impossibleway: (Feet at the Lump)
The "Ice Cliffs," Grandad called them.  He always wanted to go see the Ice Cliffs.  They were on the list that we intrepid sight-seers made in the last years of his life--Buffalo Mountain, the Brown Mountain Lights, Stone Mountain, Burke's Garden, Roan Mountain, Cumberland Gap.  He and Grandma Lois had been prolific travelers in his post-retirement years.  The Blue Ridge Parkway was one of their favorite destinations.  We'd always had in mind to go to the Ice Rocks, but we'd never made it there.  By their very nature, their presence results in road closures.  No one wants to slide off the mountain going to see them, after all.  After a mild Winter with one big blast of cold air at its end, we were inspired to seek them out after looking at the icy cliffs outside our little town.

Ice Rocks 1

Having driven by them many times on warmer days, it was a simple matter of looking in my Parkway guides.

Ice Rocks 2

In it, they were called the "Ice Rocks" and found to be in Doughton Park.

Ice Rocks 3

I think we got there just in time.  I bet the last of the ice will be gone this week.

Road Ice

While it was a small show, compared with other years or earlier in the Winter, it was no less impressive.
The ice that had fallen showed some serious water at work.

Ice Rocks 4

It was fifty-five when we arrived, but the wind sweeps ups these stone cliffs with some ferocity.
That quick trip I made back to the car for coats and hats--that was a wise one!

Ice Rocks 5

It was like being in a great freezer with big fans blowing on you.
The wind was so swift at one point, it was hard to walk.

Windy Face

I had given Mike my hat and put up my hood.
The wind was trying mightily to blow it off my head.
I thought this photo was too funny when I saw it.

Ice Rocks 6

You can see here the better part of the ice that was remaining at our visit.  The cliffs go on a bit more, with a little fringe of ice at the top.  You can see photos of them during a more typical year here.  While it wasn't much, comparatively, we all found it to be a powerful, magical place.  We have firm plans to come back next Winter to see them again.  Roan was thrilled at the idea that the ice would come back and probably be more next year.  He kept sharing the news with great excitement and really wanted to bring a big piece home.  That is what I find frightening about climate change--the security that we have known, both for food production and for simple seasonal joys from nature, is at risk.

This wonderful write-up gives a good history of the area.  It tells that the facilities in the Doughton Park area have been closed for some time.  Indeed, the coffee shop where we ate with Grandad in 2008 was not only closed, but appeared to have the glass out of the windows.  It's heartbreaking to me to see our public lands lose funding to keep things in operation.  The current political climate is even more depressing.  I've written here and there over the years about facilities and staffing falling by the wayside, and it seems things will only get worse.  It does, however, drive me to spend more time visiting these places.  We vote with our dollars, after all, and visitors to National Parks matter in a big way.

I don't mean to end on a sour or sad note.  Despite the complexity of the Parkway's beginnings and the uncertainty of its future, it holds a special place in my heart.  It calls to me in a very deep way, one of my great loves.  Now that the children are beyond the baby years and into the bouldering years, I think it's time we spent more time there again. 
impossibleway: (Winter Fields)
To open and close Winter with a visit to the Snail Place and the sight of rime ice seems fitting.  I think that is what we have done, this time around.  I never really dreamed that the strongest parts of the season would be at its beginning and end, but that's the way it's gone.  It was very windy yesterday, but we bundled up to enjoy one last(?) romp in the snow. The ice had blown off, but I could find signs of it on top of the snow, little branches with frost going to one side.

Snowy Ridge

The valleys were clear, as you can see, but the mountains still had plenty of snow.  Just take your pick!

In the Wind

It was quite windy along this little ridge.  I was quite glad I'd made the last-minute decision to put on a second pair of socks and grab a pair of Mike's mittens to put over mine.  He's always off in some warmer place, so I'll use them for him.  We were all wearing scarves (me in my cowl), but the wind was so swift that I had to shield the side of my face with my hand.

Up the Hill

The children made themselves busy up on the little rise where their den was built.  You can see it on the right in the background.  They would climb the little hill (a road cut) and slide down.  Nature's Playground :: the Original Playground, I like to call it.

Snowdrift

I enjoyed the drifted snow.  You can see some of it flying in the picture here--Laurel was coming up beside me when I snapped this.  I really like this photo.

