Last week I posted about not stressing about not making the most of summer vacation. I’ve tried to fit in some fun activities for the boys, but honestly, if you ask them what they’ve enjoyed doing the most, they’re probably going to tell you about our trips to the river. I could make these trips sound fancier than they are, but the truth of the matter is, there’s access to a little side stream of the Boise River just off the Greenbelt, right next to one of our closest local parks. When I’m struggling to think of something to do, and I know we all need out the house, I suggest we head down to the ‘beach’ as we call it. And then I get to sit on the wall, in the shade, and watch them putter about, and if I’m lucky, jot down some work ideas or story fragments in my notebook. We rarely bring any toys. Sometimes we arrange to meet friends or bump into them there, sometimes the boys play together, sometimes they work at their play alone.
There’s a natural ebb and flow to their play, just as there is to the water. They immerse themselves in that concentrated busywork of moving rocks and dumping things, swirling their hands in the cool water, living in some imaginary world. After an indeterminate amount of time, I see them come out of that zone of deep focus and start to get silly with each other or with me. I stand up and suggest we head back to the playpark for a last play before heading home, and they eagerly follow. It reminds me of how I feel when I go for a run or a bike ride. I come out of those feeling recharged and I see the day, and the mini-problems running through it, in a different light. When the boys and I leave the ‘beach’, life is lighter for all of us.