We're studying earthworms and Hungary and Louise Bourgeois. We're reading Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk and a million little titles on The Great Depression. Gus has 59 library books, mostly related to the above, scattered throughout the house in tottering towers on any and all flat surfaces. They are as enticing as they are off limits to Nora. A few weeks ago I floated the idea to Craig that he might take over science for our homeschool and just like that, another wall around what our homeschool can be (and who bears the responsibility for it) came down. The boys are building a nesting box for owls and a new worm bin for our wriggling critters, and I'm building a vision for our family life that leaves us all feeling whole, connected, and contented.
So much of this last month has been spent shedding old habits and creating new pathways for being. In the most basic of those efforts, I'm trying to drink more water and move my body and get to bed on time (the latter is my biggest struggle). I'm reading books simply for pleasure in lieu of scrolling the news or other peoples' lives on never-ending social media feeds. (Though I am human and I do still wonder from time to time what's going on in other peoples' lives on those endless social media feeds.) In terms of homeschool, which arguably takes up the largest chunk of my time and headspace, I'm trying to create an environment of learning vs. a rigidly defined school day. I want to offer our kids a space where the frantic rush to mark off tasks by some imagined end of day bell is abandoned in favor of stretching out into a world of lifelong learning. And then, finally, I'm writing here, daily, at least until the end of the month, and thinking about my creative pursuits after that- finally finish a book proposal? Create a real online space with regular columns and musings and newsletters? Teach online? Write for established publications? Throw myself entirely into our pottery business alongside Craig? My answer is murky at best for now but I'm committed to relentlessly experimenting with the idea that anything is possible and seeing where that takes me.
The front porch tomtens of early winter, having been unceremoniously dethroned by a wintry gale, lay in little evergreen heaps where the hollyhocks reach come summer. And with that- the last vestige of yuletide was felled. Frozen potato noses were made offering to the compost pile and knits were shepherded indoors for another time, another season. A stack of easy-to-grab-while-staying-in-your-slippers firewood was laid in their stead. Before collapsing our wintered flesh at the hallowed feet of the wood stove, we gathered eggs for not the first or last time that day. (What a shame for an egg to freeze!) Once returned, a sweet potato chili simmered in two pots on the stove, a hot lunch for the week ahead. And wafting through the house came the reminder- what good fortune it is to be warm and fed on a bitter January day.