impossibleway: (A Winter's Solstice)
Winter's Nap

Supper Time

It's easy, right now, to wish to move on with things and welcome in the bright emptiness of the new calendar year.  I am trying to savor this time out of time while it is here, to be more present, and to wrap up the season with connection and presence.  The Twelve Days of Christmas are a time of clarity for many and I feel it, too.  I can look back and see what I would like to keep and discard, both for the year and for Christmas.  I've spent little snippets of time clearing out things and reorganizing.  It's small, really, since this work here is full time, but every little bit helps.  I think these days are very reflective, and considering materials possessions is certainly fitting.

It's also fitting to consider the past and the people that are gone from this world.  On Sunday, in particular, I felt the presence of my Grandma Lois quite strongly.  She was the person who made Christmas for me when I was a child.  Mike and the children had gone to a cemetery, as we often do, and I was remembering how she left us.  It was a car accident just three weeks before Christmas Eve, the day we always gathered for celebration.  Our family was never the same after that, as if she really were the glue that held us all together and kept us on the path.  Things changed rapidly afterward, as the threads she brought to the family tapestry quickly unravelled.  My own life was still constant, but that was not the case for everyone.

I've been doing some biography work this year, inner work, with the adult development book Tapestries.  After focusing so heavily on child development for the past six or so years, it's helpful for me to consider where I am going in all of this.  I feel like I have taken hold of some big things this year, many of them quite private, and it's both empowering and frightening.  Thirty-three truly has been a "valley of the shadow of death" year for me, though I have had many moments of joy and beauty.  In these twelve days, I'm casually using these exercises from The Parenting Passageway.

I do think I would like to give more outward energy to these days next year, though I do have a few things planned for this year.  Advent has become less and less each year, and I think I will continue in that mood.  I still really, really want a tree with real candles on it, just once or twice.

Well, time to give some attention to my bread dough.  We've got SNOW this morning!  Happy sixth day of Christmas!

The Spiral

Dec. 15th, 2016 06:02 am
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
In the Advent garden,
Dark the night below,
Earth is waiting, waiting, waiting,
For the stars to glow.

~Winter :: Wynstones

Spiral CloseupWe spent our time outside after lunch yesterday, working on our Advent spiral.  This year, it's over at the Roland Estate, which seemed only fitting.  Having spent nearly all of this year looking after the place and enjoying the bounty of the small patch of land, I wanted to end with a memory.  Mike thinks that a magic fairy will swoop in and we will be able to buy the house and land, but I'm not so hopeful.  My only wish is that it will not be turned into commercial property like the stately home that stood next door.  So many mixed feelings, so many.  I don't have all the money or time or ability to take on a house and numerous outbuildings and a garage apartment with structural issues.  Anyway.

A spiral on the land that has come to mean so much to us, yes.

We used our extra Christmas tree branches, along with fresh holly, spruce cones, pine cones, spruce boughs, ivy vines, and bittersweet berries.  The grass was already covered in leaves and raking out the extras gave a nice effect. like it had been planned that way.  We still need to place a big log in the middle for the main candle, and I need to track down the stars.  I've got time, though, as it's going to be too cold today, Mike's playing a show tomorrow night and the weekend looks very rainy.  It's a spiral of found objects and Willow helped with the bulk of it.  It is nice to see this tradition taking shape and the care that she puts into it.  Even Laurel was cautioning me to be careful not to mess it up!

I don't know if we will share it with anyone this year, if anyone will bring lights and walk with us.  I've felt the strong need to simply be just us and choose not to entertain right now.  I have a secret hope that one of the grown children will be in town for Christmas, but that may be only a product of my busy, introverted mind.  I come up with all kinds of scenarious that never happen, conversations that never occur, you know.  Either way, this is a tribute to the people who made this place their home, the lights they brought with them, and the lights we carry out of the spiral of life.

Advent Spiral 2016
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)

Katherine drinks teaThe height of the Fall color is now, without a doubt.  Some places are more colorful than others, but the mountains are not dissapointing.  Last year, everything seemd to go brown.  This year is better, even with the drought.  I've been dragging the children out with me quite frequently lately, so I left them home yesterday and went hiking with Katherine.  It is so good to get out in beautiful color and walk with a good friend.  I think we both really, really needed to go.

I mentioned that I'd been reading Tapestries lately and how that book has affirmed many of the experiences I've had in the past few years.  Katherine could see parallels for her, too.  It's a book on adult development, in the same seven-year increments as childhood.  I've been inching through it, reading when I can really devote myself to it, because there is a lot to consider in its pages.  With Willow's birthday coming up, it's easy to look back on how things have changed in the last eight years.  My life feels like it almost didn't exist before then.  Those days seem so far away.

