We are reading so many good books this month! Being at Gousty is bringing out the reading in all of us. The stack of books that Amabel has read to herself this month is even higher than the stack in this photo! Many of the chapter books that I read as a child and adolescent are in this house (the actual copies!), and I love coming into the living room to find her curled up on the couch with one of my old books in her lap.
We are learning so much about Korea during World War II from this book by Linda Sue Park called “When My Name was Keoko.” Korean children were required to speak Japanese during this time when Korea was part of Japan’s empire. Children also learned Japanese Kanji, which we practiced in the fall. The girls loved returning to it again this spring – practicing the characters both in full size and tiny doll size.
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.
For the past few Easters I have make a tiny egg hunt for the mice and all the other little creatures that live in our house. And I realized this year that this mini hunt has become a beloved tradition for the girls. I try to pay attention to these things: the things they remember, the things they tell stories about, and especially the things they describe to Wallace. He takes it all in with such wonder and joy.
Wallace, surrounded by his cousins, at Gousty.
Jane Goodall said that she learned how to be a good mother from watching chimpanzees. During her hours and hours of observation, she witnessed mother chimps and their babies. Mothers do not punish their babies for being “naughty,” Jane said. Instead, mothers redirect their babies when they want to change their behavior or keep them safe.
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?