cactus flower

Some days when we wake up and it’s that sort of cool that you know will vanish by the afternoon I am reminded of summer vacation as a child. Not the entire vacation but the short time that I wasn’t signed up for summer camp. There was something wonderful about moving at my own pace, I had time to explore my world without being rushed, that was part of my June, later for August my mom and I would escape the summer heat for the cabin where all of my days would be punctuated by afternoons at the lake and picking my dad up from the bus station forty-five minutes away on Friday nights (when he couldn’t get a ride from friends). I can’t find words to explain those days, but they are where my life came together, where I had time to bloom and learn.

For me school was just filled with negotiating bullies and cliques and teachers who only knew that there was one way to do things. It’s taken me years to learn all the stuff I missed by being a student (I finally understood algebra thanks to an ex-nun when I was 29). These are the secret reasons that I never tell Alder. I don’t want him to think school is a bad place (he may have to go some day) but I can’t avoid the fact that I want to give him the space and time to bloom on his own, to learn things in an order that makes sense to him. And most of all to find the pleasure and satisfaction of learning things.

I pause as I write this because the teacher voice in my head says but what about hard work? Then I breathe and tell that voice to be quiet because I know that working hard and enjoying learning are not exclusive. That getting through something because you want to understand it or you need to understand it happens, and it happens more deeply. Also that wanting to share what you have discovered and learned and figured out is motivation enough to create and write and do it clearly enough that others can understand you.

Once that voice is quieted I hear my son in the background measuring the chairs and door frames and cats.