Well, the day is starting and there's blackberry buckle to warm up and a little gold sweater to put the finishing touches on before church.  And there's a frosty horse and a few cats to feed before then, too.  I better get a move on!

impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
We went to the Big Bend yesterday, out the long and bumpy road to the place away from it all, except mosquitoes.  Oh, the mosquitoes.  Willow is wishing for frost and I am, too.  This Summer is just too much for me.  I could go on and on, but nature!  We went to see it!  The way to keep away from mosquitoes is to keep moving, so we did that.  I had a vision of leisure and sitting in the sun for a long time, but this was not a relaxing sort fo trip.

On the Secret Trail

Roan took me on his secret trail to one of the chimneys.  I am sad to report that the bags of cement from ten months ago were for a communications tower down the road.  Oh, well.

Take My Picture

Laurel asked me to take her picture (in the blazing sun) and then made this face.  I am all the time trying to figure out who she looks like.  It's either my Grandma Lois or my great-grandmother Virgie.

Mushroom on the Fallen Oak

One of the oaks in the pictures from last Fall split and fell.  It was a little disappointing (though more to the tree!).  The children were able to climb on the top of a tree that had been riding the winds not long ago.

Gnome Picnic

We had our insect-ridden picnic, though the gnomes seemed to enjoy their acorns much more.  You can see a rather wild looking fellow off to the left there.  He's the Arkansas Traveler that came to us from Stacey.  She's so good at gnome-making and I'm so excited for her etsy shop to open.  Tanya made the Three Little Gnomes and the Tomten, of course.  We are covered up in gnomes, with plans for making more.  I'm a gnome glutton.

Here

And there's this spot. It's a little stone that stands under a tree in the softest tall grass, just on the edge of the woods. There were Indian pipes around the base of it.  I couldn't get a picture of it with the bright sun, but bury me here. Or sprinkle me. Roan says he will carve my name on the stone.  It seems like the perfect spot.

I suppose that's a little morbid, but I think of those things.  Not with sadness, but with a feeling of the passage of time.  Willow says people and things are changing.  I don't think that I have made her sentimental or nostalgic.  We do talk about old times, but I think it is interesting that she has noticed that.  All this hot, dry weather makes me feel so unsettled and really, truly concerned about climate change.  I don't know.  I try to keep that to myself and see what is now and good.
impossibleway: (Picking Blueberries)
We went to Grindstone Campground this past Thursday for our Nature School time.  I came of age in this place, though not in the dramatic movie/novel sort of way.  I spent my college Summers here working as an interpreter and it's a place I know very well.  My life shifted from high school to the life I know now over the four years I worked there.  It was an interesting time, one that I reflect on and that remains poignant even as other years fade together.

Music Practice

So, the children waded in the cement pond fed by the mountain stream and I practiced the flute.  It's our routine now, I suppose.  I play and they play.

On the Rock

After awhile, we traded for dry clothes and walked on the Whispering Waters Trail.  I led so many hikes on this little half-mile loop.  It was different to walk it with my own children and they saw the old places differently than I did.

Mushrooms

One such spot was some large rocks.  They just went right up to the top, so much more adventurous than me.  I would always just walk by and admire their size.  As I see Willow shift away from early childhood, I want to keep that feeling of adventure alive in her, giving balance to her life.  I think next year will be the year to go camping and have the children carry a few necessities in their backpacks.

Climbing

I think we'll come back before November, when they close for the Winter.  I alawys spent late-Spring and Summer here, so it will be nice to see things after the leaves have come down.  I'm so glad that Nature School is really becoming a regular part of our homeschool week.  It's wonderfully refreshing for me (and the children!).

The Trio
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Birthday in a bowl, birthday with a bowl, a birthday with berries.  All those.

I think everyone should feel special on their birthday, that their little world and community is truly glad they are here.  That's how I feel and it is so nice.  Everyone needs birthdays, even though they are bittersweet.  I'll never be thirty-two again.  Willow gave me thirty-three kisses yesterday, just like the sweet verse I say to the children.  I will hold onto that as the years pass.

Birthday Bowl

My dear friend Katherine gave me this Pyrex reproduction bowl at our Midsummer Revels last week.  I love the stooked grain and the farmer and his wife.  It is fun to have a special mixing bowl to use, since mixing bowls are such an important part of my days.  Really.  I had no idea what a big deal it would be to discover my favorite Pyrex was covered in lead paint.  I'm happier to know, of course, after the mourning period. ;-)

Playing

We took a long drive to Burke's Garden yesterday, after lunch at a sub and pizza shop.  The children burst out of the car when we got there.  This little play structure (and the camels) are the highlight for them.  Willow's memories of this place go back before Roan was born.  Every time we go, I worry a little that the play area will be too worn down or gone, but it's always been there by the old school.

