Friday, August 23, 2019

Almost Autumn

"When I am to die
Receive me, I'll cry
For Jesus hath loved me, I cannot tell why
But this I do find
We two are so joined
He'll not live in glory and leave me behind."

~ William Walker

****
Where did the summer go? 



Perhaps it was only a few days long, after all. I can't remember. I just know that now the signs of autumn are appearing. The leaves have begun their incredible color transformation and show us again how beautiful an ending can be. 



Going to sleep is not a sadness. In the Spring new life will come again. There is reason to celebrate all parts of the circle.



School has started again and this morning the air was almost chilly as little Rosie and I walked home from the bus stop. She was snuggled deep into her cape and her bright blue eyes smiled out at me from her hood and the bright hair that the wind whipped around her face. She looked up, as she always does, to see if the mourning doves were sitting on the power lines as they always do. 


"Coo, COOOOO, cooo coo." She called. They answered, as they always do. She smiled, and we went into the house for breakfast.



We went out to the creek recently and it was brown and high. A few recent days of rain have muddied the waters that rush over the rocks. No slow tranquil drip of summer; no green lush banks. It is turning towards autumn. The ground was scattered with leaves. The trees buzzed with cicadas, and Rosie looked up trying to find which tree was loudest. 



Pawpaws will be ripe in another month or so. 



The berries are gone. The wildflowers are imperfect, still beautiful in their decline. The woods have a spicy scent; less earthy than earlier this year. The gound released its beautiful bounty and now is retiring, ready for sleep. 



It is a good time of year. Welcome, welcome, this transitioning. 




****
"Meek leaves drop yearly from the forest-trees,
To show, above, the unwasted stars that pass
In their old glory. O thou God of old!
Grant me some smaller grace than comes to these; -
But so much patience, as a blade of grass
Grows by contented through the heat and cold."

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Trip to the Nursery

"It takes so little to make a child happy, it is a pity grown people do not oftener remember it and scatter little bits of pleasure before the small people." 

~ Louisa May Alcott, Under the Lilacs

*****

At the end of May, after school was properly out and the kids had flown through the first week of freedom on high hopes, high energy and high amounts of food (oh my goodness, three not-quite-teenage boys eat SO MUCH SO OFTEN!), things quieted down a little and the kids settled into their regular summer routines. After running some errands one afternoon we headed out to our local nursery to look for flowers to plant in the front of the house. 


Annuals generally can go in a little earlier, but its been a very rainy spring. Anne had given me a sweet little potted impatiens for Mother's Day, proudly brought home from school and carefully watered until it was dry enough to put it into the ground. She was adamant that we needed to buy some flowers that would match the soft pink hue of the flower. 


I love our local nursery. It's locally owned and the quality of the plants is incredible. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and everything I've ever purchased from them flourishes! This is one place where it is easy to spend a lot of money!


We looked at all the greenhouses; the annuals, the perennials, the vegetables, herbs and hanging baskets. We sweated in the heat and everyone had their own opinion about what flowers we should buy!


In the end, we got begonias. I love these flowers because they are so easy to grow and do well in part shade, too, which I have in my front yard. I let Benjamin pick what color and he chose the multi color flats, with white, dark pink and light pink. Anne thought they would work perfectly with her pink impatiens. 


At home, Judah turned over last years bed and raked it smooth. I dug the holes and everyone helped nestle the little plants in the ground, patting the soil over them. We had enough for both front beds and two pots, a hanging basket, and an extra pot for Grandma's house, to set by her front door. We  planted just in time - it rained that very evening!


Since then, the begonias have doubled their size and seeing their happy spread of color makes me glad whenever I see it. Anne's impatiens are doing well, too! Perhaps they encourage me, too, to grow determinedly and to do the very best I can, where I am. 

*****

"The begonia is an amazing plant...it just keeps going along and blooming, and when cut back, it starts up again." 

~ Gladys Taber

Friday, May 31, 2019

Last Outing Before Schools End

"You have been running, Jo. How could you? When will you stop such romping ways?" said Meg reprovingly, as she settled her cuffs and smoothed her hair, with which the wind had taken liberties.
"Never till I'm stiff and old and have to use a crutch. Don't try to make me grow up before my time, Meg. It's hard enough to have you change all of a sudden. Let me be a little girl as long as I can."
~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
*****
Last week was the last of the school year. Now, summer stretches out in a grand 12 week span before us. To the little ones, it seems a vast amount of time and autumn is a barely conscious thought on the most-distant horizon. To my soon to be middle schoolers, the length of time is decent enough but they are learning to expect that it will go by quicker than they wish. And to me, now a mama of many, I know all too well how fast it will be over. The fall will arrive in a flurry of gold and brown and my babies will be traipsing off to the bus again - this time, with little Benjamin, who turned five this May. Sweet Rose will be home with me just one more year.



