Yesterday, for home school, I took Kara and Maddox across to Whatcom Falls Park. Just to walk, try to find the baby ducks we saw the other day, and to hunt for both yellow and fuzzy dandelions. For Kara to practice making a Daisy Crown and for Maddox to “wish Coronavirus goes away tomorrow”.
As we ventured in on a trail, Kara took us off path right away. After helping her brother down to the water, their curiosity about the rocks and the water grew. They started a little bit of a hunt, after Kara found this orangish amber stone (something that resembled a metaphysical gift shop find).
The space they first went down to was tight, so it didn’t take long for them to hop up and over the muddy ridge and keep walking. A few paces and Kara found us a shoreline.
They got into “the stoop”, looking through half dollar sized rocks but my eyes caught on the creek bed at some others… palm sized… orange sized… irregular and PNW colorful.. stones.
Soon enough, we were all barefoot and in the chilly water grabbing for rocks. I felt my mom’s maternal and Kindergarten teacher blood in my veins as each find was applauded, ohhh’d over and put “in the keeper” pile.
At one point I heard myself saying, “you can always wash your bod and you can always wash your clothes, so don’t let that stop you from having fun.” And recalled this one time my childhood best friend and I played in a soft rain, in the mud of her neighborhood’s new development for hours – being completely free to be a complete mess.
As simple as the conversation was on the outside, my internal conversation grew complex. Kind, but complex.
I reflected on whether Ellen and Lucy had this kind of experience growing up, wanting them with us. Yes, St. Augustine – yes, Malibu – yes, Colorado mud on the rental Mustang. And even, in St Louis, on a creek hike we took…
Oh yes, and there were nature walks with my Grandma … like the one right before she finally got a cane, where I caught her in an off balance moment and Ellen stood wide-eyed; aware of the nature of things.
I thought about the joy Kara and Maddox were experiencing and how my willingness, as a mothering / child guide, to sit and let them do whatever ushered it in. I reflected on my role in their life. I thought about cities, houses and moves.
I became unconvinced, convinced myself again, and then again experienced unconvincing.
Needless to say, we found a pastime to begin. We know what we need in our kit for our next hunt. We know how nice a warm shower feels to wash off the clay on our skin – noses and toes.
I peeled potatoes and put beans in the oven, sat out the fish and started roasting some veggies. The sun through the kitchen window and Avett Brothers on the Google Home settled me in to make dinner.
It is common to hear me say, “I want to guard against a spirit of convincing.” Because I believe the minute I feel that edge to sway, I am missing something. Or I may be missing something.
So I tossed out the projected grief I started to carry that was associated with nearly every logistical idea that exists for our lives. And reminded myself to guard against the spirit of convincing and pay attention.
All I needed to do tonight was peel potatoes.
All I need to focus on this week with David is the lullaby we started writing the other night.
All I wanted was to see all the rocks on the fireplace ledge and get supplies to start my next project in the house.