Embracing the Summer!
Off to meet the Quilt Group, with lots of shells.
What to choose? Some Hawaiian slack-key guitar? Calypso? Beach Boys? Jimmy Buffet or Harry Belafonte? I couldn't decide so I grabbed a mini steel drum from home. It was quite a hit. It's amazing how a metal, percussive instrument can sound so gentle and melodic and soothing.
We each chose one shell. While a recording of waves played, we took some time to use our senses with the chosen shell...touching, smelling even listening to our shell. (we only wondered about how it would taste) Then with eyes closed we tried to find our own shell in the collection.
I told about when I was 10 and my family went shark teeth hunting in Venice, Florida. Pearl talked about walking barefoot on the beach. Rita remembered the beaches in the northeast and the sounds of food vendors calling out to advertise their hot dogs or cold drinks. Our special guest Azim, told us about fishing in the ocean in the Virgin Islands!
Azim and the Steel Pan
Azim learned how to play the steel pan when he lived in the Virgin Islands. He was able to play some songs that we all recognized.
Woody was particularly delighted when he could sing along with "You are My Sunshine".
A Change in Mood
I was alarmed when I heard Woody's singing voice suddenly grow weary. "Youuu arrrre my sunnshiine..." I turned to see his once laughing face looking nearly tearful. Rita was turned towards Woody, singing slowly with him. Her expression matched his pained one. I caught Azim's worried expression so I knew I wasn't reading this wrong. But before I could step in to help, Woody and Rita burst out laughing! They were having a good old time taking a cheery song and making it gloomy. These 2 really keep me on my toes!
Postcards from the Beach
After talking about our favorite beaches we imagined the postcards we might send... from Hawaii or Miami or the coast of Spain! We used rubber stamps, markers and colored pencils to make our own beach postcards. I really should have brought stamps and we could have sent them somewhere!
What did I learn? A visit to the beach engages all the senses. It was fun remembering what we used to see, smell and hear on a trip to the beach. But our senses change with time. For many of these folks, talking about those memories is just enough. When I brought out a bottle of Coppertone, I thought we could each take a whiff and be transported back in time, to a day at the beach when people used suntan lotion instead of sunscreen! But that tropical lotion smell brought about little reaction. Mostly that is because Coppertone is my smell memory, not theirs. But also, our abilties to smell diminish with age. I need to remember that.
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.