Monday, May 11, 2015
As a family that lives in tune with the shifting seasons, I find comfort in the return of seasonal rituals and rhythms. With each year we grow and change, individually and as a family, yet the rituals and rhythms that ground us fall into place in a similar way.
With the sun rising so early this time of year it means a return to my early morning runs. I quietly sneak out of our home just before the sun rises, leash up Shelby, our dog, and hit the pavement for a run. Those first few steps are always the hardest, but I soon find my rhythm and sink into it. The air is filled with silence as I begin, but then a bird calls out, and another, and another, and before you know it the air is alive with birdsong, as the sun begins her gentle rise over the hills. If I am lucky, as I was last week, red foxes and deer often cross my path as the rhythm of my feet on the pavement creates the perfect environment for my mind to wander and think. I don't run every morning, just three, and on the other mornings, I exercise, do a few yoga poses and meditate, and get a loaf of bread in the oven (a necessity before it gets too hot). Then I make a cup of tea and head outside for a quiet walk in the garden as the sun rises. The early morning garden is a peaceful place to be, and certainly provides a certain grounding sensation for the day ahead.
There are daily walks in the woods with my little man, observing with a keen eye, the changes occurring on a daily basis. Buds are bursting forth with leaves, and new flowers are blooming every few days. We spotted the first wild strawberry flowers, and the trilliums are up, blanketing the forest floor in white. Birds nests are everywhere, filled with hope and promise, and animals scamper here and there as we walk. We finally found some frog eggs, and spotted the first frogs of the season. I can't even begin to explain the chorus of frogs we heard at that pond, it was thrilling. The forest is alive right now, offering the senses a variety of stimulation that makes my heart sing. We have been foraging quite a bit, enjoying the many gifts Mothers Nature offers us. We have harvested trout lilies, coltsfoot, and ramps. Ramp pesto has made a few appearances for dinner, and sauteed ramps in our frittata, with eggs from the backyard, is one perfect meal. Within the next few weeks the garlic mustard will be ready, and of course the dandelions are making their appearance now too. So much goodness, free for the taking, all you have to do is open your eyes, and offer gratitude to the earth as you pick.
Most of our time is spent at home these days. The gardens are being planted, fences are going up, and the chicken coop is being renovated. There are chickens to keep out of my flower beds, and baby chicks to play with. Every day new seeds go in the ground, planting not just food, but hope. As the green shoots pop up from the earth, a part of me still gets excited, even after 18 years of growing food on this land. It just never gets old. And this land, goodness, this land. It is only a very small piece of land, but it is ours, and every season finds me more deeply rooted and connected to this place we call home.
With the return of warmer days, the laundry finds it way outside to dry. We line dry our clothes year round, using a drying rack inside through the winter. Those first few days of hanging our laundry to dry in the sun, those are special days. And of course, I am in the process of gathering all our woolens, so they can be washed, dried in the sun, and tucked away until the fall. We certainly won't be needing those in the summer.
The mail box is a busy spot these days, with me corresponding regularly with a few lovely ladies, and my little man, with a few pen pals scattered around the world. Nothing makes me happier than walking out to the mailbox and finding a letter from a friend. It truly is the simple things...
Our after dinner family walks shift slightly this time of year. With meals now enjoyed on the back deck, we tend to linger over our meals, chatting, bird watching, and enjoying the late evening sun. A certain little man enjoys a little after dinner play, and some nights we light a fire. It's a different kind of rhythm, one that allows us to sink into summer evenings, and enjoy them to the fullest.
Speaking of meals, towards the end of last week, we crossed the threshold, enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the back deck. We enjoy our meals outdoors, listening to the sounds of nature, and lingering a little longer than normal.
My journal makes an appearance later in the day this time of year, as I quickly scribble down my thoughts and feelings about our day, and the magical moments I don't want to forget, along with all the to do lists, grocery lists, meal plans, summer plans, and more. I am in full planning mode for the summer. We are not traveling at all this summer, instead, staying home, enjoying this space, and welcoming friends here and there for some overnight visits. I will have two extra kiddos here, on Thursday's, for the month of July, there are swimming lessons planned for Reece, and a few family day trips. A simple, but fun summer.
Once the journal is tucked away, the evenings are filled with reading, knitting, and homeschool planning for next year...grade 1, my friends, grade 1. The little one who has joined us the last two years on our homeschooling journey will be joining us for grade 1, and that has made my little man very happy. The two of them have a very special relationship, and it makes my mama heart sing to watch it grow, develop and change, as they themselves grow and change.
Someone was asking about our life the other week, questions about how we live, homeschooling, how we spend our days, why we spend so much time in nature, and so on. When I finished talking about our life, she paused as if she was taking it all in. It's a pretty simple life she said, and I nodded my head, with a smile, simply saying, yes.
Yes, it is.