It was a hard day, but then I was writing to a dear friend and found this quote from our years dancing together in college — and sharing it made the evening brighter.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no woman could have dreamed would have come her way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” — Goethe
(I took liberty with Goethe’s words and changed “man” to “woman” and “him” to “her” in the fourth-to-last sentence.)
He is always holding sticks.
June evening light in this beautiful farm valley.
Here is our “wattle” house in progress — made from poplar tree trimmings, grape vines, and bittersweet vines. Jeffrey dug holes for the poplar trunks and sunk them in the ground about a foot deep. Then we all worked together to weave branches and vines in and out between the poplars, adding more as we are inspired. Our “haus” (as Wallace calls it) has become the perfect place for reading, playing, and popcorn eating!
We’re still debating about how to finish it off. Should we bend the tips of the poplars so that they meet at the top or leave the house open to the sky?
They cut down the orchard. It wasn’t a surprise — but still a shock. This orchard is on the northern edge of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and it could remain in agriculture as long as the owners wanted to maintain it.
Having lost interest in the orchard, the owners sold the land back to the National Park (the girls and I counted 45 rings in a tree stump: well beyond the age of most productive cherry trees) — and so now this land will revert back to wild.
It’s a gift, in a way, because no more pesticides will be sprayed on this land, and many more creatures will come to live here over time. And yet, it’s still a deep shock to see this landscape, that my siblings and I grew up with, changed so dramatically overnight.
My sweet Amie sat on a fallen tree and cried. Wallace watched her, perplexed. I stood close by, feeling swallowed up in the mist around us.
Lessons in the Little House.
Gardening with Grandfather and Grandmommy.
Morel walks with Uncle Chris.
Dappled green light in the forest.
Holding hands with a toddler as he explores the world outside.
Spring at Gousty.
My sister-in-law, Lara, has been painting in an aging orchard this year — a series of works in different sizes and different media — following the landscape over the course of the seasons. Seasons of weather; seasons of motherhood; and seasons of political change. I admire how she has stayed with her subject, looking at it in unexpected ways and sharing both her process and her finished pieces.
Seeing the landscape through her eyes this year has renewed my own interest in the intersection between a cultivated and wild world.
One of the questions I’m living with right now is this:
“Is she being met with enough challenge?”
A wise mother friend suggested to me this week that I may not need to be responsible for bringing the challenge to her; instead, my daughter may actually seek it out.
She has crossed a certain threshold where her own bravery and strength will help her find what she needs to thrive.
Our little garden helper would be content to stay outside all day long. Whenever we come back in, he moans “Side! Side!” and points at the door.
When Jeffrey was about Wallace’s age, he said the same thing so often that his nickname became “Side”!