Misty Gousty walks with James and Maia. Watching all the little leaves unfurl. Hens exploring the forest. Wallace maintaining order with a long metal rod. (Where did that come from?) Greenhouse full of baby plants. Rock wall sprouting lilies of the valley. Oh, spring. I love you.
I’m behind in posting my daily photos this month. There is so much life happening here every day — homeschooling, games, play, getting ready for spring, house projects, spring snow, more spring snow . . . and I’m catching just little bits of it on the camera.
Recently, the girls were looking through some photo books from the past couple of years with Wallace, and as I listened to them reflecting on the pictures, and remembering moments together, I realized how these daily photos have — collectively — come to mean something to them.
I started a 365 project in 2016 primarly for myself. These were my goals then: To nurture my creative voice. To encourage myself to see beauty in our everyday life. To be an active part of a photography community. And to see my family more deeply, with more dimension, and with more reverence.
When I continued taking daily photos in 2017, my goal was “to keep practicing the arts of photography and writing and use these tools as a way to pay attention and express gratitude.” I’ve continued in 2018, with a similar goal. Taking photos does help me to pay attention. Seeing though the lens of a camera has become one of the very important ways that I practice gratitude. Because of this, these photos matter deeply to me.
But years from now, I hope these photos will also matter, in different ways — in ways I maybe cannot imagine — to my children.
stepping out of the arctic air
into the greenhouse warmth
welcomed by our dear farmer friend
who put these three little people right to work
planting ginger mothers!
as she and I talked
about the changing seasons
I looked around,
thinking how the seeds of my wedding flowers
were seeded in this very space
by Jenny’s hands.
how grateful I am
for our long friendship
and for roots of love
that grow deep
at Meadowlark Farm.
Our seeds are spread across the dining room table. Packets and packets of garden seeds — some still good, some long past their prime, but I am loath to let them go. Because, where would they go if not into the rich soil beneath my bare feet? I could feed them to the grumpy winter chickens. I could dump them in the frozen woods. I could let my children play with them and plant them in pots and get their hands all dirty and see what might come up.
I ask a farmer friend what he does with his leftover seeds. “Do you save them?” I ask.
“Some,” he answers. “But not the alliums.”
“Oh yes,” I say. “We learned that the hard way. Last year hardly half of our onions came up. The seeds were old. Too old.”
It just begs the question: how long does a seed last? An onion seed. A carrot seed. The seed of an idea in my soul. How long can I keep it in the dark?
The highlight of our little getaway for Wallace was watching the cranes outside our hotel room window!
The tropical greenhouse at the Frederik Meijer Gardens is like balm for the January soul. We could have stayed inside all day.
My dream mini greenhouse!
The only thing they would have changed about visiting the conservatory? Being allowed to explore in bare feet!
I rummaged around in a box of hand-me-downs, looking for a swim suit for Wallace just before we walked out the door to leave for Grand Rapids. When Jeff looked in my bag, he asked, “What is this smurf costume doing in here?”
We’ve gathered around for our annual Calendula Salve making this afternoon!
This year we’re making lip balm with petals we’ve been soaking in olive oil since the end of the summer. The magic of summer sunshine preserved as golden goodness pulls us all into the kitchen. Each year the girls do more and more on their own. I find myself mostly watching and soaking up the wonder of this messy, rich process.
“I salute you!
There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
No peace lies in the future, which is not hidden in this present instant.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”
— Fra Giovanni, AD 1513 (Take Joy! The Tasha Tudor Christmas Book)
Rilke’s famous words to a 19-year-old poet in 1903:
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”