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Young Dreamers

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As I write, it is the end of the school year, a time when we are all dreaming about summer. My summer visions include climbing trees, jumping off a dock into Donner Lake, drinking lemonade with my friends, going on adventures with my sister, taking my dog Albus for runs on the river trail, and working a lot. And, when there’s time, even sitting on a few clouds.

By the time you read this, I’ll be living part of my summer dream: backpacking deep in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

I happen to think I’m pretty good at dreaming, but I wanted to hear from the best. I’ve noticed the older you get the more complicated the dreams become, so I decided to backtrack. I went to the youngest dreamers I could find. And sure enough, their dreams were just as simple and magnificent as I knew they would be.

Miss Bell teaches first grade at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School (SELS) in Truckee. I was in her room that morning, when the kids arrived at school. I could tell they were eager to get inside their classroom, for Miss Bell makes school a dreamy place. We sat cross-legged in a circle on the grassy green rug and Miss Bell explained that I’m a journalist and that I was here to ask them to dream out loud about their best summer day. When they heard the word summer they sighed and their eyes sparkled thinking about the possibilities of those two months.

To get them thinking, Miss Bell asked them to link arms with a friend and go on their daily “wonder and wander.” When I saw the children in pairs walking arm in arm, under the slide, around the picnic table, through the bark chips, I thought how much sense this made. By wandering you’re actually taking your imagination for a walk.

After a few minutes, one of the students rang a subtle bell and everyone found a place to sit alone. Some laid down. Some sat on benches. Some stood. And I even saw one student meditating in an om position on the sunny sidewalk.

As I recorded them, I noticed that the children took their dreaming seriously. They talked like they were in a trance: softly, slowly, clearly, and confidently. They knew their dream.

The dreams are too precious to just describe, so here are a few, word for word. I don’t think dreams need closure, so I’ll leave it at this: dreams can be anything, simple or fantastical, and I wish for you a summer full of them.

Me and my family could go bike riding somewhere very far. Probably Sacramento. I think it would be warm. It would be a long trip for me so I would bring a sandwich, one Z bar, and three gallons of water.  ~ Jack, 7

I would go to the lake with my dog and I would go swim for a long time and it would not be too cold or warm and it would be perfect temperature and the water would be sparkling from the sunshine. I would also like to walk on the water and feel the water on the bottom of my feet. I want it to feel soft and squishy.  ~ Clyde, 8

Getting a jetpack and going into the clouds. And hiking a mountain and drinking lemonade and going in a pool.  ~ Seth, 7

When I’m going to my grandma and grandpa’s house in Montana and biking the Hiawatha Trail.  ~ Hunter, 7

Jump in a pool and do a cannonball.  ~ Luca, 7

To go to the ice cream shop and get one thousand ice creams and go to the ocean and eat them all.  ~ Ryden, 7

Go camping at Woodward and have an opportunity to sleep under the stars just with my parents.  ~ Fia, 7

Laying on the beach. It’s warm.  ~ Clay, 7

Jumping off my dad’s boat and the other one is going up to the sky and touching the sun.  ~ Larkin, 7

Fly without anything and ride my favorite horse at a barn. My favorite horse is Fisher.  ~ Lyla, 7

To be on the beach, lying down on the sand in the sun. I can dream when I’m laying down.  ~ Peter, 7

Feel the sand on my toes. Wherever I touch, the sand is there. I picture myself on top of the cloud daydreaming and just slowly floating away. I stand up and then the sand all comes. It feels like I’m laying on a cloud of sand in the sky.  ~ Ameer, 7

I’m jumping off a pier and swimming 10 feet below the water. I’m in Lake Tahoe with my mom and dad and when I jump into the water I feel comfortable and supported.  ~ Taylor, 7

Laying with my dog on the beach and be able to walk on water. I would want the water to feel like soft pillows.  ~ Anja

Usually swimming in the lake and maybe jumping off the dock if all the snow melts. Maybe I would bring a sand bucket, a shovel so mine for diamonds cause there’s lots of diamond and then I would bring a little jar so I can get all my diamonds.  ~ Max

Going to the beach and then swimming and to lay down in the sand on my towel.  ~ Adison

First I’d really want to fly up and touch the clouds and then go in the pool and lay down on the beach and then go to the spa.  ~ Lexie

I wish that I’m going to get a pool in my backyard and then a plane into the pool and then a tree house.  ~ Charlotte

Laying on the beach. It’s warm.  ~ Clay

Fly without anything and ride my favorite horse at a barn. My favorite horse is Fisher.  ~ Lyla

I go to Mexico with my mom and dad and my brother. We will go horseback riding. I never went to Mexico before but I think I will ride on the beach. Mexico is warm and hot and I love tarantulas and black widows and there are lots of black widows there.  ~ Abby

I’m at the pool. We are swimming under water and we’re bringing some toys and we throw them down to the bottom and then we go down and get them back up. When I come back into the air I tell my mom and dad I got my toy.  ~ Stella


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Reader comments so far...

Allison Brunelli's picture

Allison Brunelli | Reno, Nevada
Hey there Frances! My favorite part of this article was how you described the wonder and wander as taking your dream for a walk. When I go for a walk, everything loosens up and my imagination just comes alive. I hope a lot of teachers offer a wonder and wander to their kids!! xoxox Aunt Allie

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December 13, 2018