One of the great things about being a grown-up is you get to be naughty and break the rules once in a while. We’re (mostly) responsible parents. We encourage healthy eating and don’t let our girls have pudding until they’ve eaten up their veggies. We urge our children to do their homework when they come home from school before they run off to play (mixed results on this one!) We usually try to set a good example but when we drove to pick them up from school with blue skies above and sunshine glinting throught the window, we decided it was a breaking rules kind of day. It was off to the ice cream parlor for a naughty tea and the girls were all for a little naughtiness. With sticky fingers and ice cream smiles, we then headed for a little playground to make the most of the sunshine.
As the girls climbed, spun and slid their way round the playground, I pottered up the field, the squeals and laughter growing fainter below. I love grabbing these little moments of calm, breathing in the fresh air and exploring the rugged hedgerows. The wild flowers tangled with the long grasses adding splashes of pink and white to the fading greens. Overhead, the trees were starting to show the first tinges of autumn colour and the leafy path was an indication that fall is almost upon us.
Waving on the breeze, snowy white thistles set their seeds floating free. My thoughts drifted randomly with the gossamer seeds as they sparkled in the setting sun. Quite lost in my musings, I suddenly felt a little hand grasp mine and looked down to see my youngest had crept quietly to join me. I smiled. Together we stroked the soft seeds, careful not to touch the spiky leaves below. My other two girls soon joined us wondering what they were missing. Sticky fingers eagerly grabbed handfuls of the downy white thistledown to blow this season’s equivalent of dandelion clocks. With each blow, we made silent wishes and watched as the seeds danced on the wind. Some came to rest in old spider webs, natural dreamcatchers to hold our handful of wishes.
We spied some ripe blackberries and braved the thorny brambles to reach the biggest ones. With red stained lips and murmurs of appreciation, the girls gorged on the juicy berries. Every season brings new treasures and a foraging feast, we’ve dined on hawthorn and sorrel, made nettle tea and soon we’ll be racing the squirrels to collect sweet chestnuts. This is a month of berries though, and they’re growing in abundance. As I watch the girls sharing out their spoils, I’m reminded of childhood wimberry picking rambles up on the Lancashire Moors. We’d fill baskets of the succulent black berries, eating one for every one that went in. Then home for tea with purple stained fingers, knowing the result of our labours would be a wimberry crumble with homemade custard for pudding.
The shadows were lengthening as we wandered back down the hill. We remembered the special rainbow we saw last time we rolled down this grassy hill. A circumzenithal arc or upside down rainbow had crowned the wildflower garden. We’d lain gazing at it curving upwards like a rainbow smile across the sky. A halo formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals in the cirrus clouds above. No rainbows today though, just a setting sun indicating it was time to go home.
I love taking time to appreciate the small things, those simple but precious moments that will grow in our memories to become the big things. Maybe one day, my girls will share a handful of wishes with their own children and reminisce on their happy childhood. I hope so.