Portrait of play, week 38


The moment summer turns to fall, when mornings are chilly enough to think about wearing tights, but we still wear flip flops. Liminal seasonal. Chuck wore her jean jacket the other day just in case it got cold enough to need for comfort. The first leaves are changing color, starting with the dogwood in the front. When I moved to the south, I was concerned that I would lose the seasons. While I prefer to always be warm, there is something nostalgia-inducing and soul-balancing about the cycling through of the seasons. After moving, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I seemed to have actually gained the seasons. Other than the loss of snow most years (which I really only miss in idea), the seasons have the same feeling to them. The difference is that the seasons now more closely follow the seasons of the calendar year. The first day of fall really does feel like the first day of fall, and it will feel like fall till the actual beginning of winter.

It had been awhile since the weeds were manageable enough to lay a blanket down in the backyard. James hurt his back recently and lawn maintenance took a backseat…further back than usual. Right when we got outside, Charlotte said she needed to “cut the grass” and got right to it with her little lawn mower. It’s funny to me to hear her pick up on these phrases that are different than the ones I grew up saying. I grew up “mowing the lawn.”  We spent some time in the unfinished play area that we had started making at the beginning of summer. I considered that maybe it’s better for the imagination if we leave it unfinished, but maybe that’s just a thought to make me feel better about abandoning that summer project. Still, Charlotte had no difficulty making it into her house and took me on a tour showing me her kitchen area, table, bathroom, and sandbox. Winnie had a poop explosion that needed immediate attention, and when we got back outside, Charlotte went about wandering throughout the yard rediscovering plastic toys that had been hiding out in the weeds. Winnie worked herself through a rotation of poses: plank, push up, downward facing dog, cow pose, and eventually my favorite, savasana. James was trying out the charcoal retort he was making, and Charlotte went along with him to get wood blocks and sawdust. Charlotte started lining the blocks up along the sawhorses and told James, “You work from that side, and I’ll work from this side. That way it will be easier.” He always obliges. It’s hard not to.

My memory is always more sensitive at this time of year…maybe it’s the fall smells or the way the air feels on my skin that activates my senses. As I sat there with my face wet from Winnie’s open mouth kisses, I tried to add this night to my “that time of year” memory bank along with the Halloween costumes and new backpacks from past years. I had James take a picture of the girls and me just in case the sleep depravity ruins my chances of remembering.



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