suddenly, summer

Last week it was cloudy and cool, as it has been since November. Flowering plants signified that spring was here but I didn't feel it. Then the first part of this week the sun came out and winter melted out of my body and spirit. Thursday after Ultimate practice instead of going straight home as usual we walked to the park. The boys took their cleats off and went barefoot. Willow rode her bike up and down and up and down and up and down a grassy slope and when her chain came off she fixed it herself. Rowan climbed on the dinosaur bones.

I lay on the grass, eyes closed, breathing in the sweet scent of sun-warmed conifers, then opening them and looking up into the tall, tall trees swaying in the breeze. After a while it felt like they were moving of their own volition, dreamy and surreal and lovely. It was one of those days that makes you wonder how, if something like this can be, a person could ever be unhappy.

Friday when I went outside at 7:00 am to let the chickens out of their house and it wasn't cold, I knew it was going to be a hot day. I didn't want to believe it, but I knew it. We met Scott at his work at midday and Scott and the kids headed to the fountains while I went shopping for groceries, and because I didn't want to believe it they didn't wear sunscreen and their shoulders were tinged with pink when I picked them up. I filled them up with water and used up half my aloe plant which isn't very big to begin with because it hasn't seen the sun since November either. Noah looked peaked and felt like he was going to throw up, so I spread out a blanket on the sofa for him, covered his head with a cold washcloth, and he slept for several hours and felt much better afterwards, although his shoulders were still bothering him.

This morning we got up early for the boys' first Ultimate tournament. It was unpleasant for me because I could see the social and psychological hierarchies forming, the leaders and the followers, the confident and the not confident, the attractive and unattractive, with the attendant positive and negative reinforcement that only serves to strengthen their perceptions of their place. There is one girl, very fat, who I feel badly for. She's not a bad player, in fact the few times she got the disc she did well, but for the most part she was ignored, and over and over the disc would go to the more confident players, who would as often as not drop it or make a bad throw, but regardless they were the ones who almost always got the disc. I admire her for sticking it out -- she's been to every single one of the practices. But I just have to wonder how it's affecting her psyche to be treated as invisible like that.

Noah cried at one point. He was upset that something he did resulted in a small gain for the other team. Scott said the same thing had happened to him before, and told the story in a way that made Noah laugh through his tears. He told us too about how it took him a year to master the forehand throw. It had never occurred to me that he might not have just been born talented.

Noah then joined an unofficial scrimmage that was going on between games. He has such heart. He started to lag about three-quarters of the way through, I think his sunburn from the day before and the heat were just too much. I think it was probably a little too much for most of the kids. Why are playing fields always right out in the middle of nothing? Why not instead a clearing in the middle of a woods? Or why not plant trees for shade and breeze? And why are playgrounds usually devoid of shade for that matter?

Their team lost, and actually I think only scored a couple of points in two games. That was to be expected, as they haven't been training or playing together for very long. Even so, the boys are already excited about the next tournament coming up. I think this has much to do with how positive and upbeat and kind and encouraging their coach is. And little children know, right? Rowan was his shadow on the field, which was very cute. She wouldn't do that with just anybody. And after the tournament he gave the team gift cards to Dairy Queen. Including Willow and Rowan who are not even on the team.

But yes, it was hot. So suddenly. I got sunburned sitting in full shade.

Scott has gone to play poker now, three of the kids are reading comics (and even as I write have gone out to spray water on each other,) and Rowan is conked out. My face is red and my hair and feet are up. Fan is on, shades are drawn. Summer is here.