At least once every week I remind Luke not to climb in the classroom.  “It’s not safe to climb here.” Then I add, with the subtlety of a mafia boss “I don’t want to see you get hurt, I don’t want anybody to get hurt”. Still he climbs. He is tall, the tallest in kindergarten, but nonetheless it is just his nature to keep reaching up, to stretch himself higher.

I was the smallest in my grade, the short and skinny, sickly runt of a kid. Still I climbed, I used to scramble up sea cliffs reaching for handholds, pushing down hard with my bandy, scabby legs, trying to lunge my torso upwards. It was exhilarating. Russ tags this picture ‘forceofnature’, it seems natural that life seeks to climb. The jasmine spirals up towards the light, Luke clambers over desks, I peaked the clifftops.

Right now we are doing a classroom gardening project. They have planted beans and sunflower seeds. The sensible teacher talks in a singsong voice about how all the shoots want to push out of the earth and reach up towards the sunlight. Tired, I stretch my arms to straighten my spine. I catch Luke watching me. We share a secret smile.

Blog photograph copyrighted to the photographer and used with permission by All photographs used on are stored on and are obtained via the flickr API. Text is copyrighted to the author, Rachel Irving and is used with permission by Please see Show and Share Your Work