June 27, 2012

It was over one hundred degrees in Washington, Utah yesterday.

We hit the pool early in the morning and left when an eclectic bundle of water aerobic devotees took over the pool. Their underwater moves weren't half as offensive of the music they were bobbing to, I mean, there are children in the pool. Hello.

In the late afternoon we hit up the pool again and had the place to ourselves. Anson decided today was the day he was going to shed his life jacket and started peddling the water like a puppy. With help from Suze and niece Maggie, Anson started swimming back and forth to us with eagerness I've never seen in him. He was so thrilled at the prospect of aquatic transportation, he very seriously could not stop smiling. Either could I, honestly.

When we returned home I told Suze I wanted to take my children to Snow Canyon as soon as it cooled down.

"Cool down?" she repeated as if to say I do not understand this 'cool down' of which you speak please define?

"It doesn't cool down?" I asked feeling weather-related claustrophobia.

"It will be hot until the sun goes down, and then it will only be slightly less hot."

But Ever has not been able to stop asking for the sand dunes in Snow Canyon since we visited last April, and though she isn't aware of our proximity to the place it would break my own heart to deny my daughter a trip to her favorite natural sandbox.

So I filled the car with water bottles and children and with Maggie, I headed west to Snow Canyon where we found that indeed, the temperature did not betray the desert thermometer. But at least the thick, pink canyon walls provided enough shade to play comfortably in the orange sand for a while.

Anson and Ever ran and rolled, with the same movements that propelled them through the water earlier, they swam through the dirt, legs and arms moving and flapping, coating themselves like cinnamon donuts. But Erin may have loved the experience the most as I let her crawl through the environment, let her put piles of sand in her little fists, let her tongue touch every rock she could find, let her have it all in her mouth.

For every fistful of fine sand I'd make her drink a few gulps of water, I am not sure, but it seems sand consumption would make one thirsty. But mostly I didn't interfere with her discoveries supposing an extra helping of iron in her diet would do her well. And as I watched her divulge--like a buffet of science--I thought about evolution.

When did we stop discovering our world through our taste? When did taste become about calories, constriction, points, pounds and guilt? (SO MUCH GUILT!) Would it be possible for me to think of eating as a means to understanding, a way to catalog intelligence and experience, like my daughter? Could I look at food less as a means to fuel and more as a method to joy? A portal to adventure?

Eating, the entire act, is a blessing.

When it was time to go home I scooped Erin's mouth for any lingering rocks or mud remnants. We all chugged a few mouthfuls of water and brushed our bodies as best we could. Then we headed home exhausted from such a day.

Happy Birthday Stephanie Nie Nie Aurora Clark Nielson, my sister and friend!

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