Living Arrows: a little moment of the week to pause, savour and treasure
It must say something about the loveliness of most of our weekends of late that we’ve had a serious lack of puddle jumping walks. All the rain seems to happen either when I’m at work and Kitty’s at school, or during our days at home and it’s one thing to go out in the puddles but quite another to go out while it’s still actually bucketing it down. I still haven’t got myself any waterproof trousers and I think they’re a must for actual precipitation. This week H had a hockey match away at Leicester and as we peered out between the raindrops to wave him off, devoutly thankful for my rule of never going to away matches unless they’re nearer to our house than our club house, I was planning a very snug stay at home sort of an afternoon. A little time to read stories, to cuddle up and make a fort out of the quilts, and maybe even a little baking.
But as we cleared the plates from lunch the sun broke through the clouds and the view from the kitchen window turned into a deep blue sky bathed in late autumnal sunshine and there was only one thing to do – grab the coats and grant Kitty’s current dearest wish; to take her bike and Elma’s scooter for a circuit or two around Victoria Park. It’s a beautiful spot for doing laps, there’s a nice flat path around the outskirts of the meadow, it’s not too busy so there’s less chance of running anyone over, and the playground has swings.
And so we set off. There was a slight hitch with this otherwise excellent plans, which is that Kitty on a bike is pretty fast, and Elma, especially on her scooter, is probably slower than Elma meandering. It’s not that she’s not trying to scoot, it seems to be that she just can’t get it going fast enough to build up any rhythm. My suspicion is that the footplate, which is higher off the ground than on Kitty’s, is too high for her, and she’s less scooting and more stepping off and on, but as Kitty is planning to spend some of her birthday money to buy herself a new and bigger scooter, Elma is to have Kitty’s which should solve the problem. But that is all in the future and we were still left with the very real possibility that we weren’t going to complete a whole circuit of the park before it got dark.
But there in front of us, right where we’d stopped was the most inviting looking puddle. Not too deep, not too squelchy despite the leaves around the edges, and perfectly sized for two little girls to wander through.
Kitty ran through it a couple of times before hopping back on her bike. I think she was a bit worried about the water coming over her wellies; this year’s fashion for shortie wellies not doing my long legged girl any favours. But Elma abandoned her scooter with some degree of relief and sploshed back and forth and back and forth. But it was only one the final pass, with the sun threatening to hop behind the tree line at any moment, that she finally stopped and gazed down at her feet with what can only be described as utter amazement.
One foot, flower clad, about the right size of welly and matching her coat and the other, at least three sizes too big and spotty. Only on Elma, whose passion for wearing odd footwear, frequently belonging to other people, would this have seemed so completely normal that neither of us had really noticed until that point.