Birthday Ring

Mike and I moved the picnic table into the shade, though it was hardly hot there.  It was just over seventy degrees.  Perfect!  I think I may seek out the cool places for all my birthdays.  Or maybe when I am over eighty, I will find a sunny spot to celebrate.  Time will tell.

June Birthdays

I love that the school-turned-community center had the June birthdays up.  That is community and I will say that the isolated valley was rather bustling with activity while we were there.  We're making tentative plans to attend their Fall Festival in September.

33 Candles!

Ahh, the cake.  Any time I fussed around the table, the children came running, asking if it was time for cake.  This is a vanilla sheet cake with lemon frosting.  It's a good recipe, though I used half the sugar in the frosting.  It was so windy, of course, that the candles were very hard to light.  We had to go on the school's service porch to get them lit and sing "Happy Birthday."

More Cake!

Laurel, obviously, really liked the cake and frosting and made this face when I told her she couldn't have more.  I gave her more.  She had been wanting cake since she watched me mix up the batter the day before.  The moment I poured it in the pan, she wanted a slice.

Vanilla Sheet Cake with Lemon Frosting

Here was Willow's piece.  We often joke that Roan has the best-looking food.  Yesterday, Willow's took the cake.  ;-)

Sing Through The Day

Mike cleaned up while the I played the flute and the children danced on the little festival stage.  Laurel really loves this lantern song, so I played it numerous times.  I have spent hours singing it to her in her brief time on Earth.  I sing it, "I go outside with my Laurel, my Laurel goes with me. . ."  This book is Sing Through the Day, my birthday gift to myself.  It is a treasure!

Burke's Garden

Mike had to stop to take a picture of this iconic store.  He took a photo of it several years ago and also turned it into a concert poster.  It's too bad it's not open any more, but the general store seems to be shaping up nicely.  There were sixteen loaves of homemade bread in various phases of production when we were there.

Residents

No need to worry about finding people's houses and farms.  Every street has a sign like this at the end.

Fields

There is one paved road and one gravel road leading into the valley.  We took the gravel one out.  It takes quite a bit longer, but it was worth it.  We saw a mother bear and two cubs in the woods.  Roan and Willow were able to see them, too.  I guess that counts as our Nature School for the week.  Today, it's back to the regular routine.  It's time to wash the sheets and mow the yard and eat leftover cake.

Leaving the Garden

As we were leaving Burke's Garden yesterday, Mike teased about leaving me there. Yes, please! I got back in the car, reluctantly. Oh, well. I'll take the memories.
impossibleway: (Knitting)
In the Edwardian period, there was a great shortage of iron and, in this area, a number of skills survived into the modern age.  You had iron ore, and if you wanted iron, you could actually make it in what is essentially a very primitive furnace. . . In these rural areas, skills survived for generations beyond which they were almost obsolete or extinct in cities, because what you didn't have, quite often, was money.  And if you had the raw materials, which they had down here, then you could always get yourself out of a fix.

~
Edwardian Farm

These words really struck me last night, as we were finishing up the series.  This was our second time watching it, and I think I got a lot more out of it this time around.  The final installment was a mix of sadness and joy--they had come to the end of year and had a good harvest, but things in the Edwardian period were about to be turned upside down with the first World War.  It was, as they said, the end of a golden age.  So, it's really only been a hundred years since things shifted in such a huge way.

Lace CuffsMy great grandmother was a child of that period, born in 1907.  She saw the world go from horse power to cars to outer space to the internet.  She never drove or used a computer, but she watched her share of television soap operas.  She died just days away from 103 years old.  Her older sister had died ten years before and always preferred her wringer washer and cooking at home.  They were like night and day--one messy and youthful, the other more mature and immaculate.  I think of them often, especially when I see Laurel Mae.  There are things about her that remind me of Virgie, along with my Grandma Lois.

The place that is being referred to by the presenter above is Morwellham Quay on the River Tamar.  The series follows the many, many directions that folks took for earning money in the area during the Edwardian period.  Really, something quite similar could be said about the place where I live.  Canning is in vogue again, but it never left our area.  Gardens, woodpiles, having your own hog, and the like have always been a visible part of life.  They are part of ours (except the hog, though Mike did call me about a cow), even though we could easily save work (and sometimes money) by just buying it all at the store.  I feel so very blessed that my children get to see these things as part of their everyday lives.