Snowy Road

After that, I took a walk up the tower road, just a bit.  Walking in overalls makes a person a bit stiff, though quite warm.  It was a good, short workout, trying to heft myself along.

Tea in the Snow

Back at the bottom, Willow and Laurel had snow in their boots, so it was time to head home.  We enjoyed our tea first, and I made the sad discovery that I broke the Thermos.  This one was new to us and I dropped it by the car when I was getting it out.  Holding it up to the light confirmed that the glass inside was shattered.  I've never had that happen before, but I've always been very careful.

Brambles

If I were to sum up one goal for Nature School, it would be Love of Place.  It took me a long time to get to this, from the early days of camping with my parents.  Twenty-five years, I guess.  For a long time, I wanted to know the names of things, to catalogue random tidbits, to get to the top of the mountain or the big waterfall.  The over-all mood of a place: the feelings it gives of peace or nostalgia or wildness (like trees stunted by the wind)--those are the quiet gifts.  I guess they do take time to come to fruition.  Certain places wouldn't be quite so special to me if I didn't have a long history with them.  They've been there through the years, both the same and changing, and that has been a real blessing.  I want my children to have a personal store of memories in natural places, of relationships with the land, that they can draw from later on when the human version of life gets to be too much.

Flurries

Jan. 27th, 2017 08:10 am
impossibleway: (Wilson Bentley)
Snowfolks

Snow is back in the forecast for the next few days and that is so nice.  It's snow nice. ;-)  It's not a lot, but we're glad to see the cold weather return to its rightful time.  We've eaten our weight in soups, stews and chili this week.  I've been knitting up a storm, which feels so satisfying after a long time of not being very motivated.  We've spent a lot of time outside, too, and I even hung out a load of laundry in the driving winds on Wednesday.  Those things all feel so good.  Enough is as good as a feast.
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!
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
By the Shores of Silver LakeBack home from another trip to the big city down South, and it's the same as always.  I return to renewed appreciation for my own kitchen and my own bed and the simple everydayness of my own life.  I don't say that to sound high and mighty, just that I really treasure the routine and quiet life we have here.  Life in a place with endless strip malls is just not for me.  I travel often into the woods, but not down the interstate.  I see that a town not so far away, which fought it for so many years, now has a big super Voldemart and the earth is being moved for yet more development.  Willow's reaction to it all, though colored by the stress of travel, nearly brought me to tears.  Yes, why can't we just let the land be and enjoy that kind of beauty?

I've had such a hard time this year, despite trying to really focus on home and routine.  The news from the outside world is just awful.  I don't see our country becoming great again, not for little folks like us, not that it ever was.  It is so hard to know any more, and that is what is so unsettling.  Nothing feels safe any more.  After so many years of hard times, of scraping by, it's hard to keep your chin up all the time.  The weather is crazy, the news is crazy, the people in charge are extra crazy.  It's just too much.

And while it might not pay the bills, this is the year I've realized that it's perfectly acceptable to be the introverted person that I am.  It's probably my greatest strength right now.  Some people pressure us to do more, but we are not often around them, and we simply cannot afford to be dancing and scouting and fencing.  Unless that means putting a fence around the garden. ;-)  I feel glad to offer my children a picture of a slow life, maybe something they might come back to later on, when life feels too full.  I've already seen the Appalachia I knew as a child, with its shaped note singing and dinner on the grounds, change so much.  I am weary of the future, like the elders of my memory sitting on their front porch watching the cars speed by.

I spent the trip knitting and reading about Christmas traditions of a Southwest Virginia that has been gone for almost a hundred years.  We try to hold onto some of those traditions here, and to make our own, as I often share.  The world seeks to steal all meaning and add back materialism, expecting we won't notice the walls closing in on us.  It's up to us to be the filters.  I feel so glad my children are growing up in this little county with our little town.  We've got a bustling main street, a growing music scene, large natural places.  If it has to be a town in this part of the state, this one is it.  Roan wants to live in the country, and I really wish I could give him that, but it's not realistic right now.  I do think we will take to the wild places even more in the Spring and Summer, maybe nature school twice a week.

