Zen and the Perfect Bubble

It’s getting late and still so hot, it will be the wee hours before any cooling air whatsoever. I’m trying to decide whether to turn on the air conditioning or just wait it out for that middle-of-the-night breeze. The way I’m carry on about the heat, it’s a mystery how I grew up in the South without air conditioning.

Actually, I recall the sweltering summers of childhood as one big, outdoor party. Without the schedule that school imposed, there was time to play endless games of jacks, jump rope, swim, climb trees, ride bicycles, swing, hop scotch, read and blow bubbles.

Unlike activities that divided the girls from the boys, or games the youngest children weren’t allowed to join, bubble blowing was fun for everyone.

little girl blowing bubbles_cropped 1953 Water Appears and Disappears

Learning to blow a great bubble took lots of practice. And by great, I mean a bubble that didn’t pop right away, that was perfectly round and shiny with color.

The very qualities of a soap bubble that mesmerize make it among the most fascinating forms in Nature. This website is devoted to the soap bubble, its history, science, art and magic!

A homemade bubble blowing brew is a simple combination of 2 1/2 quarts water, 1 cup Dawn or Joy dish detergent and 1/2 cup light corn syrup (find it in the baking aisle) or glycerin (purchase at a drugstore). Mix ingredients in a plastic dish pan. Store leftover bubble mixture in a clean jar with a lid. Blowers can be made out of pipe cleaners.

Blowing bubbles is such joy, I figured there must be enough bubble poetry to comprise an entire book. Surprisingly, there are few bubble poems, and what there is, is directed to children.

But for one:

Bubbles by Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Two bubbles found they had rainbows on their curves.

They flickered out saying:

“It was worth being a bubble just to have held that

rainbow thirty seconds.”

Reading this poem has me forgetting how g-dawful this heat is and instead, remembering an innocence, when blowing a perfect bubble was the order of the day.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. my granddaughter has been fascinated by bubbles since she was about 11 months. she was an early walker and loved to chase the bubbles. now at 4 years old she is a champ at blowing them. i watch her all the time and even in the above 100 degree texas heat she will beg me to go out side to blow bubbles with her. i use your recipe for bubbles but have found any eco friendly dish washing soap works. even if you are a young adult, an adult without children, an empty nester without grandchildren, do yourself a favor and have some fun this year. if you don’t want to make up a a whole recipe of bubble solution stop by a target or a dollar store and buy a small bottle of bubbles like you had as a child and go blow bubbles. i guarantee happy memories will come rushing back.

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