Cloud Watching

the conductor - front cover - laetita devernay

Things have been winding down.

Sitting under the shade of the coconut trees in our back garden at school, we bite into thick juicy slices of watermelon while we listen to the frantic call of the Koel.

It’s the begnning of summer and the end of yet another academic year.

One afternoon past time that we do during this time of year is cloud watching. And if the skies are clear, then observing the beautiful lace-like patterns that branches and leaves make against a clear sky.

This has become an Earth School tradition.

Those who want to partake of this activity quietly lie down next to each other on the mat and look up, while the others continue with their free play. Right above us is every object and beast that we can imagine. The clouds are a fish that turn into a teapot that becomes an old mans face!

It’s funny how traditions start. We are only 3 years old and already we have a few traditions that everyone at school looks forward to…

A trek to the same forest reserve on children’s day, which is celebrated on 14 November in all schools in India.

Giving to others during christmas time and decorating our christmas tree together – one ornament at a time.

This year, we started celebrating world poetry day and the quiet enthusiasm it has generated makes me believe it is something that the children are going to ask for again and again.

And of course, watermelon eating and cloud watching towards the end of the academic year.

Each school year there are always some children who will not return when all of us get back after the summer break. Afternoons like these give all of us the time to just stay in the present, enjoy each others company and welcome the changing seasons.

I feel that the recurring nature of these ‘traditions’ provide the children with markers to grapple with the abstract concept of time through the year plus a sense of community and security.

Personally, I don’t think you can spend an afternoon better than cloud watching!

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