the same backyard

Last night I had a dream about a place I used to live.  I’d driven up to the front of the small town parsonage, and out of the car in front of me, which had also pulled over and parked on the street, came the oldest son of the pastor who had lived there before us.  He was only a boy when his family moved away, but now, in the heart of my dream, he is grown.

He wore a red sweater.  We met in the road and we paused to say hello.  I wasn’t expecting him, nor had I planned on meeting him there.  He barely remembered who I was when I told him, but given his age at the time when he moved, I wouldn’t think he’d remember much of anything of me. We had only both arrived at the same time to come back.

But why does the dream always know where to end?  The alarm went off at 5 AM.  We never made it up to the front of the house, never made it back inside the home where we had lived.  We’d only seen the outside, and the likes of one another, familiar in the fog of the overhanging streetlights, just long enough to know we had found the right place.

~~~~~

the long view

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Well it’s not far down to paradise

at least it’s not for me

-Christopher Cross, Sailing-

Life is too short to drink lukewarm coffee.

I am telling the kids, that if they would like to get me a present for Christmas, to get me a cup that will keep the coffee hot.

I have a high tolerance for things that are not my preference, because I get high satisfaction in knowing someone else is happy. For example, let’s say I love Mexican food, and my father-in-law prefers the more pub-like food options of burgers and fries. I am happy to go to the place where he likes. I like burgers and fries. He also pays for us basically every single time.

“It’s a treat for me, too”, he says, “I enjoy the company.”

Ditto.

This counselor I’m seeing gave me some homework.  He says that every day I am supposed to be intense, my only curb being I cannot be aggressive.  Fearing somehow my intensity might not be enough for him, to match whatever intensity he’s imagined in his mind, I warned him my intensity comes out in loving nature, in being outside and being awed by it’s beauty.  This conversation reminded me then of a book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder”, by Richard Louv.

“I spent hours exploring the woods and farmland at the suburban edge.  There were the Osage orange trees, with thorny, unfriendly limbs that dropped sticky, foul fruit larger that softballs.  Those were to be avoided.  But within the windbreaks were trees that we could shinny, the small branches like the rungs of a ladder.  We climbed fifty, sixty feet off the ground, far above the Osage windbreak, and from that vantage looked out upon the old blue ridges of Missouri, and the roofs of a new houses in the ever-encroaching suburbs.”

“Often I climbed alone.  Sometimes, lost in wonderment, I’d go deep into the woods, and imagine myself as Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves, and strip off most of my clothes for the ascent.  If I climbed high enough, the branches thinned to the point where, when the wind came, the world would tip down and up and around and up and to the side and up.  It was frightening and wonderful to surrender to the wind’s power.  My senses were filled with the sensations of falling, rising, swinging; all around me the leaves snapped like fingers and the wind came in sighs and gruff whispers.  The wind carried smells, too, and the tree itself surely released its scents faster in the gusts. Finally, there was only the wind that moved through everything.”

“Now, my tree-climbing days long behind me, I often think about the lasting value of those early, deliciously idle days.  I have come to appreciate the long view afforded by those treetops.

The woods were my Ritalin.

Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”

“Go to the edge of yourself and accept it.”

I laughed out loud again.

I mean, for real.

Seriously.

I love Mexican restaurants.

I love hot coffee.

What do you love?

charlotte mason

“Children should read books, not about books and about authors; this sort of reading may be left for the spare hours of the dilettante.  Their reading should be carefully ordered, for the most part in historical sequence; they should read to know, whether it be Robinson Crusoe or Huxley’s Physiography; their knowledge should be tested, not by questions, but by the oral (and occasionally the written) reproduction of a passage after one reading; all further processes that we concern ourselves about in teaching, the mind performs for itself; and, lastly, this sort of reading should be the chief business in the class room.”

Thinking on this one.

special school days

The Christmas colors have begun to show up in the leaves.

We’re still at the start of November inside.

Uncle Glenn came over for breakfast this morning.  He’d taken a trip to Washington D.C. and wanted to come and show us his pictures. I like these excuses to have people over.  Autumn brings out my hospitality bug.  Something about the cooler weather and holiday decor makes me want to cook and gather with loved ones.

I told the boys to go outside and play with Tom while I was working.

I felt a little off-centered by the time of afternoon.  It was as if for about an hour, I lost all parts of my cognitive skill.  My thoughts were impaired and I didn’t know what it was I had to do next.  There were too many things and not enough capacity.

I didn’t lose my mind.  I didn’t lose my temper.  I just lost my sense of direction for a moment.  I gathered up clothes and started some laundry.  The kids cleaned the kitchen and went outside again to play. I took a walk down the road and I cried on the phone.  I went back inside again.  I printed off the sheets for practicing piano.

We didn’t do our New England state study today.

Nobody did math.

I didn’t read to the boys.

But yesterday we did.

I know today will count for something.