Slow Down

May 20, 2010 by Ellen Stimson in Kids in the Country, Springtime

It has been the best spring ever…lush and green with sweet smelling lilacs, and white blossoms floating around in the air. The baby robins are chattering in their nests and spotted fawns are jumping in my meadow. It has been a glorious awakening. This morning we woke up to forty something degrees and we are looking at eighty by midday. These big thirty and forty degree swings create a happy expectancy. You add layers in the morning planning for how you will look later without them. Everybody dons sunglasses and flowery dresses underneath all the fleece. Pink toes and spring break tans are in full bloom. Bring on the sun. Bring on the big blowsy thunderstorms. I won’t even mind the mayflies. I promise.

Springtime will do this to a person. It takes you back to a time filled with wide-eyed belief in all that possibility. You close your eyes and breathe in lilacs and Bam you are back in your yard blowing bubbles, playing hide and seek in the billowing sheets on the clothesline, and making dandelion chains. You are watching Bewitched or My Favorite Martian on the black and white TV in an icy blast of air conditioning when you come in for lunch. You remember being on the banana seat bicycle and riding over to your best friend’s house. You can smell the creosote rising up in waves off the newly blacktopped streets. And before long you are reading Nancy Drew and thinking about jalopies and crimesolving.

I don’t want my youth back. Believe me. I love my life now. I am grateful for its lessons and the increased ability to pay attention to the moments. But it’s lovely the way a good spring can bring it all back for a little while. There was a time when I didn’t know about taxes or mammograms. No one important had died, and all the movie stars were older than me. I didn’t know what a calorie was and so I didn’t have to count them before putting on my jeans. The boundaries were simpler too. I could ride from Edwards Street to Mrs Mayfield’s and over to the Prokopich’s before turning back around. Along the way I would pick up feathers and rocks for the jar beside my bed.

Now our youngest Eli is fourteen. This may be his last summer before girls and cars and bank accounts start to fill his mind, He has a new bike. He and his best friend Timmy race through the village, steal jumps on stranger’s trampolines. They… ummmm… “borrow” boats and cross the pond catching tadpoles along the way. They light firecrackers in front of the village store horrifying the old people, sneak into neighbor’s pools, and swim in freezing rivers right before they come home, turn the furnace on high, and build a fire which they promptly leave behind as soon as the goosebumps fade away.

One day on the beach last summer he told me he wanted to slow down the growing up. Well me too sweetie. Me too….


  • Kate

    Sounds like he's doing a grand job of it. Play, my friend. Just play. I don't remember much of my childhood – although I know it from the pictures that it was good. So, when I feel like not quite acting my age, I go for it. If only to feel that freedom for the first time.

  • libray lady

    I can't claim that St. Louis is Camelot, but we have been getting a loy of rain–but only after dark. It's sort of spooky.

  • laurwilk

    You write my most favorite posts ever. Every time I read them I think, 'ahh, yes, it's okay'. Which is good because I don't always FEEL okay lately. Life feels TOO MUCH as I approach twenty-five and your posts always remind me to slow down, relax, have faith that it will all be okay.

    Thank you for your great words! I did many of the things your 14 year old son does. I even climbed the water tower last weekend when I was home. Sshhh, don't tell.

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