Words by Erin Kaplan
Photographs by Rob Kaplan
Pond days start with a flurry of texts of who can come and which pond to go to and who is bringing the blueberries, peaches, and strawberry muffins. We pack everything in the car, grab sunglasses and sunscreen and the boys haul their towels into the back seats and in about five minutes, we’re there.
The doors open and the kids bolt off to the pond -- already concocting some narrative of superheroes saving the pond or a monster living in the pond, or acting like the pond is made of laaavaaaaa. Some jump right in with no hesitation, some stand on the edges, looking back at the our group of parents for confirmation that the water is okay -- this time, just like the last -- finding out how cold or hot or murky the water is. The parents talk about CSA picking and what we are making with the latest fruits and vegetables as they set up the blankets.
Once blankets hit the ground, not but another 10 minutes from their first dip, the kids react as Pavlov suggested -- running over dripping water all over these blankets into the hummus as they laugh and make up more rules for koosh ball.
Round two! This time, we wade in the water with the younger ones, tiny hands in our own, and the bigger kids make up new jumps off the dock.
After they all get 9.7’s, .8’s and 10 point oh’s(!) on their jumps, and there was a clear winner in koosh ball, and the monster in the bottom of the pond was defeated with a powerful “SHAZAM”, we all get together --Parents and kids-- to finish up the first round of food and turkey sandwiches. After lunch "where next" comes up and we decide to take a hike.
Just down the road, we hike through the woods to a creek. The sun always dapples just right through the trees in the woods leaving a feeling of comfort and magic. Kids love splashing in the shallow water in the creek looking for crayfish. They look for slightly deeper water for swimming holes. Mini waterfalls become slides.
At the creek, parents get in too, and skip rocks and think about that zucchini bread we made for later. As the light is still high in the sky, bodies are tired and skin has gotten a little too much sun we drag kids out of the water and into the cars to head home for dinner. There is always a little “FIVE MORE MINUTES” or “maaaaaaam” or if the timing is right -- a cry or two. But once their tired minds are calmed in the car, 9 times out of 10, they are fast asleep on the drive home. As we get home the younger one wants to help with dinner as the older boy curls up on the couch to read. Dinner tonight is oven roasted tomatoes from the garden and CSA. We toss these with pasta and cheese. We warm up pitas and hummus for a snack while we wait. A day of sun and swimming make bodies hungry.
As eyes get heavy, and book pages are turned, we start to have thoughts of heading to the lake tomorrow for another day of adventures in Trumansburg.