This is all pretty heavy stuff for the day before Christmas when we are all busy with preparing to make merry.  I really hated being away from home for the Solstice.  It felt almost as if it didn't happen at all.  All the wind went out of my sails.  I've got to gather things back together today and get the house in order.  We need to pick out a Yule log from under the back porch stairs.  It's raining, which is nice if it has to be in the fifties.  We've got some things stashed away for a simple celebration at home with just the five of us.

Don't you like my Christmas ornament I got?  I'll admit that I did some heavy hinting about the sweet Little House ornaments.  This one is so poignant to me.  I think, oddly, I might like parts of the Silver Lake story best of all.  That wild place they went to, that nice house full of good things to get them through the Winter (what a dream of mine!), it's just all so beautiful and bittersweet.

Humankind

Dec. 19th, 2016 06:12 am
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
The fourth light of Advent, it is the light of humankind:
The light of hope, of thoughts and deeds, the light of hand, heart, and mind.


Four Lights

It's been a long wait, and now it feels as if there is no wait at all.  I have loose ends to tie up today and tomorrow, a flurry of making to do, but I feel hopeful that I can do it.  I've had some real lows and a few highs, so perhaps the excitement is past.  I am ready for some waiting and some celebration.

Christmas Pyramid

We had a little accident last week--the wooden mantel fell off the brick on it sits on.  Gone is the oil lamp, repaired is the Christmas pyramid (whew!) and saved were the glass mushroom and my precious silhouette lamp.  The treasured clock is a little splintered around the corners, but it looks fine if you don't stare too hard.  No one was hurt in all that glassy, oily mess, and that is the best of all.

Fourth Sunday Rainbow

We saw this beautiful rainbow yesterday morning, both ends!  We've had half a dozen since Election day, of all things, reminding us that there is Someone much greater in charge of things.  This one was the best, and it brought yet more nourishing rain.  I am beginning to think the terrible drought is lifting.

Nature Table

Sunday suppers are by candlelight now.  I've tried lighting the candle after supper, but that's a time when quiet reflection is not at its best.  It is so lovely to see the lights grow each week.  I am hoping to do our Advent spiral this evening, having waited for the cold to blow out and the wind to die down.  Yesterday started at sixty degrees and ended at thirty!

Four Candles

I'm learning, this year, about things I need to do to make things better for next year. It is always that way, isn't it?  There is nothing wrong with making gifts, but I need to start much earlier, like March.  I did a lot to keep the calendar clear this year and I think that was right--we really needed time to ourselves, to work on ourselves.  The children have been playing much better lately,  and the old creativity is seen once more.  I think, of all things, I used to be vain about how well my children played and dreamed.  It was a quiet vanity, but it was there, no less.  My hope for the coming week and the Twelve Days to follow is for more joyful times and more connection.  Laurel goes to the dentist today (say a prayer for her) and the plan is for me to work on some gifts with Roan.  I think it will be just perfect.

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

Beasts

Dec. 12th, 2016 05:52 am
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
We lit our third Advent candle last night during a simple supper.  I think now that we will light the candle before the meal as a way of quieting things down, of making the meal different from all the rest in the week.  Energy has been high lately, too high for me, and it's obvious that time outside is so helpful.  It's funny to me that the forecast seems to always have our work day be warm and pleasant and our nature school time be so cold. Oh, well, I gave Willow a pair of my wool socks.  We'll make it.

Light of Beasts

It's nice to reflect on each light as the weeks pass by, to notcie each kingdom and its beauty.  I know these are not the common symbols of the Advent candles, the ones used in many churches, but they really give the waiting meaning for our family.

Advent Wreath

Here's our hanging wreath, still artificial after last year's rained needles on every meal.  We have many more years to make a natural one and I have bigger fish to fry these days.

Tidy Space

I had some time to myself yesterday afternoon.  I often spend this kind of time working on school planning, sewing, or cleaning something. I know all that sounds perfectly boring, but it is very nourishing to me.  I really, really need the time alone so that I can be a better person when I am surrounded, which is all the time.  Yesterday, I spent the time restructuring play spaces.  It is obvious that Willow has left the early years behind and cannot sink into play with Roan and Laurel quite as easily.  She can still play and certainly does, but it is different now.

