in which we all go outside to where the shadows are blue
“Why don’t you go out and jump on the trampoline?”
It was worded as a suggestion, but Anselm knew from experience that it was anything but. He was dangerously close to surrendering to his boundless energy and dashing around the Colloquium, an action that is strictly forbidden, given his own proclivity for dashing and then tripping and then falling into things.[Read more…]
Last week we tried making some Christmas candy together. I found a recipe for butter mints, but since we had no mint or peppermint extract, we made orange and lemon and maple instead.
I assumed the two older boys would be the ones to jump in an help, but it was actually Anselm that stuck with me through the whole process. He is very keen on helping, that one. If there is work going on, he is usually the first there. This is true for baking as well as home repair an renovation projects. He’s not too keen on cleaning, though.
These are bad photos–blurry, poorly lit. They are memories.
One day Anselm happened on Jeremy and I in the Colloquium, discussing renovation things.
His eyes were still puffy from sleep. He is frequently the first of the children to come out and find us when they wake.
He is four.
He still speaks with a lisp.
He is irrepressibly cheerful.
His hair is untamable. I ought to cut it; I can’t bring myself to.
He prefaces most statements with “HEY GUYS, I HAVE (insert relevant adjective) NEWS.”
He is part mischief, part irrepressible good humor, part cuddle bug.
He just wants to be BIG like his big brothers.
He just wants to tell me I’m pretty.
He just wants a hug.
“Hey Mom, I fell down and hurt myself and I DIDN’T CRY!” This is a big deal.
This is to remember Anselm, age four.
Just as the weather began to turn warm, as the grass grew deep green in patches and flocks of robins began to visit the farm, we ventured out of the house for a good Explore.
It was Mama that needed it most. We moved last Spring, and the Summer and Autumn were lovely and full of the outdoors and the fresh air. And then Winter came, and it was too cold, and too wet, and then too cold and wet to go outside.
My life in Georgia was almost totally indoors. It’s just how things worked out. We wanted up here to be outside; this winter was frustrating. I don’t like cold. I should get over it.
But outside we went, today, for fresh air both literally and figuratively. We put on our boots and jackets and headed East.
We slept late, this morning, the baby and ourselves. We awoke to a room full of grey light; the misty day after Christmas.
“It’s over,” Jeremy said, “Christmas is done.”
“No it’s not, we still have eleven more days!” I prefer to stick to the old idea of twelve days of Christmas even though our culture does not. Before those twelve days are out Jeremy will be back to work, back to school. We have this week, though.
The clouds broke mid-morning and the sun shone on the field, brown and gold and pale, pale green. When we went outside the wind whipped at us like it always does, but it was a warm wind. Our Christmas Day had been unseasonably warm, a fact which I relished, since it meant the boys could ride their Christmas gifts: a new bicycle for each of them.
We went outside, Jeremy and Pam and myself, as part of a meeting of the Janderhil Committee for Community Improvement and Development. We had spent breakfast discussing chickens and rabbits and bees and the garden, making mental lists and gathering ideas and ideals, long-term goals and goals for the year. Then when Elvie Kay went down for a nap, we stepped outside to ponder the location and size of the garden. We have a lot of preparations to make.
The boys followed us out to ride their bicycles.
I frequently read about writing mothers who practice their craft in the margins of their days–a moment here, a moment there. This is one of my moments of margin: the hour or so between getting Elvie Kay up and getting the boys up.
I used to wake her at 5 a.m. (and put her to bed at 5 p.m.) but now that Jeremy is with us permanently, I have moved her schedule to waking at 7 a.m. and going to bed at 7 p.m. After feeding her and changing her that leaves me about an hour or a little more before the boys get up at 8:30, and I have time to write, if I can wrap my head around it. I have stories I want to tell, and this is my time to get them down.
It’s difficult to sit here and focus on that one thing. Invariably I glance up and make a mental note to clean the glass on the side door today–I ought to do it every day–no, the boys ought to help me do it every day. Focus! Write a few words. What’s that noise? What is Elvie Kay doing? Go to see…I left her here, where did she go? There she is…NO! Elvie! Don’t eat that! Come here to your toys…Sit! Stay! Three babies who sat for months but wouldn’t crawl and now I have a baby that crawls but won’t sit up…Wait, what was I writing about?
(with apologies to Kipling)
Long ago, O Mostly Liked, or maybe last weekend, there was a mother who lived on a hill called Janderhil. And she had four little children that she called her own: Ephraim Eldest, Clive Contrary, the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, and Anselm. And all morning and all evening the children played out-of-doors, except of course the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, as she couldn’t get around on her own just yet. She stayed in-of-doors with her Mother, but the other three played and frolicked out-of-doors until the sun set and the fireflies came out.
And it was one day after dinner, which was scrumptious and nutritious, that the Mother went out-of-doors herself, because Elvie Kate (who smiled and sang but didn’t say much) was already asleep for the night, and because she had some work to do in the flower-beds. And she called Ephraim Eldest to herself, and said:
One of the very hardest things for me right now is writing. Whether it’s finding the time, or finding the desire when I have the time, or finding the words once I have the desire and the time…you get the picture. I’ll lay most of the blame at Elvie Kate’s [tiny, adorable, pink] feet, though I’ll blame myself a bit too, and other life circumstances, and then I’ll throw my hands in the air (full of confetti, of course) because no one’s to blame, and I why do I keep trying to find reasons to place blame upon?
We’re moving in less than a month, and I’ve packed one box. It’s of Elvie Kate’s things–decor from her nursery and clothes she can’t wear yet–I have no idea where to start, but I do know that I can work with a much clearer mind when I’m right up on a deadline, so I’m not rushing quite yet to push through the muddled fog that are my mental processes at the moment. I’m just trying to get caught up on the laundry first.
In the meantime I am dreaming of forgetting things in various rooms but not having to climb stairs to go get them (new house is a ranch style) and not driving down our street to find the neighbors have parked three cars deep in the cup-de-sac again. Also trying to grab every moment left with our friends here, and saying yes often, while we still can.
We’re overdue for an update, So here’s life lately.