What I try to remember is that part of my task, as I see it, is to be an archetype for my children.  That means they will draw on images of our times together many years for now and I have certain things I wish to represent to them.  Part of that is, of course, the devoted mother who loved her children and gave her life to them.  For me, it suits me to have my life be fairly one dimensional (though there are many dimensions to caring for a home!).  I am very glad to be doing just this and don't long for something else.  Contentment doesn't always look like what we think it will.  I am not always happy, but I am always committed to being here.

Most of our limited television watching is spent on the BBC series with Ruth Goodman in them.  What she conveys to the viewer is someone who is joyfully interested in her work, as difficult as it often is.  She comes across as a strong woman who is just happy to be here.  She cackles when her rugs fall on her as she beats them.  She learns each new skill with excitement and enthusiasm.  That is what I wish my children to see.  I want them to be up to the task of life, to see people who are glad to do the work they have.  And what a lesson that is to me, too!  These simple, non-heroes are the very people who should be heroic to us.

Ever since I first read it, I have really loved this exchange in All Year Round:

Ann Druitt: I once overheard two small boys who were watching bricklayers at work on a new house: the one said, "Gosh!" as he watched the hod-carrier with his load, "He must be awfully strong to lift that!"  The other replied, "So what? Superman can lift a house!"

Christine Fynes-Clintion: Well that's a very good example of how, little by little, qualities which can fill out, round off--ennoble, if you like--our development as people, can be eroded.  That which lies just beyond our reach exists as a very healthy source of motivation for our personal growth.  Do you recall the deeply satisfying childhood moment when, on tiptoe you reached at last the rim of the sink, or the top shelf of the bookcase?  In just the same way we monitor our own inner growth when we find ourselves equal to some of the tasks in life perviously carried by our elders and betters.  Superman can't build our confidence--he makes us feel helpless and week--but ordinary men and women whom we look up to, can.  They help us to grow.


And with that, well, I have plenty to do here. I've been doing a lot of sewing and now it is time to tackle some deeper cleaning before the crowd gets back from Linville Falls. Happy Sunday!
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
I finished up a sweet trio of rabbits as the Easter sun rose in the sky.  My own little bunnies were up soon after to enjoy them and some pistachios and chocolate eggs.  Around here, there is no bunny to bring treats, but the Tomten usually comes through.  During our weekly Cream of Wheat breakfast, we chatted on the phone withe Mike and his mother before he started on his way home.  He and his sisters had given her a surprise 70th birthday party the day before.

Easter Rabbits

After breakfast and tidying up, the children made turkey sandwiches for us all and we set out on a picnic.  Living in our little town, we can walk many places.  Behind a giant Baptist church (well, giant for us), there's a playground and the oldest cemetery in town (1747).  There's also the oldest public oak, the Royal Oak, for which many businesses take their name.  We sat under the old oak for our sandwiches.

Picnic

I think this captures my three pretty well.  Willow, always so lovely; Roan, with his sly grin; Laurel, on the move with Oreos in hand.  Our picnic reminded me of the essays in Lifeways.  It was a simple affair, but really so enjoyed.  I hope we can repeat it, our own tradition in the cool hopefulness that is Easter.  I want my children to know and feel special places.  There are so many.

Headstone

Most of the stones in the old cemetery were without carvings on them, such as it is with limestone and the like.  It was a time to remember people who have been, in many ways, forgotten.  They, too, were once lovely, mischievous and busy.  They exist in inventories of the local cemeteries, painstakingly researched many years ago by devoted amateur historians.

Spring Beauties

There were thousands upon thousands of Spring Beauties blooming.
The ground was also full of day lilies sprouting up.
This place is so cool and green in the Summer (with a touch of poison ivy).

The First Bride

The Wassum name is prominent in Marion, with their descendents still living here.
The land where our house is was once part of their farm.
There's a lot to think about with this piece of granite.

Balancing

We skipped the playground that day, choosing to utilize the fallen trees, stumps, and logs.
Sometimes, children need just a bit of modeling to see what is there.
Other times, they need nothing at all but open spaces.

Tall Stone

They often ask me to read tombstones for them.
We are not sad about it.  It is what it is.
Life was bursting forth and renewing itself all around us.

Watching the Train

We watched a train for some time, as this little knoll overlooks the tracks (and a defense plant).
The world rushed on around this little forgotten island of ancient oaks.

Peeping

Laurel, that girl.
She was looking in an old woodpecker hole.

Founder

And here's a tribute to the woman who helped preserve the cemetery and the Royal Oak.
Little did I know that I would visit her special place and walk nearly every inch of it looking for my pentatonic flute.
I didn't find it after we got home, so we went back and looked again.
Becky came over and offered to go look, with no luck.