With that in mind, I examined the spaces and the ways they were being used (or not used) and did some shifting.  One play stand was disassembled and tucked under our bed.  Mike repaired one section of the play frames and I got them together again.  They're once more a cozy place for one, intended for quiet time.  The play kitchen moved under the canopy, since the children love it, but haven't been experiencing it's enveloping mood very much.  I moved the bookshelf and mushroom house over by the heat vent, where Roan likes to spend his time.  The bookshelf was being used for jumping, more than anything.  Time to change that.

I've been considering writing about homeschooling as an introvert and what that means to me.  I feel like there are societal voices that go on about giving children lots of social time, or lots of extra classes and activities.  That doesn't feel like the right choice for us at this time.  Budget is a big factor there, along with the question of what running here and there really teaches children.  I'm a firm believer in doing a few things well.  It's obvious I specialize in the domestic arts, and I don't see a need to fit a mold.  Home life naturally evolves as the people there do.
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Mount Rogers and Briar Ridge


I went over the mountains and along the river for another Maya Arvigo massage session yesterday.  My back has started hurting again, holding more tension, while everything else seems good.  Having left the children with my parents, it was nice to take a long drive (made longer by a wrong turn) and see the countryside.  Mount Rogers and Whitetop were covered in rime ice and were a chilly thirty-four in the heat of the day.  Cold and windy is the norm for this time of year.  The creeks looked a little better from the rain, and I couldn't help but have my mind turn to the terrible wildfire in the Smokies.  There is more rain, and maybe a little snow, on the way and I know that we are all very thankful for that.

I feel heavy lately, burdened by life and its cares.  It seems like there is so much going on right now that just isn't right, and we can't get out of it.  I've found myself wishing for that proverbial rock to crawl underneath.  Of course, there is too much to do this time of year to really allow that: sewing, knitting, baking and so on.  I would really like to have one Christmas holed up in my parents' cabin.  I'm trying to draw as much as I can from nature right now, like the exhilarating drive through the woods and valleys yesterday, and our plans for nature school.  I really do live in a place that looks like it came from a Barbara Cooney illustration and what a blessing that is.
impossibleway: (Advent Apple)
First light 2016

This first light always feels so tentative, rather like those lanterns we carried a couple weeks ago.  I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon on Advent preparations after last week's big cleaning.  The house is feeling more sparse and I'd like to think that our days will feel that way, too.  I really need to have a slow and healing Advent experience this year, and I think the children need it, too.  My plan is to spend our time studying the "Christmas Saints," making gifts, baking, finding Christmas in the forest, playing, and hibernating.  Things will build slowly, as the weeks pass.  The Healing Christmas--that's what I want.
impossibleway: (Club Moss in the Leaves)
It's smoky once more, as the wildfires have moved into Virginia.  The air is cold and the day is bright.  After a long week and even longer weekend, it seems right to start the week with hope.  Maybe I just have really sweet friends, but I can see so much love and grace these days.  I saw two rainbows last Wednesday, and that means we got a touch of rain!  There are little signs, here and there, that God truly is in His heaven.

Hornet's Nest

I can tell that my children have picked up on our anxiety.  Everything seems out of sorts lately, despite all the usual things being in place: rhythm, rest, movement, meals, stories, and so on.  They just know.  I've been turning over the idea of civil disobedience in a home with young children in it.  My instincts match those of many others--it is my place right now to show them that the world is good, to make the world what we wish it to be.  It is not time to put ourselves into the chaos until we are all firmly planted on the Earth.  Other people have other approaches, but that one is ours.  It is the small ways we show love that mean the most.  Some dear friends have been so sweet to me lately and it is like a big hug across the miles.  How I wish to bless others in a similar way!

Witch Hazel

I don't have many words these days, but lots of thoughts. I expect we'll find some profound landscape this week for nature school.  I always, always love this poem by Wendell Berry:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
The sun shines bright,
The stars give light,
Before the break of day.
God bless you all,
Both big and small,
And send a happy day.

~ A Star to Guide Me

Is it just me or do you happen to look up every so often and see if the sky is falling this week?  The world truly is too much with us lately, and I'm doing my best to beat it back.  I could say all kinds of things that will come off as divisive, but there's no sense in starting that now, not with the way things are presently.  I've spent the past nine years trying to find a common ground in this space and I'll keep that going.  So, wool and sunshine?  Yes!

