We went for a walk yesterday through the orchard. It’s hard to call it that–it still looks like a motley collection of twigs stuck in the ground. It doesn’t quite have the feel of a real, mature, fruit-bearing orchard; though it will, of course, become that with care and time.
Eldore Rex joined us one month ago today.
I wasn’t entirely happy with his birthdate–11/19/17. It was, I believe, because the numbers are all odd. Or maybe it was because our previous address was 1120 and I was hoping for 11/20/17 subconsciously. At any rate, he was less than an hour and a half early for the 11/20 birthdate, a fact that in hindsight I’m not too concerned about, seeing as it kept my “labor” down to around two hours instead of three-and-a-half hours, a story that will be recounted in more detail in his birth story, should I ever have time to sit down and write it. Anyway, the point is that here we are on December 19, and Eldore Rex is one month old today, not tomorrow.
Our life moves in seasons.
Here we are watching the passing of the last month of spring: the arrival of summer; the deepening of the greens; the growth of the fruit in our infant orchard; the lengthening of the days and the prolonged singing of songbirds as a result. The robins begin with the sun, at around 5:30 in the morning, sitting in the trees outside our bedroom window. I have seen much out of that window over the past month.
Words really do get stuck. There is something in the act of opening the computer and sitting down to write that makes them absolutely congeal in my brain. What was a coherent string of thoughts becomes a gelatinous mass of random one-line thoughts. What’s for dinner? We should take the library books back. My back hurts. What’s that noise? What will the weather be like tomorrow? I should message so-and-so back. Where’s Anselm? What was I wanting to write about again? What time is it?
It was raining outside that day, but it was warm. I was determined that we should take a walk that day, even in the rain. Rather, I thought we should take a walk because it was raining. Because we never take walks in the rain. Is it different in the rain? How different? What shall we see that we don’t see when it’s dry outdoors? You don’t know unless you begin, do you?
We took a walk in the rain precisely because we don’t usually. I am ever looking out for those things we don’t do that we perhaps should. It’s something of a hobby–perhaps more like an obsession. My avoidance of uncomfortable things is a never-ending mystery and I investigate it with the tenacity of any detective: Why am I avoiding this? What would happen if I didn’t? I wanted to walk outside in the rain because I never do it. I never do it because it’s uncomfortable. I know that those uncomfortable things usually yield the most surprising and satisfying results.
I think that’s also why I push through these stiffening, uncooperative thoughts, and try to put down here what words I can. There is something in the exercise alone that’s worth it. I always feel better for it.
A while back I began telling the story of my long wrestle with the word rest. And it is a long one, with many steps and milestones, I think, so that I stopped with the promise that I would continue in another post. It only took a few months, but here is that post, at last.
In the last installment of thoughts on rest, I–mother of two-under-two, with copious amount of Me Time but a heavy case of Burnout–was beginning to get the inkling that everything I thought I knew about rest may be wrong. According to the Internet and other mothers I asked, the solution to my exhaustion was to carve out more time to myself, but I already had carved out several hours for myself and was more exhausted than ever.
There had to be another solution.
Elvie Kathryn turned eleven months old on the 3rd.
She is busy, busy, busy, ever so busy, only stopping to sleep, really. If she’s up she’s moving, whether it’s standing up and rocking or dragging herself along in her galumphing sort of way, or pausing to turn a toy over and over in her hands while she sings to it, da-da-da-da-da-DA! Even while sitting in her high chair to eat, her feet kick and her little right hand rolls around and around.
Pictures are difficult with a such a busy little bee. Combine that with the fact that she doesn’t care for any of the toys that I choose for her to look at…well, that’s why she doesn’t get many pictures taken these days. [Read more…]
As the new year has begun, I’ve found myself spending equal amount of time looking forward and looking back. I’ve re-read my bullet journals for the year, the hopes and the challenges I wrote for myself, and using that as a guide for my goals for this year.
I didn’t really have resolutions last year. I knew I was having my fourth baby and I knew we were moving from Georgia to Kentucky, and I figured that would be enough to worry about. And didn’t know the kids and I would be living in a different state than Jeremy for half of the year while we waited for our old house to sell. It was a good year but a long one!
It’s the en vogue thing, at the start of the year, to choose a word for the coming year, to guide and steer decisions and hearts. I have thought long and hard over it, and I couldn’t really settle on just one word. My hope for 2017 is an ideal that I can’t find just one word to summarize. So here are a few words–my hopes for the new year.
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.
In hindsight I may have reacted too harshly, but this was his eyesight we were dealing with, and I knew that any damage done would be permanent. And he is more and more thinking himself The Wisest, probably because he is the oldest and, compared to his brothers and baby sister, he is the The Wisest, though he has yet to learn that that sampling of four children that he dominates is hardly a cross-section of the entire world’s population.
This past year has given space to much thinking and evaluation–much contemplation on busyness vs. diligence, on valuing people and making a home, on routine (oh, how I have evaluated and re-evaluated our routine!) on birth and the eternal perspective, and on so many other things that haven’t made any appearance here because they haven’t matured into coherent thoughts, able to be shared.
The concept of rest is something I have been thinking on for several years. Oh, I know that thinking on is such a tame word for the process–I use it for the same reason as that nebulous word interesting, which we use because we can’t think of any other phrase to express so many things. My husband constantly stops me after I’ve called something “interesting”: What do you really mean when you use that word? Strange, repulsive, curious, funny, fascinating? When I say “thinking on” I mean obsessing over, evaluating, wrestling with, trying to make clear.