If we’re going to the beach, you have to put on shoes.
I don’t want to wear shoes.
Here let me help you.
I can’t find my shoes.
I don’t want to wear those shoes.
These are fine.
I want my other shoes.
Start with putting on socks.
I don’t want socks.
You need socks and shoes. It’s November.
Where’s my purse?
You don’t need a purse.
Scotty has a purse.
That’s a pouch for collecting things.
I want a pouch.
I gave you a pouch, where is it?
Sara took my pouch!
There. Everyone has shoes, socks and a pouch. Into the car.
Scotty won’t let me shut the door.
Sara is trying to shut my foot in the door.
Everyone in the car and buckle up.
I don’t want to buckle up.
A trip to the beach with an almost 3 year old and a six-year-old is not necessarily a trip to the beach in the idiosycrinatic sense of the phrase. The fighting continued for the seven miles to the Mentor Headlands parking lot. As I turned off the engine, a continuation of complaints.
Can I leave my shoes in the car?
Can I leave my fleece in the car?
Where’s the water?
We never went this way before.
Can we go swimming.
As we entered the opening of trees and took the path through the dunes, winding our way another half mile to the shore, gradually we began to hear the calming whispers of waves. Lake Erie was Sunday morning lazy, barely breathing. November 8. The shoes immediately came off, along with the socks and the fleeces. Pouches were filled with special rocks and beach glass. Scotty is an experienced beach comber and selectively collected smoothed glass. Sara took the three-year-old approach, scooped up a handful of rocks, filled the pouch in one scoop, and skipped away to walk logs like tight ropes and make sand angels.
It’s been a crazy-busy couple of weeks. Rewarding. Tiring. Two days at Pierce Middle school in Milton, Mass and a warm and walking weekend with Christine and Larry Charbeneau.
We celebrated literacy and rich food, explored Boston’s historical highlights. Christine’s seventh graders dove into writing definition infomercials with the gusto of seasoned pitch people and the families were so fun to talk to on literacy night. I love a two day visit as there is time to really connect with folks.
Then we flew back to Cleveland, got in the car and immediately drove to a two day visit in Mason, OH. Mason is next to Montgomery, OH where I remember working at a GE plant typing freight tags the summer of 1971. The area was a cornfield back then. No more. The land has sprouted into neighborhoods and the MS/HS campus looks like a community college. Michael and I did three assemblies for the 7-8th graders, 600 kids at each show. They were very well prepped (thank you Jenny May) and enthusiastic about reading and writing poetry.
Saturday was the Buckeye Book Fair, seven full hours of signing and chatting and then I dropped Michael off at the airport for a gig in Chicago and picked up Scotty and Sara for a sleepover, all three of us in one bed.
The sound of waves smooths the spirit just like the lapping lake smooths glass shards. Setting aside the environmental anxiety over sixty-five degrees in Cleveland on the 8th of November, Scott, Sara and I walked, inhaled, and tossed rocks — filling ourselves with peace. The achievable kind of peace. The peace you can hold in your belly.
Smiles all around.