Hats in the Pocket

It was COLD for Nature School yesterday, forty-four degrees at 10:00 AM.
Even if it is dry and forest fires are raging in neighboring states, it is at least cold.
And we have adequate clothing to keep us going and plenty of hills to climb.

Partridge Berries

The Raccoon Branch Wilderness Area (oh! wilderness!) was full of berries for our cold fingers.
The number of times I said "put the mittens back on!".
Many berries were small, but we found the fattest ones at the end of our walk.

Sun through the Leaf

And the sun, it was warm when we were in it, and that was such a blessing.
Then, the hats and mittens came off and were stuffed into pockets and carefully inventoried.
These are the days to count our blessings, to take stock of things, and to make some plans.

Two

We picked up sticks for our lantern walk today.
I am so in love with Laurel in this little outfit.  She's like a little Matreshka.
I'm thankful for sticks, too, and a part of the country that affords one
as much self-sufficiency as one is willing to grab hold of.

Hat and Mitten

I'll admit that I am feeling weary this week, so tired of some things that have been part of our lives for so long. There's no end in sight to many of them, but I feel glad that I can sew and knit for my children. It's a special occasion when they receive store-bought clothes that are brand new.  I'm formulating plans for the Winter and Spring, trying to sort out ways to squeeze more out of those proverbial turnips and take care of all that life demands.  There is so, so much to be thankful for, and so much beauty.
impossibleway: (Dodecahedron Lantern)
Martinmas Silhouette

Martinmas comes blowing in tomorrow, and I must say that I have never looked forward to one as much as this one.  I have really come to draw strength from each of our family celebrations, especially this year.  I know I said something similar about Michaelmas, but it feels like the progression of the year has led up to this eerily dark time.  We all have lights within, though, and we will be guided through the Winter, however long it lasts.  I've got a guest post over at The Wonder of Childhood on our family's Martinmas celebrations and their growth through the years.  Without a community around, these festivals have become deeply personal, which is just perfect for an introvert like me who is surrounded by my healthy, rambunctious children.  Draw strength from your own humble, flickering candle!
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
These are the three phases of childhood in Waldorf education and they are so, so nourishing on hard days, even as everything seems to fall apart.  This path, it heals and feeds me as much as it does my children.  Whether the difficulty is at home or away, cultivating goodness, beauty, and truth is always the best way to respond.  Just look and you'll find them everywhere.

Three

Blowing Out the Candles

Pupcakes!

Rosalie Has Cake

Wee Cat

Dolls in Bed

Bittersweet and Ground Cherries
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Red leaves and orange,
Golden and brown,
Leaves in the Autumn
Come tumbling down.

~Enki Kindergarten Movement

Red Leaves

The world is like a giant stained glass window these bright October days.  We've taken numerous trips through the mountains, with our guests and alone.  There have been quiet moments of wonder.  Every leaf really, really is a work of art, as trite as it may sound.  They feel especially glowing this year, even though we have been so dry here and the streams are so low.  I took another hike with Katherine yesterday and it was so nice, rather like a therapy session for both of us.  We find our common ground, mull over our differing situations, and ask reflective questions.  It is nice to do that, to have someone who is glad to put energy into relationship.  All my friends are so good to me and so dear.  Phone calls and walks and sweet e-mails are a wonderful way to refresh and renew.

It's been really full around here lately, too full for my comfort. I don't like going places all the time or running lots of errands. The children don't much like it, either.  While some people might say that it's simply the way the world works, I choose to disagree.  It doesn't have to be.  Though there are many things in life that cannot be helped and many concessions we must make, we're still well in charge of what we do with our time.  Here, we keep things slow and fairly quiet.  I feel the special need to really do that right now and as we move into Advent in four weeks.  We've had (and are having soon!) a lot of guests lately and it's worn on everyone.  We love these people, but developmentally, we need some space and time.  There's always some sort of skill to hone or hump to get over and it's so hard to do it with an audience.  I'm looking forward to some quiet--it really nourishes me and I feel so pleased that my children enjoy it, too.

