So, I took a break this year. From writing and reading blogs. Really in a lot of ways from the computer – I unplugged and walked away. I painted. I taught painting. I kept Fiona home with me and we played and learned and explored.
Then this morning I took her to the pool. It’s hot here right now. The heat wave on the west coast has blanketed my area. It is a lethargy inducing kind of heat. We have nowhere to be. No deadlines to meet. No air-conditioned offices to arrive at and fight to achieve artificial deadlines with angry people who can’t recognize that their frustration directly connects to the fact that their car was 125 degrees when they got into it on their lunch break.
Nope. Not us. In fact, I didn’t even turn on my coffee pot this morning. I just poured a tablespoon of instant into a cup of microwaved milk. I turned on the stove yesterday just long enough to heat one hotdog. That’s it. Apart from that, the stove hasn’t been turned on for four days.
The pool was what it always is: cold, fun and wonderful. Full of wonder.
Less hers this year than mine. Last summer, every time we went near the water her face would light up with a combination of curiosity and nervousness and wonder. Today the pool is awesome, but it’s old hat. It’s something that it is so familiar that it would be a little like being amazed at toast. Sure it’s incredible if you think about it, but in that moment it’s just pleasure.
But for me? Standing in the cold water waiting for my incredible, strong, lanky little girl to launch herself off the edge and swim to me ten feet from the edge of the pool and watching her face all lit up with concentration and strength without fear or artifice or self-consciousness. Standing and watching my child in the last few months were her world and my world are a small sacred space that I control who enters. I am gripped by the insane desire to slow it all down and hold onto these little moments forever. It’s like trying to hold sand. The tighter you grip the faster they go.
Still, I learned something today. I need to stand at least 15 feet back. That girl can jump.