Time is a game played beautifully by children (Heraclitus)
There are a few things that can be said about our yard. An English garden it is not. Prim and proper either. What would we do with all of that? Could an English garden accommodate a –build-your-own castle? A clay mining operation (which is needed for the castle of course) or a jousting arena? I doubt it.
Granted, the castle in the back yard is in ruins. There were two at some point but they morphed into one. Why two, you may ask. Well, because two (little) people at some point in time thought to lay siege on each other’s castle by catapulting stones. When you’re a boy in love with the knight times, it makes all the sense the in the world.
Then, there’s jousting. It takes place in the vicinity of the castle, and it is done with much gusto on a bike instead of a horse and against a tin garbage can donned with a shield and a waiting lance. Noblesse oblige. The laundry line gets in the way but then again, no knight can become a proper one without a few good challenges. Such as clothes lines and mom’s raised beds.
Speaking of raised beds and gardening. There’s remnants of both, despite dogs and knights. How many gardeners can brag about finding knight-in-training hand prints among emerging bean plants? Or a puppy with a tell-tale dirty nose? Honestly, I think the beans are going to lose. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The tour continues with the clay mine site. It has a ramp leading into the ‘processing area’ and back in its heyday the mine cart was bustling up and down the small hill with an enviable clickety-clack. Alas, the cart is now a relic of the old flourishing days of backyard mining. Strangely similar to some area of British Columbia if you think about it.
That homeschooling allows for unrestricted exploration of preferred subjects such as British Columbia history in particular may have had something to do with the boys’ mining forays too. The gold in our case was muck though. Lots of it.
If it means boys playing for hours though, knee deep in both muck and joy and laughing all the way to the sky and back, so be it. As for life beyond muck, there is lots of it. There are shelters being built, expeditions being carried to corners of the world (umm, yard) you’ve never heard of and on sunny crisp morning there are reading snuggles. Ants crawl on our feet, ticklish and curious, and we do not mind because they have just as much right to be there as we do. Possibly more.
In the front yard, the big tree (a silver maple we suppose) fulfills its many duties with utmost dignity. It holds a swing that has taught the boys more about gravity than any manual could, it invites to climbing and bird viewing, and it reminds us of the seasons. Gratefulness and time measured in leaves falling to the ground in the fall and buds bursting in the spring. An ideal time keeper.
As for the garden… It may or may not make it this year. Much of it this has retreated to large pots because of the waves of enthusiasm and creativity sweeping through the yard at any given time. I am not about to stop any of it though. You see, all of this happens but once in a lifetime and if I let it live as it might, the boys will stay just as they are for a while. Just boys, silly and covered in muck, never mind the foot prints on the kitchen floor. Backyard (and beyond) adventures await and if enough adventures happen then there is no need to ever say ‘Mom, can I stay a kid forever?…’ Because they will.