February Break is here, thanks to the Waldorf calendar, bringing a sliver of alignment with my former self, employee of the NYC Public Schools, because of their school year’s calendar. This precise time of year, a decade or so ago, I was traveling to and from Israel via Amsterdam in the midst of suitable adventures for a gal in her mid twenties.
In my occasional attempts of late to be a Writer, I have been immersed in reveries of times gone by which led to typing out the names of my former students: Nadijah, Nakiya, Shevonne, Sherretta, Leroy, Travis, Renee, Fancy, Mohammed, Mohammad, Atique, Jason, Joseph, Indira. I met them in my first year teaching in Brooklyn, New York and still now can see their smiles and scowls rising up in my mind. They are beyond college aged now, but forever fifth graders in my mind. I want to go back in time and hug them all.
In there here and now, I am mostly at home, and while home, mending messes and tackling organizational projects, sneaking peaks at my screen between being needed by small people, and waiting to make the next meal or start the next sleep cycle. I can forget the importance of leaving the house, or if the weather is good, become entranced by pulling up last year’s encroaching weeds. In.classically modern symptomology, I get mentally, and probably spiritually, stuck when away from nature for too long. This week of vacation, with it’s absence of Israeli canyons or other dramatic pursuits, had been trending towards bland in spite of the many blessings of friends, weather, health, and family.
It took me most of the week gone by to realize the missing ingredient for a balanced week at home: taking a walk with the kids and getting out beyond the bright metal and plastic playground. All we really need for intergenerational play and sanity is some land that’s been sculpted more assertively by water than by humans, varied textures on which to walk, taste, smell and breathe and the happy bonus of whatever flora and fauna the world deems us fit to be amongst.
My family and I are lucky, in this suburban desert landscape, to have natural land on which to play and explore. In our neighborhood, there is an arroyo and surrounding sagebrush, juniper and piñon scrub to which we can amble quite capably under our own steam and today, for the first time with little guy on his own two feet, the three of us did just that.
So, a happy morn was had; mama clambering alongside toddler over every available rock and branch while his little hands clenched mama’s pointer fingers, and valiant attempts were made by the tall person to keep her knees unlocked, core engaged, sacrum descending, and heart lifting all while her eyes swept the ground for pitfalls, and her ears paid heed to the narration of our play. We followed trails back and forth, hunted birds with elaborate traps, made camp inthe shade of juniper trees, and ate of their berries. Before heading back towards home, the three of us sat in the arroyo and spoke with the ravens, calling them to join our team of war or at least meet us back home for lunch.