

Narrowed eyes gazed back…

I took my cue…

Slammed that screen door
And ran out.

Bright sun. Low clouds. Green grass. Climbing trees.
Raindrops soaking. Snow falling. Wind blowing.
Kite in flight.
Bicycle racing. Balls bouncing. Swings swinging.
Hopscotch. Tag.
Duck Duck Goose.
Hide and Seek. Ready-or-not-here-I-come.
Roller skates. Jungle Gym. Kiddie pool.
Slide. Sandbox. Snow forts.
Leaf piles…crunch crunch…jump…
Shout!

Nourishment absent inside four walls.

Outside
My respite. My peace. My place.
Fueling many Part One days…
An endless horizon of hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #61: Recovery 

What does it mean to recover? What would full recovery look like, and is there such a thing? Recover from what?

~~~

Everything else you grow out of, but you never recover from childhood.

Beryl Bainbridge

 

Time to come in for dinner! 

Whoops.

It became kind of a family joke when I was a kid – that I often ended up needing stitches on Thanksgiving…or Easter. Usually a holiday with visiting grandparents. More than once.

I’m not sure how many times it actually happened, but as I recall I’d be sent outside to play while the turkey was roasting. In my dressy clothes and patent leather shoes, I’d start running around like usual…climbing the monkey bars…swinging on the swings…riding my bike. Jump roping. Inevitably, without my “play shoes” on, I’d slip and fall. Many times on the cement patio or out in the street. Back then, we played in the street. Kickball. Baseball.

Before long there was blood everywhere…a huge gash on my chin, forehead or knee. At the same time the turkey was just about ready to carve.

I’d ruin the rest of the day as someone would have to take me to the Emergency Room – or the pediatrician’s office…who would be called in on a holiday (this was the 1950’s & ’60s…and they did that then) to stitch me up.

I obviously healed and recovered from the consequences of my holiday mishaps. The stitches were eventually removed. The scars faded, but remain….

I was branded for the duration of my childhood. My fearlessness and budding athleticism were not what a girl should be. My mother enrolled me in the “Junior Miss Club” when I was about 10…where I was supposed to learn how to be more ladylike. It met weekly after school and included practice walking with a book on my head. The goal was to keep it there. Boring as sin and to this day I am mystified at why that was a desirable skill. Ballet was almost as frustrating. Too slow and regimented. Baton twirling lessons were a disaster.

Girls who liked to play outside and get dirty and collect bees in jars and play baseball in the street were not “normal” girls. We were called tomboys. And grew up to prefer jeans to dresses. My poor mother desperately wanted me to be a normal daughter. She never got what she wanted, despite her heroic efforts. Which continued through my high school years.

Nobody has a perfect childhood. Nobody.

However, I have to believe some sort of recovery is possible…

Depending on the scars…

And how fast they heal.

dress on bike 1959

 

 

 

 

Stillness – Chapter One

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #32: Stillness

 

Sit still, will ya?
Hold still!
Keep still!

The directives we receive along the way.
Quite often as children.
So the exasperated adults can do their thing.

Sit still…and eat.
Stand still…so I can help you get your coat on.
Lie still…and go to sleep.

In school even more so.
Sit still at your desk.
Stand still while you line up.
Keep still while I’m talking.

Vital lessons, obviously…

However…
Being physically still can border on impossible for some children.
My little brother constantly used the dinner table as a drum. While tipping his chair back…way back.
My young son was affectionately compared to a Great Dane by his first grade teacher as his natural inclinations leaned toward constant movement.
“Refrain from excessive talking” was a black mark on my report cards during grammar school…an ongoing challenge to keep my mouth closed.

I wonder…if children were shown ways to be still
As a source of pleasure. Reward rather than punishment.
On some basic level…
Tempting their budding imaginations. As ready sponges.
Before screens and apps and television crowd in…
Shifting mind and body into overdrive.

Take a slow breath.
Close your eyes.
Take your time.
Imagine….
Pretend you are…
Think about…

From earliest memory.
The welcome calm.
Taking time. Undefined.
Discovering that stillness feels good.
A refuge for the mind…
…more crucial as the years fly by.

Maybe sitting still…
and waiting for recess to discuss the important events of the day…
would get just a bit easier.

 

2003