School Days

11121111_sIn my mind, I’m still in the “Waiting for Spring” mode. Remember that post, way back at the end of March? Now, we are at the last week of August. I wonder if the time has gone  as fast for the young person preparing to go back to school. Actually, there are a few who have already returned – beginning a new year in a higher grade. I consider that a definite “Right of passage.” I guess at this stage of the game, you, Mom have already shopped for those notebooks, pencils, back packs, and oh yes – that first day of school outfit. They all want to turn a few heads walking to the newly assigned locker in their snazzy just purchased denim skirt, or that cool pair of Converse Chuck Taylor high tops as the sweet days of summer quickly slip away. The days of sleeping in for them, late breakfasts, and being at the friend’s until all hours is over for now, and the hectic schedule has officially been re-introduced.

Oh for school days, with the rules, lessons, homework, basketball, soccer, football games, flute lessons, and the practices to back it all up; hallways bursting at the seams, droned chatter filling those corridors, ringing bells, lines for lunch, and auditorium visits. It all has the sound of some sort of regimented military campaign, doesn’t it? But, we’ve all done it, and managed to survive it, from our five-year olds, up and through our young adult children. This always takes me to the idea of “newness.” We put our little ones on the bus, and we don’t interact with them again until it returns them home. Yes, there are teachers and aids to assist in getting them to their proper place, but this is when “you,” the parent finds out how good a job you’ve done in rearing that child – teaching him/her independence. Although, no amount of independence will turn aside the tears shed by both the little one, and mom when it comes to that first day ever. I think I cried all the way to work that day after dropping off my daughter, and watching an aid escort her to the proper line. But, this to I believe is a right of passage. I have to chuckle, because that could mean for both Mom, and the little one.

The memories of school stay with us the remainder of our lives – good or bad. Personally, every time I open a new book my nose is immediately drawn to the spine. I don’t think there is another fragrance like it in the world. My husband talks about glazed donuts. Why, you ask? When he came in from school with his little buddies, his mom always had freshly home-made ones waiting for them. My daughter remembers a time (two or three months) when my grandmother visited with us. Each of those days, on her arrival from school Great Grandma had a full course meal waiting, pork chops with mashed potatoes. No matter how old you become you hold to those precious snippets of life; they somehow have gotten mixed in to the mold that is you.

Parents look forward to this time of year, because now, semi-quiet returns to the house, and Mom has all those hours to herself; a time for rejuvenation and rethinking those objectives and aspirations, if only for a moment. Because, very soon, the bumper sticker proclamations will again announce your comings and goings, and rule a lot of the afternoons; Soccer Mom, Football Mom, and Mom’s Taxi. Don’t sigh, and shake your head, you know I’m right. Then, as if all of that weren’t enough, I hear – “Mom, Becky and I want to go to the mall, can you take us?” I also, wouldn’t want to leave Dad out, because I know many of you do your share, as well. But, relish every moment now, because the years go entirely to fast.  Like the song, Sunrise, Sunset – Swiftly go the years – believe me they really do. So, rock on Mom. Oh, and you too, Dad.

Earth’s Extremes

Frozen Zanskar River/Ladakh, India

I planned this particular post some time ago when I first watched this new series on The Discovery Channel called Human Planet.  Has anyone seen it?  It is an eight part documentary that describes humans and their association with the area in which they live.  The show is phenomenal from beginning to end, including “Behind The Scenes.”  It first aired in January of this year, but each installment is run from time to time still, on that same channel.  As I watched each week, it brought up a serious question.  I don’t know if anyone has ever thought of this, but we were never given an opportunity to choose where we would be born.  Also, as far as nationality or ethnicity – no choice.  Like each of these individuals showcased in every program, that could very easily have been you, me or the neighbor across the street.  Of course, if that were the case you wouldn’t know it.

The reality is that their lives, and the conditions in which they inhabit are cruel, and extreme.  But, what is unique about all of this is, they don’t see it that way as this is all they know.  I mean, you couldn’t place the day by day person from this country in one of those environments and expect them to survive such conditions.  I think my favorite episode is called, “Not Your Everyday Commute.”  Filmed in Tibet, it presents a father taking his children to school, where they will stay for six months.  But, not just any place of learning; to get there it takes six days, and is a sixty mile trek through the Zanskar Valley – a part of that same mountain range in the Himalayas where in winter the temperatures are as severe as the landscape.  In this case, dipping low enough to create frozen rivers and ice sheets.  He drops the children off, and then, heads out again to return home.  The intensity of the regions exhibited in the series span from the heat of the African planes to this father’s journey on ice to a tribe living in trees, hundreds of feet from the jungle floor.  And, after the home is built in the trees, the smallest toddler even knows how far to journey across the floor of their new abode.

The cultures publicized here are to the end of the spectrum – otherwise they would have no program.  But, I say each lifestyle is intense enough to seriously make one take another peek at his/her own environment.  I must also say, if I didn’t watch this particular television event revealing the different surroundings, I wouldn’t know they even existed.  Now, thinking of my everyday life, I have to thank my Creator for placing me in the area He did.  Needing to be jolted out of the everyday boredom?  Take a gander at one of these productions.  It makes me think of man, needing to push himself to the limits of his existence.  I would think most of us are content with our being as we know it – there are others, however, who need to….oh, I don’t know, let’s say scale a part of the Andes or something on the other side of the spectrum like daring themselves on the scariest rollercoaster ride in the amusement park.

What separates us? What takes someone from western society to the extremes of what we have learned is another’s everyday life – pushing themselves.  But, now that we know of the other astonishing human beings, when you think of it – the westerner is only pushing himself to try to achieve something another person already does daily.  Okay, thinking of the father in Tibet, he won’t try to climb Mt. Everest, he merely lives among the Himalayan mountain range.  The son learning to steal a young eagle and teach it to hunt fox won’t try it another way just to expose his strength.  Then, what am I saying? I’m so very happy I am located in the west.  Yes, we are spoiled, but personally, this standard of living is all that I know.  If you’ve questioned the existence of a higher power in the past, once you have viewed one of this episodes, it should help you realize we weren’t just flung out here, and told to make it the best way we can.

Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto