Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Silver Liight, Golden Water

One last camping trip to close out the summer.

This time we spent two nights under a
gibbous moon and

two days sounding out the golden waters of the Wallowa River. I managed to slip away downstream to do some fly fishing.
I haven't done much fishing in recent times so the electric jolt of a 12 inch rainbow hitting my line and then cresting beyond the river's surface was almost more fun than I had remembered.

Beth fixed them up and we ate like royalty.

Beth took paints and brushes down to the river bank and Tess and Colm
painted rocks with strange symbols almost like runes and hid them as buried treasure. Their minds are currently in the thrall of wizardry and swarming in their imagination is the notion that even the strangest stories might well be true.

Much of their reading and viewing (Harry Potter,
Calvin and Hobbes, Over Sea Under Stone, and Avatar: the Last Air Bender) has nourished this appetite for the fantastic,

but it is first and foremost the emblem of childhood. Beth and I feel so fortunate to witness its flowering before our eyes. A recent ransacking of Beth's childhood things unearthed a ouija board. Tess and Colm have since been peppering it with questions and have come by intelligence from the future that great things await each of them. In the meantime, while at camp Tess thought to ask the board if it would give them a thousand dollars. The next thing we knew both kids were exiting the tent trailer excitedly saying something about a trash can. They returned empty handed and sought clarification from Father Time (that is what the ouija board calls itself, they claim). Off again they ran, this time saying something about the "third trash can of a neighbor". Once more they returned empty handed and a little deflated. I said to Colm that it seemed pretty unlikely that a ouija board could find you a thousand dollars; if so, everyone would be doing it. Colm replied that some things that happen today have to become legends much later on. I didn't even want to contest that one. Wasn't it me who told them that very day that you can't catch a fish if you don't cast something out onto the water?

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Tess and Colm both had some nice opportunities this summer to showcase things they've been working and playing at.

For Colm it is soccer. He has fallen in love with the game and shows indications that he might be good at it too, though he's still only eight. Still, he sees the field better than most of the kids in his cohort and he shows some imagination with his passing. He has a pretty formidable right foot, scoring several goals with balls driven into the upper reaches of the net. He runs with enthusiasm and isn't shy about mixing it up though he is not aggressive by temperament. Mostly he has a big grin on his face whenever he comes off the field, as if to say, man that was fun. Coaching Colm is a pretty easy and rewarding experience. He likes to practice and he's receptive to suggestions. One game in which we were handling the other team pretty decisively, we sent Colm in to midfield the fourth quarter with the condition that he promise not to score, but that he set up his teammates for shots. Colm handled the situation flawlessly. He's such a good heart.

Tess has gotten a chance to learn the fundamentals of horse showmanship in the local 4H club. Beth, and her parents, Charlotte and Warner, have been instrumental in this experience as they have been down this path before when Beth and her brother did this some thirty odd years ago. For Tess this has been a real challenge of several dimensions. Stormy has not always inspired feelings of confidence in Tess and their relationship remains one that is a work in progress. Nevertheless, the two of them were on their best behavior at the county fair, a feat made all the more remarkable by the behavior of two other horses in her class. The kids were standing in line before the judge at the very beginning of the competition when suddenly one of the horses dropped to the ground and began rolling in the dirt like a big dog. The ten year old holding her was at a loss what to do in the face of the flailing hooves and billowing dust; then, suddenly a second horse did the same thing. From the stands it looked like the entire class might devolve into chaos, and we watched Tess and Stormy with apprehension while a couple of adults entered the ring to help the two kids with the delinquent horses. Tess moved Stormy deftly into the center of the ring and kept her under control. Very poised. As for the competition, here it is.

Beth was on pins and needles throughout. When the loudspeaker announced that Tess has won the class and earned a return to the championship round later, everyone including Tess was surprised and delighted. The championship round was an eye opener for Tess. They were asked to do some things that she and Stormy struggled with, but Tess persisted and completed the pattern. She got a chance to watch some very capable girls handle their horses.