It is a bit bittersweet for me. This chapter of life in which I always had a baby at home will very soon be over. While I am happy to think of the changing seasons and the opportunities that such changes will bring I know all too well how much to cherish these last days of babyhood. Because, despite how ready I think I am to embrace the changes and chances, I know I will miss these quiet hours. 



I greatly enjoy my outings with the little ones while the big kids are in school and our last little trip before school got out was such a fun one! We visited a local nature sanctuary and enjoyed walking in the woods, throwing rocks in the creek, listening to the insects and birds and the wind in the trees and finding all kinds of pretty flowers. We saw butterflies and moths and one wild turkey. 



It's been a hot, rainy and humid spring so far. A spring of visits to the playground, making castles in damp sand and splashing in the lake, of milkshakes from McDonalds and hamburgers on the grill, of wading pools and squirting each other with the hose, of peanut-butter-and-jelly picnics on the deck, and late night baseball games "under the lights", watching the big boys and cheering and clapping with each run they make. We've even had hail more than once, and tornadoes not far from here! Exciting times! 😁



How grateful I am for time to watch my children be little, a little longer. 



*****
"In things best known to you finding the best, or as good as the best, in folks nearest to you finding the sweetest, strongest, lovingest, happiness, knowledge, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour." 
~ Walt Whitman

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Day at the Zoo and Botanical Garden

"All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all." 

~ Cecil Alexander

*****


Easter Sunday and sweet Rosie's birthday were just one day apart this year. We began her celebration a bit early and went to the zoo on Sunday and had her cake and presents the following day. We did this a few years ago and she enjoyed it so much she requested it again! 








Late April is a beautiful time for flowers and the zoo, with its well-tended botanical garden, is a place of magic and loveliness. This year, the flowers were just at or slightly past their peak and we walked pathways filled with all the colors of the rainbow and dappled with warm sunshine filtered through gentle trees. 








Taking seven children to the zoo (my own six plus my sons friend, who spent the day with us) was quite an adventure in and of itself. It was worth it though, to see the excitement each child had, from my almost-four year old to my older boys, nearly teenagers. Due to spending a lot of time at each exhibit we encountered and riding on the train we did not see all of the zoo this time. But we will be back! It was most economical to buy a years pass for our family so now we can go anytime and see the zoo and garden in all seasons, which I am so excited about!








There are quite a few photos in this post so if you make it to the end, thank you! 😂 It was difficult to narrow the many I took that day to just a few. In fact, that is the reason this blog post is a few weeks past the time these pictures were taken - it's taken me a while to go through and edit all my photos. I think I took several hundred. It was just so lovely and everywhere I looked there was beauty I wished to capture. What a fun day with happy memories!

*****

"Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature." 

~Gerard De Nerval

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Best April Days

"The whole world was green with grass now; the yellow-green willow leaves were uncurling. Violets and buttercups were thick in the prairie hollows, and the sorrel's clover-like leaves were good to eat." 

~ Laura Ingalls Wilder, On the Banks of Plum Creek

*****

One of our favorite pastimes is spending time existing outside. This time of year life begins to rush very quickly and we have less and less time to just breathe. However, the little moments here and that we can catch between trips to appointments and errands and baseball games and all the mundane tasks of living we love to spend outside. It seems that, for us anyway, this clears the mind and rejuvenates the spirit. 



So, after running a recent errand we stopped here to spend some time at this nature preserve a few miles from our home. It is one of our favorite places and we visit often, in all seasons. At first, I didn't mean to linger so long but the day was warm and pleasant and the air deliciously scented with all the good smells of spring. It was easy to lose track of time. The three little ones quickly discarded their shoes and spent a long time running over the grass, splashing in the big brown puddles left after the previous days rain and shrieking with laughter. 



They ran as far as they dared, to the edge of the distant field, and back again. I took a more leisurely pace along the fringe of trees bordering the field and when the babies ran up, breathless and rosy-cheeked, they paused only to make sure I was watching before dashing off again. 



We all came home with dirty feet and wet clothes and a heart full of gratefulness to the earth and her goodness. A few baths and clothes-changes later, the children were clean and presentable again - at least until they found their next mud puddle! 😂 



*****

"Now I see the secret of making the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth." 

~ Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road