Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday being our last day with the grandies, we (Kasumi, Tatsuya Echo and I) took them to pick blueberries at the blueberry farm (and restaurant) Sora-no-ne, up north and inland from the Lake, where they each filled a container with excitement and blueberries, nibbling on the peak fruit all the while, we grownups enjoying their excitement and the blueberries, helping the trio find the biggest blueberries to pick among the millions of swelling dusky blue globes.
When each of the three had filled her container to the brim, we took them for picnicking, swimming and playing to a place not far from there, their favorite play place, called Kodomo-no-kuni (site link at the link) on the shore of Lake Biwa. It has a big and challenging playground, plus a beach, a pool, a stream, cars you can pedal along roads all around the grounds and lots of other stuff-- the trio love the place; and even better it’s free, except for a 500 yen parking fee. You pretty much have to have a car to get there, though, as far as I know.
When we returned home in the evening the kids went out into the garden, where they discovered the newly dug soil with the post holes around it and asked if they could go in there and walk on it, and go into the post holes - they just had to walk on that fluffy soil and go down into those deep holes - then they discovered the standing sheaf of reeds I had there for marking pole-to-pole distance, and right away turned them into swords and skyreachers and fishing poles, went fishing for imaginary fish in the post holes and caught a few large ones, had us remove the fish from their airhooks and assess their flavor.
Kaya gathered some rocks and made an imaginary fire with all her fish on it and got leaves for spicing and salad while Miasa made soba noodles and Mitsuki made udon noodles, then in the growing dimness one of the twins did what I guess is an instinctive thing for a new female— she pushed one tall reed into the ground and about a meter away pushed another reed into the ground, then stood there before them clicking two sticks together and chanting a song, the other twin soon joining in seamlessly, creating an enchanting and spontaneous song of apparently made-up words.
At the end of the long chant (chant > enchanting: interesting tacit understanding in us modern folk, of how deeply those words connect) she declared to her father and I, who stood at the edge of the garden watching this instantaneous succession of goings on, that this was now a special gateway, and that beyond it was a special room where they could go and do special things. She stood before the gateway and began clacking her sticks again in rhythm with her sister, preparing the room until it was all ready for use, then she went fishing in one of the post holes she hadn’t fished in yet.
Standing there watching in the dimness that gave an aura to their endless spring of imaginings, I couldn’t help but realize the deep and inborn magic that resides in those new spirits; we grownups tend to think it’s all "made up," but seeing the three do their untrained rituals there in the dark at the end of a day, still directly connected to their (and our) source, I was suddenly aware that it’s not made up at all, but is as ancient and true as the seeds of humanity. It wasn’t thought, which is new to each mind, but spiritual instinct, now living on in them—not to be erased or supplanted by education, if I can help it--
All in all, a heartfilling day.