Wise Words About Water from Marilynne Robinson

August 1, 2008

The subject of water and children is so summery and joyous and full of possibility that we couldn't confine it to just one day among other days. The shore not any old escape -- it's what summer is all about (at least to the preschool crowd). We want to think and write about it and live it all summer-long.

And we hope you'll join us at the shoreline nearest you. It doesn't have to be a silky, sun-kissed sand beach, by the way. (Though good for you if it is!) The shore, we say (and the preschoolers we know seem to agree), is where the sea meets not only sand but also rocks, where lake meets land, pool meets pavement, stream and river meet their banks, and even where a sprinkler or inflatable kiddie pool meets the grass.

Along these lines (and throwing in a summer beach reading suggestion if you should ever have a moment to take your eyes off your preschoolers), we offer you today's quotation from the superb novel Gilead by Marilynne Robinson.

An old man writes in a letter addressed to his very young son: 

"You and Tobias are hopping around in the sprinkler. The sprinkler is a magnificent invention because it exposes raindrops to sunshine. That does occur in nature but it is rare. ... You two are dancing around in your iridescent downpour, whooping and stomping as sane people ought to do when they encounter a thing so miraculous as water."

Here's to many such moments of whooping and stomping and splashing and playing in the miracle that is water!

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    In NYC/Brooklyn where we live, all the playgrounds have water sprinklers. My son has joyously run through these sprinklers every summer since he was old enough to run. I really feel like these are some of the moments he's been happiest---just being able to run free through water on a hot summer's day.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    We purchased our first slip 'n slide last week and my kids just about wore it out in its first use. Brings back so many fun memories of simple summer times!

    over a year ago


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