I was doing some Advent reading last night, as I was too awake to fall asleep with Laurel.  Roan and Willow are on a rare night away, so I wasn't quiet so sleepy. ;-)  It was nice to get into a reflective mood and really consider what I want the next eight weeks to be.  Last year felt a little irreverent at times, honestly, and I had to just keep on with our family rituals, not feeling very sure anyone was following along.  I can see now that they were, that those are part of the collective memory of our traditions.  I am ready for this year to be very, very deliberate and a bit private.  We're already turning our thoughts to Christmas, with the few catalogs we get and by making some gifts.  The holly berries are red now, so there is the feeling that something of Christmas is already afoot.

Well, I suppose the day will start soon.  It's Halloween, so there's going to be some excitement today--pumpkins to carve, costumes to put on (even Mike and me!), a dark night to navigate.  And tomorrow?  A new month, a new mood, and a new movement circle that needs me to finalize it!  I wish you all a happy day!

Gold Leaves
impossibleway: (Tulip Tree in the Hemlock)
Golden


I've got a little time to myself this evening, so I spent it preparing Willow's birthday ring and moving furniture.  Those are some of my favorite things to do, along with all the others stuff.  So many things are pleasant tasks, really.  I can be very adept at complaining, but I do try to perform the many tasks of homekeeping with a good mood.  Things these days, when it comes to chores and working together, are going really well.  The weekly work day has the children wanting to do more, which is wonderful.  Sure, there are times where they end up playing in the leaves while I haul them over to our yard, but I feel that's a good part of their sensory integration.  I feel like these are the formative years for teaching children about the daily work of life, about doing what needs to be done.  So far, so good.

We are doing some big housecleaning this week.  I've been going through drawers and closets, taking out warm weather things and other items that need to go.  The children have been doing similar things.  It's easy for this place to feel like it is closing in on you.  I often dream about a bigger house (really!), but I was thinking today that it would just mean more furniture and more stuff.  I'd rather stay here, with a few modifications over time, and keep my materialism in check.  Might help the others, too.  I often wonder how things will turn out for my children.  I suppose every parent does.

Seems everyone is home now.  Time to get ready for some Edwardian Farm!
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!

Fireside

Oct. 5th, 2016 02:49 pm
impossibleway: (Ranger Brandy)
In the place where the storyteller was, the coming of night was marked as it was not in towns nor in modern houses.  It was so marked that it created in the mind a different rhythm. . . He was a storyteller because he was attuned to this rhythm  and had in his memory the often repeated incidents that would fit it. . . A rhythm that was compulsive, fitted to daily tasks, waned, and a rhythm that was acquiescent, fitted to wishes took its place. . .

~Introduction to The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales :: Padraic Colum

Michaelmas FireThe weather has shifted in the past week and now our warmest days are in the mid-seventies.  It feels so nice, really, and we've been having some nice little fires on the hearth.  The children so enjoy evenings and mornings by the fire and have been happily bringing up armloads and wagon loads of wood.  With numerous piles in different states of seasoning, the only disappointment to me is that I don't know how to split wood.  We collect a lot of free wood and get most of it when someone nearby cuts down a tree.  I once asked a man who was going to take off the logs he was cutting up.  He responded with, "You are!"  Yes, indeed!

We don't need to have a fire, of course.  It's not really that chilly at night, and leaving the windows closed would be enough.  But, there is something about a fire, something that is beyond words, and I want to give that to my family.  In a push-button, convenience-based world, all this can be lost or seem very silly.  That's fine, I'll take silly.  I've said before that I want to be an archetype for my children, to provide them with strong, everlasting images of human life (and the life of a human who falls down and gets right back up).  Giving them good work to do and trying to maintain a regular, rhythmic homelife is very important to their education.  I can feel myself feeling very strong lately, which is so nourishing to my spirit.  Our days are patterned well right now.

Those words above, they have been in mind lately as I was mulling them over with a friend. Electricity and all its conveniences (the steady march of time) killed the fairy tale. The world they came from has fallen away and is replaced by what we know now--a world with wonderful advancements where some of the most helpful and intangible skills are elusive. We can't go back, of course, and most of us would not desire that.  I love my furnace and stove and lights and, yes, this desktop computer with internet.  However, there is something so special and whole about taking a long look at where we came from and the little things that unite us with the people who were.  The future will always be easy to take up; it is the past that is hard to hold onto.
impossibleway: (Goldenrod Trailhead)
I know I like to overuse that term, but I will use it again.  That old hymn often runs through my mind and I think of my mother playing it on her old pump organ.  This is our new church.  We've driven by it for years--nap drives for Willow when she was the only one, trips to see the sights from the top of the mountain, Autumn drives out into the valley to enjoy the leaves.  This is my road, it seems.  And it has our church, Atonement Lutheran Church.

