Molcasalsa and Canyon Rim Park and the Onslaught of Summer

There is a very official-like feel to all of this. It is the last day of school and the first day of June. The teenagers are out in great numbers, toiling away at an incessant, diligent leisure. There is almost an urgency to their skateboarding, a purposefulness to their eating of breakfast burritos as they leave Molcasalsa and walk down the street, an expedience to their wandering around the park, a deep significance and poignancy to every kick of the hacky-sack. The weather could not be more appropriate: a hot, blue sky devoid of clouds; the slightest breeze. It feels as if all of it were intended to be filmed as a scene for a movie and these kids had been put up to it ahead of time, and I just happened to have wandered onto the set. There is a underlying fury to their recreation, as if they know that this time summer will only last a couple of days.

I, on the other hand, waste.

I did work on Tuesday and Wednesday, but that’s about it. No work, no play, just lump.

Tuesday I had a class of 1st graders who really weren’t that bad considering it’s the last week of school. I just had to keep dumping work on them, so that the potential riots percolating beneath the surface would not have the chance to bubble up to the top.

Wednesday was fun. I took a 2nd grade class at Eastwood at the last second because the teacher was too sick and couldn’t come. We walked as a whole 2nd grade a mile or so up Wasatch Blvd. to the bowling alley at Olympus Hills for a bowling field trip. I was so nervous at first that I would lose track of a kid or that some maniac driver would rip through as we were crossing a street, but soon I relaxed. The bowling itself was hilarious. The bumpers were up, of course, but even the light-weight balls are too heavy for most seven-year-olds. A number of kids developed what I would call a flopping method, where they would run forward with the bowling ball in both hands, hurling the ball onto the lane while simultaneously flopping themselves to the ground to prevent from crossing the line. Given the parameters of having the bumpers up, and having balls that are too heavy, it was a genius technique, and several boys were consistently getting spares and even strikes with this method by the close of the afternoon. I also loved how they started making up names for their bowling balls, such as “Meaty,” “Blaster,” and “Poo” (it was a brown ball). It was a slightly stressful but singularly fun day of substituting. I got to know the kids a lot better than I normally would have. It’s a lot nicer when you can just let them do what they do and be loud and themselves, rather than attempting to hold them down and keep everything under tight control. But now, finally, they are left to their own devices.

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