Morning Bubbles

Oh, so patient with him.
Even when he wants it over
and over
and over again.
Even when he grabs onto her hand
and pulls her off of the piano bench,
and over to the couch,
or the bookshelf,
or the kitchen.

Talking to her,
listening to her.
Talking back.
Repeating words,
sounds.

Wanting, so much,
to enter into the constant conversation
of this family
around him.

Leftover Breakfast Crumbs

Messy hair,
leftover breakfast crumbs,
baby on the table,
oil pastels smeared into my fingers and on my bare feet.

This is one of those homeschooling days that feels hard. I’m not sure why. Teething baby? Endless messes? Tired mama? Overworked papa? Too many interrupted moments?

Today, I wish I could call a substitute teacher and take a few hours off. Is there a service out there for substitute homeschool teachers?!

92 :: Happy

WHY

Why all the embarrassment
about being happy?
Sometimes I’m as happy
as a sleeping dog,
and for the same reasons,
and for others.

— Wendell Berry
“Given: Poems,” Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005: page 10.

Marching Along

I have been taking photos (almost) every day this month — I just have not been posting them. Now I am sitting here wondering if my blogging break has caused, or at least contributed to, the feeling of blah that is hanging around me.

Well, just in case it is a contributing factor, I’m going to break out and share daily photos of where we’ve been . . . Marching along through this month.

I just finished reading “Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World,” by Ben Hewitt. It is a deeply satisfying book about homesteading, homeschooling, and paying attention to the vibrant world around us.

It is rare for an author to be both deeply sure and openly uncertain about his path in life. In this way, Ben Hewitt reminds me of Wendell Berry. I’m very grateful to have read his story and for the way it is helping to buoy me during these final weeks of winter.

“Like most people I know, I experience moments of uncertainly about choices I have made. There are so many permutations of what it means to live a good life. There are so many ways to be. How can I ever choose between them all? But then summer comes, and I’m riding the hay wagon behind Martha, and I’m dripping sweat and my arms shake as I pass another bale back to Penny and the boys, and I feel the quiet comfort of knowing there is nothing else I want or need.”

— “Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World,” by Ben Hewitt, Roost Books, 2014: p. 156.

We usually wait until the first day of spring to collect Pussy Willows. But . . . what can I say? We are especially eager this year!

We had to rescue the branches from Wallace pretty soon after I took this photo because he was more interested in ripping them off than in “petting” them gently.

Thanks to Jeffrey and the girls, the greenhouse is up. Tomorrow, on the first day of spring, we will plant our first seeds.

47 :: Mr. Busy

It is quite a day. Not yet 10 am and Wallace is rapidly deconstructing the house. He has tossed a mug on the floor (smashed), attempted to feed the cat (bowl, crashed), and now he has climbed up into a chair next to Ellen and put his fingers in paint for the third or forth time. Oh, and I have mopped up a couple of puddles (he is an ec baby and frequently diaper free) while trying not to trip over the entire contents of my kitchen cupboards spread about the floor. Mr. busy man is keeping us on our toes! A friend remarked yesterday that it looks like we are doing pretty serious homeschooling. I had to laugh. This is what “pretty serious” looks like around here!

30 :: Summoned

Pulled in different directions.

A dozen tasks on my
morning list.
Trying to attend to one,
just one.
To give it the space
to bloom.

But then I am interrupted.
I get interrupted
so
many
times
each day.

It happens so often
that maybe I should consider it
as something else?
Call it by a different name?

Summoned?

18 — 22 :: Go Dark

Amidst a great deal of talk about our country this week: the transition in leadership; the grace of President Obama as he left office; the inaugural address; what it means to be trustworthy; the importance of our words; the value of integrity and respect . . . While all the while wondering what we can do, in our relatively quiet part of the world, to reach out to our neighbors . . . there was a whole lot of quiet work (and play) happening in our home.

January feels very dark. Not just this year, but especially this year, I feel a heaviness that I cannot shake. I do not know if I should try harder to shake it or try to sit with it. But when I sit here, trying to enter in, fully, to the weight of this darkness, I find myself simultaneously celebrating life — life and the joy that is so very present in each day shared with our beautiful children. Their curiosity. Their wonder. Their questions. Their pureness of heart. This is light.

I think of this poem by Wendell Berry (forgive me if I have quoted this recently. It has really been on my mind.)

To Know the Dark

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, 1998: p. 68.

Did Wendell Berry march in the Woman’s March yesterday (or would he have in his younger days)?
Does he outwardly protest? Or inwardly? Or both?
Does he speak out in body? And on paper?
In the light? Or in the dark?