Atonement Lutheran ChurchThe children and I started attending back in August, largely out of a need I had to instill more discipline into our days.  I wanted my children to experience the regular weekly routine of church in an intimate, low-key setting.  There are no microphones or electronics--there are times that we do not have a pianist at all.  The congregation is small, around seven people on a peak week when the pastor is there.  I imagine it's a bit funny to them to have young children in their midst, but they have been very welcoming.  They offer a small children's story a couple Sundays a month.  I expect this is the only time my family will ever attend such a small church (in such a beautiful spot!).

There's a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier spot in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale. . .
impossibleway: (Autumn Fern)
There is something muted about this afternoon. It's almost hot, the grass is a dull tan in many places, the sky is brooding. We're all just waiting. Laurel is asleep and I'm hoping Roan and Willow can be content for a little while. I really need some time to just be quiet. This late Summer weather is old, and I guess it should be.  It's almost Fall!  The Autumn crocuses are blooming over at the Roland Estate, such a sweet reminder of Enid.  The dogwood berries are all bright red now and the Spring blooms have been set.  As Summer winds down, it seems fitting to type up some of the loose ends and developments here at our house.  I was filling in Laurel's baby book today, so I feel reflective.Autumn Crocuses

Laurel has been out of diapers most of the Summer.  At one point, I grew tired of washing diapers and that was that.  I dug out the training pants and put them on her and we went on.  After awhile, the diaper sprayer broke, and the need for it went away.  We've always used cloth training pants, not wanting to swallow the cost of disposables.  It's so funny living in a culture that is so removed from reusable things like handkerchiefs, napkins, diapers and the like.  What we would do without old cloth diapers to soak up spills, I do not know.

Laurel is tackling the balance bike now, as part of our set bicycling times.  This is something that needed a lot of discipline to work out well for all of us.  The children now understand that we wait and help with chores and then we can do something fun like riding bikes.  I can't let things run quite as free when I'm the only adult and I think it truly helps us all.  In other news, Laurel knows a lot of songs and nursery rhymes these days, and she's the most outgoing child when we are walking or out in public.  She even sang "Happy Birthday" to someone at church!

Willow seems to be leaving early childhood behind, at least a little.  She is still happy to be full of energy and play imaginatively, but she's just as happy to be quietly looking at books.  Maybe it is her new-found reading skills.  She can read everyday words all over now, gaining new words all the time.  I think the bulk of them are memorized, interestingly.  It's a little bittersweet to see things shift, but I know this is the way of things.  The things that lie ahead will be just as fun and special as those early years.  She can handle washing all the dishes by herself and it feels like she has a good handle on who she is.  Our relationship feels good right now.

Roan is continuing to make progress after such a long, hard time.  He is more connected to our family than he has been in a long time, which is such a blessing.  Peer orientation in such a young child is a scary thing and brings on so many strange side effects.  It really is like someone else took hold of his body.  His fear of dogs has dissipated, too, aided by one of the offending dogs moving away and by some friends and neighbors getting very small dogs as pets.  His sweetness and sleepiness are returning, which were his trademarks, and he's much more agreeable.

DogwoodSpeaking of his improvements, one big thing that has helped is a very regular rhythm to the days and weeks.  I feel so glad that I gave themes to the days and that we've started the school year with gusto.  Those are the best days of each week.  Evening walks are pleasant and time set aside to do the things we want is helping everyone feel met.  Guaranteed time to paint and make things and bake is so nice.  Admittedly, free time is less, but not much less, and I don't think anyone is suffering.  Big changes stick when we stick with the routines that support them.  I am reminding myself that again and again.

I hate to wrap things up abruptly, but I think it's time to start some peanut butter whole wheat chocolate chip oatmeal cookies for the week ahead.  I try to send Mike with baked goods.  Last week was pumpkin cinnamon rolls--they were so good!

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