Monday, September 13, 2010

Watching and Wondering with Woodpeckers

Last Friday, Fran started the morning by offering some pretty specific instructions. He met Claudia and I at the bottom of the porch steps and told us to be quiet. We followed him into the driveway.

"Listen," he said, pointing up into the tree.

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. We looked up and saw a white-and-black-and-tuft-of-red woodpecker peck, peck, pecking in the tree. We stood there together, watching and listening.

It was a fabulous start to our morning. So often we are running and rushing. But today we were still enough to listen. It always shocks me when I slow down and hear the birds singing, enjoying the start of their day. It reminds me to be quiet and notice the world more. Really, mornings are just fabulous.

We took Fran to school, still talking about our woodpecker morning. After drop-off, I let Claudia play with a friend on the playground with a buddy instead of rushing home for my run. She and her friend had a blast climbing on the ladders and hiding under the turtle and dropping some pebbles in the storm drain.

When we were leaving, Claude and her buddy stopped and crouched by the grass to watch a Monarch butterfly sitting in the grass, opening and closing its wings over and over again- either showing them off, drying the dew, or perhaps preparing to fly. I watched the children stay so still, watching the butterfly from just inches away.

Claude and I then said our good-byes to butterflies and friends and started to walk back the way back to the van. I was starting to go through our to-do list and plan out a running route in my mind when we heard it again: tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. We stopped and looked up to see a white-and-black-and-tuft-of-red woodpecker working on someone's house. I'd like to think it was the same woodpecker. I was glad to see him. He had arrived just in time to remind me to take a deep, full breath of the fall air.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ready or Not... we are relaxing and looking over beautiful Lake Michigan. The sun warmed our bodies and spirits and the water was refreshing. The lazy days of summer seemed endless.

But today is the last day of summer and it's a stinker--gray and cloudy. We were hoping for one last dip in the pool. It seems as if the weather today is sending us a clear message: It is time.

Our summer was eventful: Claudia has been wearing underpants for quite some time; Fran practiced swimming and floating in the big pool; we visited in Indy; we did summer reading for AADL, Nicola's, and Bach School; Amy and Jason got married on the beach and we had a week-long beach trip with Nana and Papa; we did drop-in writing on Tuesdays at 826 with Mrs. Z and Miss Chris; we had lots of BBQs and root beer; we went for bike rides and runs; we celebrated Gran's 88th birthday; we had playdates and camp weeks. We basked in the sun and savored its summer-ness.

As the warm pulls away and is replaced by fall, I am left feeling sad. First grade seems so much bigger than Kindergarten. I should just be excited. Fran's reading has changed so much this past year. He went from reading little books to reading Fox. (He even tried doing tricks on his bike like Fox in Fox Gets A Job to "impress the girls.") He does math in his head and explains his theories. He loves learning and first grade will be fabulous, but he really loves summer. Claudia will miss him terribly. It will be a big adjustment.

Ready or not... it is time.
Good-bye, summer.
Hello, fall.