Searching

After Mike got home, I looked for another hour before supper, taking a rake along. I walked in rows, up and down, back and forth. He went back after supper. I called the Baptist church to see if anyone picked it up in the parking lot and turned it in. Nothing yet. I am sentimental about few things, but this really got me. Such sweet flutes the Choroi ones are. I've been planning a recorder post for some time, hoping to weigh in on how they compare and my preferences for teaching music to children. Oh, well. A replacement will be had some time.

On that note, I'll move along.
impossibleway: (Northbound)
DSC_4205.JPG

I has been snowing since Monday night. The local forecast never mentioned more than a couple inches, but we probably have eight or so now, with some settling.  My parents said there is very little snow at there house out in the country, and they usually get more than we do.  I learned that our neighbor Enid was born in a South Dakota blizzard and, it seems, she goes out in one, too.  We have said goodbye to four of our neighbors in the past four years.  Only five originals remain here on this tiny street.

Enid was the first one to greet us when we moved in on St. Patrick's Day ten years ago.  She came with cooked June apples and a smile.  It seems this was her way.  Like something from Stars Hollow, she was involved with the Welcome Wagon for many years.  She welcomed people who moved to town fifty years ago!  I really enjoyed seeing photos of her when she was young and her children were small and Don had no grizzly beard.  There was no hiding my smile.  Funerals for full, long lives are happy affairs, as much as we hate to say goodbye.

I told Don and Enid's oldest daughter of her parents singing their off-key "Happy Birthday" to me in 2013 and she said, "Oh, no!  Now, she's one of the family."  It was fun to share memories and hear stories.  She told me that we could use their garden plot as our own if we wanted to!  And, to keep on picking the raspberries.  I'll admit, that was a joy to hear.  This is how we hold people in our hearts and ease the loss.  It is community.

One thing that I shared with the family was about a dog that had taken up residence under Don's old boat.  The dog showed up mysteriously some time before Christmas and left just as quietly, shortly before the snow storm.  It would always stay with the boat and eyed us warily as we wassailed the apple trees.  They, in turn, told me of a dog their father had who was always at home, until they went out.  Then, he would have adventures, but be waiting right by the door when they returned.

The connections and interesting happenings have been on my mind a lot lately.  With three of our neighbors, all dear people, I could feel them slipping away and I mourned them months before they were truly gone.  They were all tired, all ready.  It was good, though painful.  Don and Enid's second daughter will live at their home for some time, and I suppose that keeps things going in a comforting way.
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
Once I had a child,Star Shadow
He was wilder than moonlight.
He could do it all,
Like he'd been here before.

Once I had a child,
She was smiling like sunshine.
She could see it all,
Like she'd been here before.

Then I had a child.
Took his while like northern summer
And he knows it all
Like he's been here before.

~Vashti Bunyan

Wednesday afternoon, Roan and Laurel both took naps and there was space for Willow and me to attend to some things.  I needed a break, a truly quiet afternoon to read and sort through things, both in my mind and my home.  I cannot deny that Roan has been in a difficult period for awhile now.  It has me thinking and wondering what I can do, if anything, to help him through it.

I was also thinking about Enid and how she looked when we were there a week ago.  She was hospitalized over the weekend and is expected home before the next one.  I can feel the end of her life is getting very near.  I knew that Don was leaving for a year or so before he did.  They had sold their lake house and tied up loose ends.  He took care of the details, and so maybe he knew, too.  Enid is more withdrawn and less involved when we visit.  Babies still call to her and she is happy to see them.  Grandad was like that two years ago.  We went to see him when Laurel was a week old, I think, and he was happy for the first time in weeks.  The next week, he was gone.  It is a strange thing to watch someone die of old age or a long illness, they just fade out, but death is a threshold we must all cross.

Those were the thoughts I was having while Willow practiced numbers and I set to cutting out a skirt for myself.  I'm using Enid's fabric and I can't help but wonder what she had in mind when she bought it.  Around a 150 patterns in her and Don's sizes have come to live with me, most of them unused.  Maybe she had high aims or a compulsive shopping habit?  All the stuff in her house gets filtered through and very little of it does she need anymore.  I don't know if she reads like she used to--she was voracious, as I can see in the notes in various books that I help get to the thrift store.  I guess that is the way of it, to draw closer to the end and need less and less as our spirit works to free itself.

