“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people. In modern life there is an immense rush to expression. Sometimes the quality of what is expressed is superficial and immensely repetitive. A greater tolerance of silence is desirable, that fecund silence, which is the source of our most resonant language. The depth and substance of a friendship mirrors itself in the quality and shelter of the silence between two people.”
— Anam Cara by John O’Donohue, p. 112
We had a lovely tour of this tiny house on Sunday. Then on Monday, we went to visit our dear friends, the Lanhams, on their beautiful farmstead.
I am always overwhelmed with wonder when I go to visit the Lanhams. Their farm, Little Valley, is my dream home – and has been since I was 10 years old. It’s a dream that I cannot shake, no matter how far off the reality of owning over 200 acres in Leelanau County (and maintaining a collection of beautiful, old buildings) really is. But, when we visited on this particular day, the day after touring a tiny house just a few miles away, the contrast of the two homesteads was just so striking. I love the idea of so little to care for, on the one hand. And I love the idea of so much to care for, on the other hand. What is this all about? It’s such a paradox, isn’t it? Longing for so little. Longing for so much.
I’m feeling nostolgic about how I used to communicate with far-away friends.
Also, I’m dreaming about writing a book based on correspondence. Letters. But would people actually be interested in reading letters written back and forth from two homeschooling mothers twenty years apart in age . . . ?
The girls are helping me to create a photo for a friend who is working on a poster for a lecture about “Resolving Conflict.” As we are experimenting with silhouettes and expressions, I realize how much simpler it is to depict “conflict” than it is to depict “resolving conflict.” I’m pondering this as I edit the photos and send them off.
The following morning, the photos I have sent cause a conflict which follows me around the whole day. And I am left considering layers and layers of conflict.
It started with a question: how much territory does a pair of nesting robins like to have?
We came across the following information, and today Amabel started making robin map!
“Somewhere out there, a robin ‘calls’ your backyard its home territory. A robin’s territory — the place where mating and nesting occurs — is usually less than half an acre. Territories often overlap, perhaps because of the feeding grounds that neighboring robins share. If you think robins are everywhere, you’re probably right!
Robin Squabble Story
One summer a Minnesota woman had a pair of robins nesting in her backyard. A pair of robins also nested next door on one side of the yard and yet another nested on the other side of the yard. A fourth pair of robins nested in the yard behind hers. After a few territorial squabbles, the robins pretty much kept to their own yards for feeding. But this woman had the only birdbath on the block, so two of the neighboring pairs of robins started sneaking into her yard for drinks and baths. At first, the male and female robins who “owned” that territory spent a lot of time chasing the intruders away.
But when the female started incubating her eggs, she stopped chasing off the other females. The male chased off the other males until the babies hatched. Then he had to spend so much time searching for food for his nestlings that he stopped chasing off the other robins — unless they started exploring beyond the bird bath. As long as the neighbors flew directly to the birdbath along the shortest possible line from their territory, he left them alone. But if they veered off that path for just a few seconds, he charged the birds!
For several weeks, the woman observed where each robin spent the majority of its time. She noted where each robin could range and be ignored by the others, and where each was when disputes took place. This information gave her a clear picture of each robin’s territory. She could have drawn a simple map with each territory outlined.
Activity: Map A Robin’s Territory
Observe your own robins and see if you can map their territories! Here’s how:
Begin by drawing a map of a small part of your neighborhood. Mark in the trees, bushes, houses, fences, and other things that robins might notice. Mark any robin nests you find.
Use this map to study the robins in your neighborhood for a week or two. Give each robin a letter, number, or symbol. See if you can start to recognize different individuals and notice where each spends its time.
Mark a bird’s letter, number or symbol in the right spot on your map every time you see that bird. Do the robins spend more time in some areas than others? Can you draw territorial boundaries on your map based on where the various robins spend their time?”
(All information from: www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/TerritoryStudy.html)