Caden and I started into his fifth grade curriculum today with a main lesson on botany. I loved working through this material with my daughter. The natural grace of a 10-year-old turning 11 is matched by the beauty and appreciation of the small things of the earth. Today we spoke about the mediating effects of plants as they spread and move around the planet. From the tiniest plants to the largest redwood trees we can appreciate their unique contributions to life on the planet.
We shared some reading, discussion, and writing. We painted a dandelion, and planted fall/winter seeds. As we were planting, we talked about the wisdom each seed has to grow into a beautiful (and tasty) plant. Caden chose to plant red beets, mustard greens, and kale.
I am appreciating the small and slow beginning to a year of sharing and learning and growing together.
As I am sitting with my children this morning exploring word families (1st grader) and paragraph revision (8th grade grammar); negative exponents; chemical make up of sugars, starches and cellulose…the birds outside are singing their morning songs.
We live in a network of utility lines, fence rows, pasture areas, strips of forest, and houses. Our forest garden with its shallow pond and various shrubs, berries, insects, etc…makes for a bird haven. It is the language of the various birds that is pulling my attention. Not many alarm calls this morning. Lots of song, some territorial chatter. Yesterday a pewee caught my attention. Today the cardinal is the strongest voice near the window. I love that my daughter is my confirmation–that I am beginning to be confident–but her skills are better and continue to evolve.
In her skills I recognize that her literacy is broader than my own. I may have studied literature, history, philosophy, and religion. My years of German and Sanskrit studies went more deeply. However, her skills with language are quite possibly not only broader–but more useful in navigating the daily world and appreciating its beauty and life.
To find out more about bird language, check out this site.
Find more about Mindvalley here: http://mindvalleyacademy.com .
I struggle often with the Be-ing vs. Do-ing aspect of life–wishing to give so much. As I was writing about some goals today, I wrote: “I want to understand that BEING in the world is a gift to others and I want to model that.” Being in the world is a gift. I think it is a precious gift to be in the world–birds chirping, warm spring mornings, the cat curled up nearby. Coffee ready to pour. AND it is more than a gift for ourselves. We can make our BEING a gift to others.
Beginning of spring, CC-Takashi .M on flickr
I have been, over the past two years, developing what is sometimes called a sit spot. There’s not a lot of mystery to it. I go out most mornings as close to dawn as possible and sit.
I take in the light,
the birds at the nearby feeder,
any insects that are moving…
and I take a moment to be thankful for them.
I take a moment to check in with what is going on within.
I set my intentions for the day
and connect with the mystery of how life unfolds around me.
I feel gratitude.
I open my heart.
This is not merely a sit spot.
Somewhere here is a “sit spot”
Since I began my permaculture training in 2005, I have been hearing of Paul Stamets’ work with fungi. In this presentation to the Bioneers, published in November 2014, he shares not only some of his latest work, but connects key pieces of how our world works. He raises a vital point, which I’ll paraphrase as: If the language of nature is complex, nuanced, and beautiful, but we can’t understand it; then we have a responsibility to learn it–to understand it rather than destroy it.
In kindred spirit, I can echo his question–if you knew that how you washed your dishes or bought your electricity or cared for your lawn or shopped for food would make a huge difference for not just the world today, but for the ability of children and bees and trees and others going into the future, wouldn’t you make that change–and more? What change can you make today? Tomorrow?
40 is fantastic and I completely feel like I’ve earned it–the ups and the downs.
Here are two of my friends at a party to celebrate…
…where we all agreed that we much prefer 40 to 30 or 20. The pressures are different. We don’t worry about the petty things we worried about at 20. It’s easier to speak our truths from a place of integrity–or to say nothing.
To kick off a new year, I wanted to share something by my favorite poet…and muse on the joy and trust of these two friends.
“You must not ever stop being whimsical.
And you must not,
give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
― Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
I have been enjoying Jane Goodall’s love letter to plants–her new book Seeds of Hope–and it has gotten me thinking about how fortunate I have been to have a good relationship with plants in a part of the world in which many species can flourish.
Bee Balm, Asiatic lilies, lemon balm, and lamb’s ear, June 2013
I love when I can design gardens with a free hand and incorporate some of my favorite plants for zone 6/7–healing plants (echinacea, yarrow, stinging nettle, motherwort…), edibles (blueberries, sweet potatoes, passion flower, nasturtium…), natives and non-natives that offer color or texture or an unexpected practical use (yucca, mimosa…. Or just a sentimental favorite like sweet peas… This year I planted pink begonias just because they reminded me of my Great-Aunt Katie and our long summer visits when I was a little girl. I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite, “go to” plants that provide multiple benefits and hope that it inspires others to find their own favorites and discover new ones…
- sweet potatoes
- pie pumpkins
- patty-pan squash
- amaranth–copperhead and other varieties
- Maypop/passion flower
- Corno-di-Toro peppers
- yellow cherry tomatoes
- variegated yucca
- yellow raspberries
- black raspberries
- chocolate mint
- goumi (shrub, nitrogen-fixing)
- goji (shrub)
- solomon’s seal (shade)
- wood poppies
There are so many more, but this is a good sampling. What’s growing in your garden?