I was captivated by the above song, featured in this little video of some children at a Lifeways center.  After a long depression, I am trying to come back to the spiritual journey of motherhood with a clearer vision of my children as they are now.  This song, along with a new old book, More Lifeways, and some time in thought (mostly in the middle of the night) is helping.  When I envisioned working to live more in the present this year, I thought it would mean that I would drop what I was doing more often.  It hasn't exactly been that way.  I think, instead, it has meant noticing more, seeing more of the snapshots of who we are right now.
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)
Elk Garden

Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves,

Yellow the Bracken

Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves,

Hawthorn

Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white,

The Saddle

Autumn, good morning!
Summer, good night!


~Traditional

On the trail

I love that verse.  It comes to mind often this time of year, when green things start to become weary and apple trees hang heavy with fruit.  I was feeling thoughtful this week, so I went to my Thinking Place, or one of them.  Sharing Elk Garden with my favorite people has been something that I've done for over twenty years now.  My life has unfolded on this windswept hillside and there are so many memories that I am trying to recall as I look at these pictures.  We're continuing with our forest kindergarten, of sorts, and doing our best to get out to open, scenic places at least once a week.  Blackberries along the trail are pretty good motivation for all involved, especially those wary of cows.

The Passenger
impossibleway: (Picking Blueberries)
Whitetop in the RainI time travel at night.  In my dreams, people visit me from times that I have often forgotten about.  These dreams dominate my thoughts for the next day or so, as I turn over the period in my life they reflect.  I seldom think too deeply about the past in my waking hours--these days are too focused on the present and the future.  It's hard not to think ahead as a parent, especially one that has chosen homeschooling.

The other night, I had such a visit from a person that I worked with over a Summer and Fall in 2003.  I had forgotten this person entirely for a number of years, but my subconscious remembered perfectly.  How vivid it was, how real it seemed.  I can hardly shake it and it has me thinking about the path my life has taken, how far I have come from the days of Ranger Brandy.  I often say that various other people are living my life--Mike jokes about this, too.  This person is probably one of them doing so, working as a hotshot fire fighter.  That Summer, I had considered such a challenge to be a possibility, though my 110 lb. frame couldn't really manage the 50 lb. pack needed to do the work.  Now, it probably wouldn't be such a stretch.

It is hard not feel a pang of sadness and longing over it all, a feeling of something lost that I guess I never really had.  The past has a way of seeming sunnier when we look back on it, too.  What a wild, glorious, confusing time it was.  I knew such joy and sorrow in that short span.  Those were the heydays of Summer jobs in National Forests, I think.  Volunteering still paid a small stipend and the Forest Service had a little extra funds to buy us things like brass belt buckles.  My job for a concessionaire in the forest was nearly full-time.  When it came time to use that experience to apply for full-time jobs, though, they just weren't there.  And so I made maps for a little while and then came home to stay.

I kept extensive journals during that Summer, all the way to late Winter when Mike and I began dating and became very serious.  I also took many photos during that time, using Advantix film, thoroughly documenting the tremendous shifts that occured that Summer and the months that followed.  There were many things I didn't remember at all.  It's been a lot to turn over and it still feels very private to me.  It has me thinking how we came from there to here.  Those people eleven years ago really had no idea what they were getting into.  I suppose we are still who we were then, though more evolved, working further on the things that drove us then.
impossibleway: (Peace can do better)
Ginger gave me a Pyrex birthday.  Surely, thirty-two is the Pyrex Birthday.  She's become a big collector lately, so I sent her a picture of bread in Pyrex and Glasbake pans, saying that our family "loaves her dearly" on her birthday last week.

Birthday Loaves

At that same time, some lovely things were on their way to me,
a wonderful birthday surprise.

Daisy Bowls

I broke my largest avocado Spring Blossom bowl and asked her to find me a replacement.
Mike's mother gave me these bowls and I use them every single day.
The one that broke is the most-used size.
Sure enough, Ginger came through!

Gooseberries!

She also sent this sweet Gooseberries fridgie with a lid.
I put this dear little dish on my stove in my pink kitchen.
I had to put some gooseberries in it, of course, ever how small they may be.
I think the drought is lifting--my radishes have been cracking open!  .

All in all, my birthday was a simple day, which was more than enough.  I felt like I was walking uphill through molasses all day.  It was so hard for me to get things done.  Becky came for lunch and brough yarn.  I ran a couple errands with the children in the afternoon as Laurel napped.  Mike smoked ribs for me and took the children to collect butterfly weed while I enjoyed some time to tidy up in the quiet.  Not quite the fanfare of previous years (wienie roasts, if you recall), but good for me.  Birthdays just seem to be especially exhausting, no matter who has them!

