Follow the Little Leaders
…by Julie Clark Robinson
“I meant to do my work today – But a brown bird sang in the apple
tree. And a butterfly flitted across the field, and all the leaves were
calling me.” –Richard le Gallienne
Remember that scene in “Big” when Tom Hanks — the man who woke up
one day to find that he was trapped in a boy\’s body — hops on
his bike and awkwardly rides it down the street? That Image comes to my
mind more times than I can count – even all these years after the movie
was made. Why? I think it\’s the way a grown man was able to so
accurately move his adult body with all the enthusiasm of an eight year
old as he attacks a fresh new day.
That\’s how I feel about summer. I\’m trapped in a grown-up\’s body but I
want to attack this long-awaited season with all the pent-up enthusiasm
of a kid. But no… how do you normal adults celebrate such a heady
occurrence as the onset of barefoot season? Let\’s see, we (I\’m an
adult, too, contrary to what you\’re about to read) ladies might switch
to open-toe shoes. Men…what do they do? They probably wear linen-blend
trousers if someone places them, neatly pressed, in their side of the
closet. If not, they might at least opt for a Corona over their regular
brew next time one\’s offered. Kids are out of school, free as
skinned-kneed little birds, but we must carry on, business as usual for
the most part, right?
Not so fast. I firmly believe that in order to get the most out of
every single day of this life of ours, we need to find ways to feel
exhilaration every chance we get. As with many times throughout the
year, I\’ve come to look to children for ideas of how to do just that.
They may be diamonds in the rough in many areas, but when it comes to
feeling, and showing, pure joy, they serve as excellent role models.
I think a fine place to start capturing the essence of summer is in
your driveway. Yep, sit right down in the middle of it. If you must,
corral some neighborhood kids to sit there with you so you don\’t feel
like an idiot. (That guy whizzing by in the convertible has no idea
what he\’s missing.) Next, the bucket of chalk. And not the skinny white
chalk that you hate the touch of — memories of algebra and public
humiliation come rushing back with skinny white chalk. I\’m talking
about colored chalk, the kind that\’s made in big fat chunks to make it
easier for toddlers to grab onto.
Now, if you can\’t think of anything creative to draw, don\’t give up.
Just start drawing. Do you see kids waiting for inspiration? Nope. They
just start with a shark. Or a rainbow. Usually a shark and a rainbow.
Before you know it you see white puffy clouds…green grass…bloodshot
eyes. (The one thing you have over kids is that you probably know not
to rub your eyes if you\’ve been handing chalk.)
Once you have a lovely driveway mural, don\’t stop there. This is where
your effort pays off! Bear with me, you don\’t have to be anywhere
that\’s more important than reconnecting with the childlike love of
summer. In a few hours, you can tackle your “to do” list, but you still
have some “research” to do.
Next, make a lemonade stand. (I find if you call a lemonade stand
“research” — better yet, a focus group! — you feel much less
ridiculous). Start with the lemonade itself, preferably pink and
waaaaay too sweet. Find some paper cups and make a sign. (Extra points
if you misspell.) Then, go sit out in front of your mural and wait. If
you get hungry, make a bologna sandwich, white bread – the kind that
coats your teeth like a sock, real mayo. Chips are optional but
definitely a plus, especially if you smash them in with the sandwich.
If you must have continue to have To Do list, I\’ll share mine. And you can have until Labor Day to check it all off.
If you don\’t, you are, most certainly, a rotten egg.
Find the big dipper, play croquet,
turn off the air conditioner and sleep to the sound of a fan, bury your
face in honeysuckle, catch lightening bugs, read a good book in a
hammock (dare I suggest Live in the Moment, a catchy feel-good book
that\’s sure to be all the rage?), buy Lady Bugs at a garden store and
set them free in your yard, make s\’mores, sleep in a tent, climb a
tree, swim underwater with your eyes wide open.