Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Magic

It's amazing how magical summertime can be, especially to a child. As school is out, the mind is no longer preoccupied with the normal scholarly pursuits - mathematics, sciences, social studies, grammar, and so forth. Therfore, the minds other ways to keep itself alive...

A couple weeks ago, little Nathan decided to be a pirate. He decided also that I would join his crew as first mate. So we sat upon the Tower (our playhouse in the backyard) - but that afternoon it was the pirate ship, "Pirate Ship." Nathan became Captain Skeleton, and I was Pirate Cousin Sharla. We ate our buckaneer otter pops, raised the anchor (rope swing), and set off for some deserted Island out at sea. When we arrived, we descended to our new world, and began seeking an X upon the sand. We found one, and dug up the Silver Treasure - according to the Captain it was not the one we were looking for, but good nonetheless. We carried it together up the hill, where we then deposited our find in the bed of our Pirate Truck.

I believe there is something truly magical about running across the cool green grass in bare feet like a little fairy child, flying beneath a broad blue sky, with a warm summer wind at your back. I have done this, an so much more in the course of my childhood summers. I have turned my backyard into most any setting in the world that suited my fancy. A large kingdom, over which I was princess... a fairy garden under my care... the atlantic ocean, over which I was sailing on the Titanic itself... an unending blue sky through which I flew on an Amelia Aerheart style airplane... a desert island... a foreign country... a great kingdom... a jungle wilderness... anything at all. The world was my own for the taking, and without hesitation I took it.

Summer is the perfect stage for this kind of mental exercise, otherwise known as imagination. The warm weather is perfect for outside play - in fact, the half of what we do in summer takes place outside, from eating to gardening to whatever you please. Most especially, however, summer is the perfect time for imagining because school is not in session. Mark Twain once said, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." I believe that children have a great capacity for educating themselves over the summer, if only they are let free to go and see and do and feel whatever they may dream of. And that, really, is the true magic of it - dreams and ideas and imaginings coming into being and begining to live, right there on the back lawn. Childhood dreams are a very unique and extremely potent branch of magic. It is powerful enough to create a world for a child, and perhaps enough to create a magic carpet for an adult - if only they are willing to take it and ride.

Summer won't last much longer. School approaches, and soon the long, carefree days will have to change. I am set on going out and enjoying all the potato salad and off-the-barbecue hamburgers and fresh summer fruits that I can get my hands on before that happens. I want to be a mermaid with my little sister in the swimming pool, read more fantasy books to my brother, write my novel like my sorry skin depends on it, and simply capture every moment and hold it for my own, hoarding it away like a chest of gold - so that on some snowy, somber, homesick day in December, I can peer beneath the lid and suddenly have the warmth and sun and magic of summer surrounding me again.

And who knows? Perhaps there shall be time for one more adventure with Captain Skeleton before the month is out. We are going to the beach in California in a couple weeks... perhaps we can start seeking the Gold Treasure this time. And perhaps we might find it. And after that.... it's anyone's guess. We'll be off to wherever the wind and waves and Nathan's abundant imagination can take us.

I happily await the adventure.

'Til next time...

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