Thirty-Two

Jun. 29th, 2015 06:27 am
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Brandy and Willow with the coral fungus

I've started to get sentimental about having birthdays.  The children have done this to me.  The years slip by and don't come back again.  Always inclined toward the future, I am working more to live in the present, even a little in the past.  Here's a baby Willow and me at Natural Tunnel State Park when our dear friends Anna and Mark celebrated their marriage.  So much has changed since then--there is another little girl that wears that dress, a boy in between, and years spent falling down and getting back up again.  Here's to more of that, whatever it may be.
impossibleway: (Mike Panorama)
Flying the kite

"String!" shouted Brother, bursting into the kitchen. "We need lots more string."

It was Saturday. As always, it was a busy one, for "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work" was taken seriously then. Outside, Father and Mr. Patrick next door were doing chores.  Inside the two houses, Mother and Mrs. Patrick were engaged in spring cleaning. Such a windy March day was ideal for "turning out" clothes closets. Already woolens flapped on back yard clotheslines.

Somehow the boys had slipped away to the back lot with their kites. Now, even at the risk of having Brother impounded to beat carpets, they had sent him for more string. Apparently, there was no limit to the heights to which kites would soar today.  My mother looked at the sitting room, its furniture disordered for a Spartan sweeping. Again her eyes wavered toward the window. "Come on girls! Let's take string to the boys and watch them fly the kites a minute."  On the way we met Mrs. Patrick, laughing guiltily, escorted by her girls.

There never was such a day for flying kites! God doesn't make two such days in a century. We played all our fresh twine into the boys' kites and still they soared. We could hardly distinguish the tiny, orange-colored specks. Now and then we slowly reeled one in, finally bringing it dipping and tugging to earth, for the sheer joy of sending it up again. What a thrill to run with them, to the right, to the left, and see our poor, earth-bound movements reflected minutes later in the majestic sky-dance of the kites! We wrote wishes on slips of paper and slipped them over the string. Slowly, irresistibly, they climbed up until they reached the kites. Surely all wishes would be granted.

Even our Fathers dropped hoe and hammer and joined us. Our mothers took their turn, laughing like schoolgirls. Their hair blew out their pompadours and curled loose about their cheeks; their gingham aprons whipped about their legs. Mingled with our fun was something akin to awe. The grownups were really playing whith us! Once I looked at Mother and thought she looked actually pretty. And her over forty!

We never knew where the hours went on that hilltop that day. There were no hours, just a golden breeze now. I think we were all beside ourselves. Parents forgot their duty and their diginty; children forgot their combativeness and small spites. "Perhaps it's like this in the kingdom of Heaven," I thought confusedly.

It was growing dark before, drunk with sun and air, we all stumbled sleepily back to the houses. I suppose we had some sort of supper. I suppose there must have been a surface tidying-up, for the house on Sunday looked decorous enough.  The strange thing was, we didn't mention that day afterward. I felt a little embarrassed. Surely none of the others had thrilled to it as deeply as I. I locked the memory up in that deepest part of me where we keep "the things that cannot be and yet they are."

The years went on, then one day I was scurrying about my own kitchen in a city apartment, trying to get some work out of the way while my three-year old insistently cried her desire to "go park and see ducks."  "I can't go!" I said. "I have this and this to do, and when I'm through I'll be too tired to walk that far."  My mother, who was visiting us, looked up from the peas she was shelling. "It's a wonderful day," she offered; "really warm, yet there's a fine, fresh breeze. It reminds me of that day we flew kites." I stopped in my dash between stove and sink. The locked door flew open and with it a gush of memories. I pulled off my apron. "Come on" I told my little girl. "You're right, it's too good a day to miss."

Another decade passed. We were in the aftermath of a great war. All evening we had been asking our returned soldier, the youngest Patrick Boy, about his experiences as a prisoner of war. He had talked freely, but now for a long time he had been silent. What was he thinking of -- what dark and dreadful things?
"Say!" A smile twitched his lips. "Do you remember -- no, of course you wouldn't. It probably didn't make the impression on you it did on me."  I hardly dared speak. "Remember what?"  "I used to think of that day a lot in PW camp, when things weren't too good. Do you remember the day we flew the kites?"

Winter came, and the sad duty of a call of condolence on Mrs. Patrick, recently widowed. I dreaded the call. I couldn't imagine how Mrs. Patrick could face life alone.  We talked a little of my family and her grandchildren and the changes in the town. Then she was silent, looking down at her lap. I cleared my throat. Now I must say something about her loss, and she would begin to cry.  When she looked up, Mrs. Patrick was smiling. "I was just sitting here thinking," she said. "Henry had such fun that day. Frances, do you remember the day we flew the kites?"

