When my parents spent the year with us my mother brought with her many of her own flowers from the acreage. Now that they have returned to Busby she misses those dear friends she planted here. These pictures are for her.
I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Emma Goldman
"I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air." Nathanial Hawthorne
I know a woman (a very talented and witty woman) who feels that Autumn is the start of the year. What a lovely thought! It is a time for putting away and for beginning. Putting away the harvest and beginning the school year. Putting away the beach towels and beginning a new scarf ( Tansy and I are teaching ourselves to knit. Guess who will be getting 50 foot scarves for Christmas...Everybody!)
Autumn is one of my favorite seasons (my other favorites are spring, summer and winter). Nothing beats the crisp cool of a sunny afternoon. Although the wasps are out enjoying the sun before they...um...where do the wasps go for winter? Do they hibernate? Do they just die? (Well, guess what we'll be learning tomorrow!) Anyway, even though the wasps are out the mosquitoes aren't and that is a beautiful thing! I love the sparrow but honestly, hasn't she gotten sick of eating the same droll meal day after day? On my list of things I wish were no more mosquitoes are up there with war, world hunger and knock-knock jokes.
Anyway, with the snow soon arriving, sunny days such as these are cherished. It is a sin to miss them.
The other day Dad and Grandad took the children on a hike in the mountains. Here's what happened...
A lovely ferry ride ...
Hiking through the lush green foliage...
And still more hiking... 11 miles of it! "I couldn't feel my legs." recalls Tansy.
The lovely mountain flowers...
And - The Cliffs of Insanity!
Mom's not here so, what the hey - lets climb those Cliffs of Insanity!
Liam was in his element - his happy place - He pretty much led most of the way and didn't stop to complain or worry. "He was happy the whole time!" exclaimed his brother. You'd think after a 6 hour hike he'd come home exhausted but no - Liam was on a high that lasted late into the night as he talked about all the things he did and saw. He's a real outdoors-man, naturalist, adventurist...er...with a Cat in the Hat backpack.
Final destination - and a chance to soak aching feet in the cool mountain water.
Liam claimed this tree in the back corner of the yard - just perfect for climbing. If I need the boys I know I can find them swinging from her branches or making big plans perched in her leafy tree top.
What is it about a tree that tempts us into her outstretched arms? She draws us up and away from the worries and hurries of the day. She gathers us into her sweet solitude. Gently rocking, she cradles our sweetest dreams and grandest ideas. She coaxes out our noblest thoughts and truest desires. There is no remarkable life without the trees.
"And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home." Dame Edith
It snowed the other day... teddy bear flakes... my favorite kind of snow. There is nothing better than a powdery blanket of snowfall to hide the murky grey of an indecisive winter. I love the pureness of snowfall and I don't mind the cold as long as I can admire the season from beside the home fire.
Liam and I went on a treasure hunt the other morning. We filled our basket with all kinds of marvelous little wonders - flowers, herbs, weeds, rocks and sticks. Then one by one we identified them. Liam smelled and tasted a few. We rubbed lemon balm on our hands and nibbled on dill. What we had initially thought were rocks turned out to be bone. It was a morning of discovery and connection to the outside world. As Liam examined seed pods today I was reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau,
"I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders."
This quote sums up why we homeschool. I too have great faith in the seeds I am planting in the minds of my children. I must carefully choose which seeds I am planting. Not just any old seed will do. I already see wonderful things in my children - budding ambitions and ideas sprouting from their tender minds. This type of gardening is not for the hobbyist. This is my life. It does not end when the bell rings - there is no bell. I am constantly planning and planting - not only in my children's minds but in my own. Is this life for everyone? Well, you have to love it. In one of my favorite books An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter she writes about gardening, " He who is born with a silver spoon in his mouth is generally considered a fortunate person, but his good fortune is small compared to that of the happy mortal who enters this worlds with a passion for flowers in his soul. I use the word advisedly, though it seems a weighty one for the subject, for I do not mean a light or shallow affection, or even an aesthetic admiration; no butterfly interest, but a real love which is worthy of the name, which is capable of the dignity of sacrifice, great enough to bear discomfort of body and disappointment of spirit, strong enough to fight a thousand enemies for the thing beloved, with power, with judgment, with endless patience, and to give with everything else a subtler stimulus which is more delicate and perhaps more necessary than all the rest." This is how I feel about homeschooling but more importantly about my children. Listen a little more to what Celia Thaxter has to say, "Often I hear people say, "How do you make your plants flourish like this?" "What is your secret?" And I answer with one word, "Love." For that includes all, -- the patience that endures continual trial, the constancy that makes perseverance possible, the power of foregoing ease of mind and body to minister to the necessities of the thing beloved, and the subtle bond of sympathy which is as important, if not more so, than all the rest. You may give them all they need of food and drink and make the conditions of their existence as favorable as possible, and they may grow and bloom, but there is a certain ineffable something that will be missing if you do not love them, a delicate glory too spiritual to be caught and put into words. The Norwegians have a pretty and significant word, "Opelske," which they use in speaking of the care of flowers. It means literally "loving up," or cherishing them into health and vigor." Well, I could quote her all afternoon but I think the point is made. And I must always remember this valuable lesson. Whenever we feel a little 'wilted' I need only apply a little 'Opelske'. Happy Planting!