Where the Sidewalk Ends…

…For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends

                                –Shel Silverstein

While studying poetry with my 6th graders, I suddenly got an hankering for summer weather. In his 16-line poem, Shel Silverstein easily reminds me the adult life that I so longed for when I was younger was nothing compared to the treasure of childhood. In the grown-up world, responsibilities, bills, and time clocks stretch out on the “dark street” where the asphalt flowers grow.  But where the sidewalk ends, the grass begins and summer sings his song of freedom. When I was a child, summer only meant I had to
decide what popsicle flavor to eat or pool game to play or whose house to spend the night at?  Ah, the freedom…

For some reason, it’s been a long winter.  (I’m not sure if I’ve finally become a true Floridian and gotten spoiled to the warm weather or if it actually has been especially cold for an especially long time this year.)  Part of it could also have to do with my occupation, teaching, because I’ve lived most of my life working in the fall, winter and spring and relaxing all summer. Today, I so wanted to don my flip-flops and head off to the beach with a good book.  I wanted to stay up late watching movies and sleep in.  I wanted to put on some shorts and a tank top, head outside, and blast the radio while I washed the car.  Eat a popsicle. Jump in the pool. See a movie in the middle of the day.

But alas, it’s only the end of February and according to Puxatawnee Phil, I still have about 3 more weeks of winter.  I can feel the sun, though, and the freedom that it brings me.  Even if the weatherman tells me to wait, my heart will quietly revel that summer is almost here and childhood will await me once again.  Soon, I’ll pick up my chalk and mark my way to where the sidewalk ends.

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