~Frances Fowler, originally from Reader's Digest, as exerpted from Children At Play

Thirty-One

Jun. 29th, 2014 07:30 am
impossibleway: (Barefeet)
May 1987

Wishing myself a happy birthday this morning.  This picture was taken by Grandad when I was about to turn four.  Classic, all around.  Must have been early May, as the leaves are just starting to come out on the trees.  There's the leaning barn in the background that we used to direct newcomers and delivery men to our home at The Farm, as Grandma Lois called it.  It was built of American Chestnut and it surely did lean more with each passing year.  I can see the branches of one of the great oaks that was in the front yard, too, and the apple tree that we still pick from.  I loved that little sandbox.  Always working on something, that's me.
impossibleway: (Children of the Forest)
On my ideal Easter, Mike would have been home all day and we would have gone to a sunrise service out at the lake.  Mike worked, though, as is the case for most every single Sunday.  Instead, we had a slow breakfast (he was almost late!) and the children ate lots of candy.

Bubbling
Read more... )

On Home

Mar. 21st, 2014 07:51 pm
impossibleway: (The Little House)
The Little House

The Little House is a book that puts me on the verge of tears every single time I read it.  I recently purchased a hardcover version as our paperback was getting worn.  It makes me think of this little house and how unloved it had been when we came to it.  It reminds me of my childhood in the country, how I ran free most of the time.  We had a creek and a small pond that was full of Spring peepers.  I recall staying with my grandmother in town one night and being shocked at how quiet it was.  We had apple trees, too, and a swing.  And town is encroaching upon the country.  The road by my parents' home is now paved and some farms down the road have been divided into lots with the beginnings of houses on them.

.Miss Rumphius

I bought extra copies of Oxcart Man and Miss Rumphius, too.  Miss Rumphius was losing her pages, and Oxcart Man was getting rather dog-eared and had some water damage.  It was an excellent excuse for me to turn the pages into rotating seasonal art for our walls, as my Hawaiian Elizabeth inspired me to do.  More and more, I like to change the pictures out with the months, moods, or seasons.  Reading about Virginia Lee Burton, I saw that she was very interested in design, tailoring the number of words on each page to work with the the art she created.  I can relate.  Having a beautiful, simple home means the world to me in these years when I spend so much time here.  I seek to make this place a sanctuary from the wild, swirling world out there.  More and more, as these children grow, I see what a special thing Home is.

"When I grow up," I tell her. "I too will go to faraway places and come home to live by the sea."
"That is all very well, little Alice," says my aunt, "but there is a third thing you must do."
"What is that?" I ask.
"You must do something to make the world more beautiful."
"All right," I say.
But I do not know yet what that can be.
~Miss Rumphius :: Barbara Cooney
impossibleway: (Peace can do better)
Dancing for Pete


Remembering Pete Seeger today.
Roan's a big fan of The Weavers and I love that.
So long, it's been good to know you.
impossibleway: (A Winter's Solstice)
The frost sparkled on the windows this morning and the children had their first session with the thimbles. They had such fun and had to do two windows this time. The sun is strong and bright now and the frost is melting. We've had our circle time and Willow and Roan are back to sorting buttons. I don't know why we sort buttons in Winter.

Snowy Dogwood

The snow did finally come yesterday and we even had some time to get out in it before supper and darkness and another overnight shift for Mike.  He's done and home safely now, and sleeping.  No more of that, thank you, though Mike arrived home cheerful both mornings.

Lichen Snow

It snowed hard for awhile, a very wind-driven, directional snow that left some areas bare and others very much not.  I wasn't up for sledding yesterday and I'm not sure the snow was deep enough.

Snowy Hemlock

I think the biggest fun, presently, is eating snow.  This is how I found Roan when I came to the backyard.  Still eating blueberries, of sorts, even if it's just cleaning the dormant branches of their snow.

Blueberry Snow

We did a lot of exploring, inspired by Ollie's Ski Trip, and set off to find a snow castle under our neighbor's pine trees.  I used to find him in his yard nearly every time I went over, but times are changing and we are now the main groundskeepers, of sorts.

Under the Pine Trees

I used to love a pine tree when I was young in the mountains.  It was a quiet cave under its snowy branches, a sort of secret spot in the white world.  I spent days freeing it from heavy, wet snow during the blizzard of '93.

Holly Snow

I am hoping my children will find the same magic I had.  I suppose they already have.  Of course, they have.  I'd like to take them to the snowy woods some time so they can feel the heavy silence of the snow on the trees and rhododendrons.  We've got snow chains on the refund list for just this reason.

Snowy Friends


I hear "Jingle Bell Rock" mingled with the sound of buttons. Time to join in the fun.

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