Friday, September 22, 2006

"Walk! On your way to school..." - The Wiggles

"I wish I were at home, relaxing with a book."

I will bet you thought that was ME, huh? But you would be wrong - that was the world-weary Primo, on the walk to school this morning.

I wish I could tell you that I spoke to him about the excitement of education, the thrill of learning, the importance of grounding in the basics that you get at a good kindergarten, blah blah blah. But I can't. (Or rather, I could, but I would be lying.) I pretty much just sighed and admitted, "Yeah, me, too."


Before the school year started, I thought I would drive Primo in the mornings. It's only half a mile or so to Paxson, but I just thought it would be easier. Turns out that it's easier - and much more pleasant - at least for me - to walk. This may indeed change when it snows or gets frigid, but for now, I like that I am walking two miles a day, albeit at a snail's pace and in four separate chunks. Plus, I feel so HARDY and pioneer-y and stuff, WALKING my kid to school.

So, walk along with me...and Primo....and Terzo...and various animals and cars and other people....although, YOU can go home, relax, and read a book once we're done.

Every morning, Primo has to check the headlines. Sometimes it's a Steelers day; other times, more serious things - like shootings on the campus where you work - have happened. Occasionally BIG things - like a coup d'etat in a major country - happen - and they only get mentioned briefly on page five of your newspaper - because your lousy baseball team makes better front page news? And sometimes you are forced to explain something to your child that you wish you could shield him from forever, like what happened five years ago on a certain blue-skyed day in September.

Primo likes that these evergreens grow straight up - or at least appear to. I think they look like sentinels; we speculated on how they would look at night, when you came home, in the dark. They might look scarily like people. Giant, pointy people. Because pointy people run rampant in our neighborhood.

There's a fungus among us!

We cross the main street not at the light, because while crossing at the light is terrific in theory, people drive way too fast, and pay no attention to 15-mile-an-hour School Zones, or No Turn on Red signs, or even cross-walking pedestrians.Or, as my children pointed out, NO ONE IS WATCHING CHILDREN.
Don't even get me started on the lack of crossing guards. So I take my chances on there being no cars in sight either way and cross a block before.

Right over this giant puddle, in which, Primo pointed out, an entire tree is reflected. That is ONE BIG PUDDLE.

We cross here because we have to see the Villager (as Primo has named the house) and its backyard, every morning.

In their lovely yard is a miniature village.

Complete with train station and trestle, and on some mild mornings, a running waterfall. Primo is drawing up plans to build a replica of our city in our backyard. He has great ideas for how to build the football stadium, and where it should go. *I* think it is going to interfere with their baseball games, but I am pooh-poohed. Perhaps, once we have spent the money to get the backyard right and fenced and pretty - as opposed to the mudpit it is now - a village under the magnolia might be just the finishing touch we need.

This empty lot around the corner from our house is for sale. The boys suggested we purchase it, so they can go camping there. Oh, ok.

No idea exactly why but Primo likes this basketball net which is "the same colors as the American flag."
Which he helpfully points out, every. blessed. morning.

The boys enjoy spotting different makes and models of cars, and quiz me endlessly on what company makes what kind of car. For some reason this ordinary blue van (with Lady of Fatima bumper stickers!) caught Primo's fancy.

Also, construction vehicles are popular among the younger set of Babes.

Primo knows children who ride Bus 14. Bus 14 was mentioned in assembly yesterday morning, because they lined up and boarded their bus in a very orderly and controlled fashion. The principal made them all stand up and they were applauded. Primo likes to read out the numbers of each bus that passes us, hoping for a glimpse of the esteemed Bus 14 and its exemplary passengers.

Also, all the PAT buses have names, and must be greeted BY NAME, very loudly and with vigorous arm-waving, in which The Baby is learning to take part. This is Sebastian. I think. I didn't know there was going to be a quiz.

The only thing moving slower than us.

Not that anyone is supposed to be going faster than 15 miles per hour, but reference above paragraph re: crazy drivers.

Amid all this urbanism are some lovely trees, incuding this, a fully functional pear tree!

Still Life With Pears.

Still Life With Pear.

Every tree trunk is an occasion for dancing. How many children can dance on the stump of a maple tree?

The morning drop-off often turns into a pleasant social occasion, after assembly; sometimes W and I go for coffee, or I might stop at L's house for a mug of tea and a chat. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel - once I get the baby home and Seg settled at his preschool, I have two whole hours to cook and clean and fold laundry and scrape windows - and read the paper and drink tea and do some writing.

And some afternoons, if we time it right, we run into our young neighbors walking home from their school bus. M walks with me and tells me about her day, and how a girl in her class is mean, and how another girl in her class eats lunch with M every day, and how she finished all her homework on the bus, and she has a soccer game on Saturday...and...and...and...

D races with my boys to the corner, kicking stones and leaves, and teaching them to wield tree branches as swords.


While you could not pay me a gazillion dollars to go to grade school again, I enjoy the journey there.


yt said...

I would like walking to school with Primo & Company.

blackbird said...

I luff this post.
I love seeing everything as he sees it.
Wonderful stuff.

(and, that, my dear, is no ordinary van. THAT is a Chevy Lumina van which was a huge failure for Chevrolet and rarely seen these days - especially in those colors.)

weirdbunny said...

I love the photo's and commentry on the walk to school and back. It's amazing what catches their eye. We always talk about every ones gardens. I love how your kids want you to buy the house plot so they can camp!

Kathy said...

I love the village Primo wants to build. Maybe he can design something for our backyard once we get Mirkwood cleared out.

Anonymous said...

Just a lovely glimpse into your life. Makes me want to take a walk and I think I will.

Paula said...

I love walking with little ones.
Thanks for reminding me!

Badger said...

We do not walk to school, but if we did, our pictures would be SO boring. Fence, fence, fence, fence, fence, stop sign, fence, fence, fence....

Joke said...

The fallen, unloved pears made me a bit sad.


P.S. Really!

Amy A. said...

That's really nice. Lots of moms I see are too busy grabbing their kids by the arms and yanking them to school to notice anything cool.

Loved this post.

lazy cow said...

Impressed that you are walking every morning. Even more impressed that you have time to photograph it. I love your neighbourhood. We also walk, and I make a game out of pointing out pretty things (as it isn't a pretty street we mosey on down).

Bec said...

I think you should send the pears to Joke, and he can make the boys some jam. (Jelly? I never know if they are the same thing for you folk).

Thanks for the lovely journey back to school.

Suse said...

I loved this post.

So does doorbitch. dzllv (dazzle love)

Caro said...

This was a great post.

It's great how they point out all the things we would otherwise miss.

Badger said...

The pears would be wasted on Joke. He would only poach them.

kilowatthour said...

i've been spending a lot of time reminiscing about my childhood recently, wishing i could go back, being sad.

and now i am happy. thanks, BB.

Sarah Louise said...

have I told you recently that YOU ROCK? I love the Village is always so cool to see you photo journalling MY neighborhood. Oh, I guess we can share...

Jess said...

I think I just might go for a walk now...As a kid I always wished I could walk to school.

Amy said...

I loved this post. I love the perspective on life that children bring into our hearts. What a joy to walk with them to start and end their day!! I drive the two blocks to the bus to drop off my neighbor kid (we sit and read Little House books in the car while we wait) and then drive LM on to school (about 2 miles from home) and then rush on to work to get there on time. A leisurely stroll sounds wonderful!