Roots to Ground Us and Wings to Help Us Fly {Chapter 4}

We’re eight. Blue paint on our faces and furs on our back.

We wear curtains and make bows and arrows from sticks

and string

and paint a target on the fence

to practice while our brother makes a Viking warship out of wooden pallets.

We are free.

We are young.

We capture prisoners and dance to Irish music.

We paint murals and make paper and try to create fire from rocks,

even though we rarely manage to.

We create Saxon camps in dry flower beds

and adopt frogs as our pets.

We go to the pond

and study and write notes

and we learn about creation and fish and plants

and we collect water to look at under the microscope

with an enthusiasm that only comes from


We bring home jars of frog spawn and put it in a box

and watch everyday until we have tadpoles and

then until we have little frogs, and then

we set them free.

We build a treehouse/hut/fort.

We dig holes that seem so deep to us that we could reach Australia.

To have that childish hope again.

We find clay and create bowls and mugs and plates we will never eat off, but that’s okay because

at least we made them.

We are nine and I’ve just discovered the Greeks and Romans

We learn about the Trojans and the music

and art

and the graffiti

and Vesuvius

and the myths.

Reader’s theatre with home-made togas

and crowns made from laurel leaves we found outside.

I am


and Athena

and Paris, prince of Troy

and Helen


I become a hundred different people and stay up to read the picture books we have and the novels.

I come downstairs and announce that this is my favourite thing we have ever studied and can we do


I write and write and write and mum smiles because she knows this is what my life will be.


and history

and myths

and stories

because stories are written in the lines of my hands.

We discuss Homer and Virgil and build Roman cities out of anything we can find.

We study Egypt

and the Israelites

and mummify a chicken

and make reliefs in clay and dress up and

grin at the camera because in that moment

there is nothing more fun in the world.