Saturday, August 15, 2015

Old dog, new tricks

It's been a long time since I tried something new. Last weekend we went back to Lake Mac. It was a weekend of water, sun and sand. I took Monday off so we could stretch it out a bit more. The Harris' stayed too, so we had someone to hang with when everyone else left. The lake emptied out from the weekend campers.

A camp neighbor offered up water skis to borrow. Phil and D were encouraging me to give it a try, since I never have done it before in my life. I was worried about getting hurt and kept putting off D. Then in a moment of clarity, I said I would give it a try. What was I scared of after all? Sure I got my arse handed to me after a headstand attempt on a paddle board but I was feeling better now. If water skiing was what was going to paralyze me, then so be it. I'd rather be paralyzed by an act than by a decision.

So D borrowed the skis and we went for a ride. It was sunset: the lake was practically ours with only a few boats and a parasail to be seen. The water was clear and calm in the waning light. Phil gave me the mechanical pointers of the task. If I'm good for anything, it's following instructions about how to navigate my body into an activity. I'm a natural athlete that way (lol).

I sat in the water awkwardly holding my legs in position with the skis. The boat started forward: The first time I faltered. The second time I felt it. The third time I was up and running; not for long and certainly not pretty but I was doing it. I have to admit, it felt pretty great. I was proud of myself. And tired; I thought that was it for the day. I took a break out of sheer lack of strength.

Everyone swam and jumped off the boat. Miss M showed off with cannon balls and jack knifes. I like to think I inspired her bravery. Little A got in on the action too, just to keep up. It was fun and I was proud of both girls. D too for getting me going.

I decided to give the skiing one more try before we headed back to camp. This time, I was up and at it for a much longer stretch. I felt the sheer exhilaration that comes with finding out you CAN DO something you thought was scary. I felt a sense of pride I haven't realized in a long time. I felt young and capable and cool. I couldn't get the smile off my face. It felt kind of like this:

I guess it looked a lot less like that though. Still I made it outside the wake and into one long great turn. It looked more like this:

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Reading Mother

by Strickland Gillilan (1869–1954)

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.

Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
"Blackbirds" stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays

Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales

Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things

That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;

Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be --
I had a Mother who read to me.

One of Miss A's teacher's pulled the last stanza out for me a while back. I completely forgot about it until I just found it now on a piece of paper in her cursive writing. I am feeling a moment of gratitude for her taking the time to pass this along. Reading to kids is one of my most favorite activities. It was after I came in and read to Miss A's class on her birthday.