It may seem odd that one day of vacation could give rise to so many thoughts, but it isn’t often I really have the chance to sit back and watch my family without being at the centre of things. We were sharing it all but separate, all experiencing the same thing but excited by it in different ways. Stephen loved the ingenuity of the engines and farming devices, I loved the simplicity, beauty and order of the environment and the boys…well they just loved being boys.
The boys are both at fantastically creative ages, Huwyl is the storyteller, the lover of words, he immerses himself in each experience whether good or bad. Neirin is just beginning to express his wild imagination, a physical being with such confidence and determination it takes my breath away. Yet their hands still reach for mine, their arms open and ready for cuddles at any time.
Watching the boys run, explore and play for 6 solid hours yesterday with barely a complaint brought a few simple truths home to me:
1 – Shade is important. I’ve been nagging the boys all summer to be out more, even though it has been scorching and I certainly don’t want to be outside. We lack shade on our property so we’ve really baked this year. Next year we will begin planting trees to create little pools of comfort in the summer months.
2 – My children like me. A lot. They like having me near by and are quite content to do all the wonderful things I hope they’ll do such as draw, run, play, laugh, explore, discover…as long as I am not far away. I am still their touchstone, their solid base and, much as I want to get on they won’t stray too far away from me just yet. If I’m nearby, even if I’m occupied or simply walking along they feel secure and will range and have fun. I need to remember that helping them discover the world is my real job, sometimes other things will just have to wait.
3 – Being together matters. It is to easy to end up splitting in so many directions just to get things done. Do you notice a theme here? But it is the sharing of the experience that makes it worthwhile, each of us seeing it through a different lens and learning from the insights or enjoyment of the other.
4 – Productivity is the key to happiness. Everywhere we looked in this place there was work, not just the straight up work of mill or lumberyard but cooking, quilting, growing, making. All of the gardens were full of vegetables, the trees that shaded us were laden with fruit rather than decorative berries, each object had beauty and function. Essentially everything I think is wonderful and good in the world. It saddens me to know that this perception is one our society has largely lost but pleases me to know that those with good sense and a true awareness of the nature of life, thought along the same lines.
It is all too easy (for me anyway) to get drawn into the wonderful world of other people’s creativity. Whether it is cruising blogs, watching movies or even reading books I too often put appreciation ahead of my own productivity. I stay up late to read but them I’m too tired to make the most of my day. A movie can be fun or a documentary informative but if it takes time away from ones own endeavours is it truly valuable?
There is so much I’d like to do, so much more I feel I could get from my time. When I think of the women of the 1860’s I know their hands were never idle. Sewing scraps into quilts or embroidering the edge of a dress, turned sitting time into productive time. Though I wouldn’t want to trade my life for the extremely hard and physical one those people lived, I want to see my home and my life as a truly productive one. I’d like each item in my home to earn it’s place, to have purpose or beauty on its side, I’d like no day to pass without something being made or created.
So I turn my mind from appreciating (which I love to do) and onto doing. Stepping away from the wonderful virtual world and into the real one, it’s where all the good stuff is.