Summers as a child, and for my children as well, were spent outside in nature. There was time to linger with things that captured our interest, our amazement. Summer life was a celebration every day, so naturally, marking the end of summer, the transition back to school routines needed to be lovely... like the one in this story.
The End of Summer Picnic
Red, pink, gold,
Sun is our painter,
At first quite bold,
Then whispers the colors away, Starting the day.
One late summer morning, Mama woke up Sammy, Hannah, and Iris. It was so early it was still dark outside. Mama had already packed the picnic. The 'end of summer picnic', she called it, because soon autumn would come. It was cooler each morning now. 'Hurry ' Mama said, 'we want to see the first light of day!'
After they got dressed, they went out back. The children
buttoned up their sweaters as they walked to the big hill behind their house. Then up, up, up they climbed the hill. Mama carried a big blanket, a thermos of peppermint tea, and a basket of blueberry muffins, hard boiled eggs, watermelon, and best of all, sweet juicy huckleberries! These were the last berries of the summer.
'Listen,' said Mama, the birds have come along too to welcome the day. Their joyful songs greeted the first colors of morning. 'Oh my', whispered Mama, 'look there!' The children all looked out as the sky started to turn a friendly, rosy red.
Sammy gazed at the sky, and then smiled, for he saw in the clouds something very special! 'Look Mama, there goes a red cloud pony.' They all watched as the pony cloud trotted across the morning sky.
Hannah got excited and looked all across the sky too, and she spotted a pink bunny cloud stretching her morning cloud ears. And Iris laughed when she saw the golden cloud fish swimming so slowly across the sky. After a while of quiet looking, Mama
said, 'I see the shining sun is starting to peek out. A new day is coming right now.'
It did not take long for Mr. Sun to bring the day, and then,
as if by magic, the red pony, pink bunny, and golden fish bowed down low to greet the day, and then they became ordinary clouds in the sky, all white, and softest grey.
As Mama and the children ate their picnic, and watched the sunrise, Sammy said, 'I like the way the sky welcomes Mr. Sun each day.’
It was time to go home, so they finished eating their breakfast, and Iris ate the very last huckleberry! Then they packed up their picnic and blanket and ran, ran, ran, down the hill, all the way home.
That night at bedtime, Sammy, Hannah, and Iris asked, ' can we wake up early tomorrow too?'
'Oh yes,' said Mama, 'tomorrow is the first day of school! We will be up with the birds and dear Mr. Sun’. Then she kissed each one, and said, 'happy dreams, I wonder what fun you will have at school tomorrow!'
Before Mama left their room, the children were already asleep and dreaming.
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