"Can we go swimming today?" I heard approximately a thousand times on Sunday. The temperature was in the low sixties, farenheit. It really was as lovely, sunny, and warm as it's been all year - a delightful day. We all spent it out of doors - the kids doing everything from biking, shooting bows and arrows to building forts and working on improving Ani's garden cottage, setting up the hammocks and on and on. Steve and I spent the day blissfully prepping our garden beds, pruning the fruit trees, mulching the berries. All that good stuff. But still...all day long, "can we go to the lake PLEASE?????"
"Isn't there still ICE on the lake?" I asked, stopping just short of "No way, we can't go swimming, are you INSANE?" I was planning to just put them off for the day....or a few weeks, or for heaven's sake a decent month!
Mid-afternoon, because I always forget how to do it, I asked Steve to set me up to prune the raspberries (lo and behold, the only pruners we can find in the barn this spring just so happen to be left handed pruners, which leaves me to the job. Hmn....I spy a perfect Father's Day gift coming right up). I spent a few minutes battling with the canes, happy to be getting the job done. Then I heard the shout of "Are you coming with us?" and looked up to see the kids all in bathing suits, with towels slung over their shoulders.....and behind them? Papa, with the stroller (Ani never makes it all there way there and back without requesting a ride). "You've got to be kidding me." I replied. "Nope!" Steve replied from over his shoulder. I barely had time to register, as they all headed into the woods and onto the trail that leads to the lake.
I spent a few more minutes pruning the raspberry bushes, thinking about how crazy they all really are, cutting my arms all up to bits as always is the case (because I never remember to wear long sleeves for the job), and thinking that I just couldn't join them. There were only a couple of more hours in the weekend daytime before I needed to start dinner. And tomorrow - full of work and classes and errands. I needed to make the most of the time I had left in the garden.
That musing and cursing of the canes lasted for about five minutes. At which point I ran inside, grabbed my camera and shoes, a sun hat, and turned off the oven, preheating for dinner and started the walk to the lake. When I arrived at the shore I found a combination of children underwater, children shivering, but mostly a whole lot of laughing. They really did swim. I took a few steps in, and there's no other way to describe the temperature except 'shocking'. Just wading in, though - I felt alive. My breathing slowed (like I said, cold water), and I found myself returning to center. On the way back home, judging from the exuberance and joy and pleasuring emanating from all of them, I'm certain they all felt it too. Yes. This was absolutely the right thing to do.
And so, a hip-hip-hooray! to the start of swimming season here and Maine, and most especially a nod to the lessons we learn from our children. Over and over again.