Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pounding the Pavement


Finding a new way to go to work

Walking the side streets

Driving to California


Seeing things differently

New perspective

These were my notes.  The things I wanted to say and talk about.  We are leaving soon for a long trip.  Escaping.  I cannot wait.   But right now I hope I can leave some of the anxiety behind and experience each moment.  Right now I'm wondering if I have everything packed.  I do wonder about grizzly bears. I've gotten over carjackings, because really no one wants a minivan with a roof carrier on top with New Jersey tags, it wouldn't make for a quick getaway.  Right now I'm worried about kids who drown in Yosemite.  (Kids, ages 8 and 10)  And wildfires.  But I'm also worried because our son was just diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma.  What's he allergic too?  Grasses, birch trees, dust.  So when your son, let's just say, says "Mom, I'm so tired, I can't go any further,"  and it is on a hike around a lake that is SURROUNDED by BIRCH TREES, you probably shouldn't say, "Matt, this is our hike we do every year with our family and you are ruining it, and you are so going to bed early tonight!  You just took a break.  You are the only one complaining!  Everyone else is enjoying themselves!  I know all you want to do is play VIDEO games, but this is our vacation!!"  No, don't ever say those things.  So I wonder if Yosemite is surrounded by birch trees.  I wonder if our car is full of dust.  I am packing the inhaler and the drugs and a bandana he can wear around his face if he wants too.  I think I've got everything we need.  Now I just have to let it go.

Last week I took the train into work each day.  This was different from my normal routine of driving in and parking in a lot and paying condo rental fees for a car for 6 hours.  The train made for a nice getaway.  I felt professional and Yuppie.  (I know, that's a really old term, but when I was in high school, our neighbors were Yuppies and I so wanted to be like them taking the train each day to Center City!)  So I took the train and walked the ten city blocks to work, through Rittenhouse Square, and down the side streets.  And I'm so glad I did.  Out of the car, the honking, the traffic, the air conditioning, the closed up feeling.  It gives you a different perspective on things.  You take your time, you stroll, you take in the sights, you take in the people, you soak up the history.  It was really beautiful.   Things I never would have seen.
 The street names in bronze in the stone.
 Will someone meet me here for breakfast one day?  We'll pretend we are Parisiennes!
 Very ornate...
 Such intricate work...
 A tree grows...
 Imagine the ladies who walked down these steps in ball gowns over a hundred years ago..
 So amazing.

I used to eat at this same place in college!

I saw roses in bloom in center city outside the Episcopal church, I saw a cellist playing on a park bench in the Square.  The people fell into a trance created by the soft mellow notes and the quiet peace made the walk that much sweeter.   I am hoping I can carry those feelings with me as we walk through the Black Hills and Yellowstone.  Soaking it all up, pounding it into my memory with each pounding step.  I also hope I can transfer that feeling to my kids.  I hope they will soak it all in and savor the moments, the quiet, the flutter of leaves, the babbling brooks, the expanse of the sky.  In a few weeks they will be kept inside four walls for the majority of the day, at least during Peak Playing Hours.  It is a shame.  I don't know what it is about school that makes us think that being outside is too distracting.  Can I tell you that in 90% of the classrooms I go into, the shades are drawn all the way down?  No looking outside.  I've heard the phrase, "There's nothing out there for you to see!" Come on teachers, open up a little!  I just read of a school in New Hampshire where all the learning takes place outside, rain, snow, sun, cold, outside.  "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing," the article said.   That's pretty cool!  This school in Andover, Massachusetts, gets it too.  I think that will be my one analysis on back to school night, Are the shades drawn? 

So, we are off on an adventure, seeing new things, learning new things, including what not to say to your children when they get tired!

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