Sunday, May 7, 2017

Homeschool

I've been wondering why I haven't written for some time. When I do write something it is about how I don't write that much. I have ideas. Things strike he as funny or notable, especially things through my young son's eyes. Yet, I don't write them down. Besides, he's his own person, and a private one at that. He doesn't pose or pause for photographs. He declines them.

Me, my husband, we're just living our lives. It is all notable, or none of it is notable. I feel like I have crossed into an easier place. I'm over my mid-life crisis, my over the hill contemplation. That took about two years, and now I feel pretty solid.

My husband and I are done fighting with our son and ourselves about school. We're done with that. We're homeschooling. A couple months ago, it was one of the scariest things since I chose to move in with the man who would one day be my husband. It was easier to choose to have a child than take him out of school.

Strange. Why would that be? Maybe it is easier to obey some biological request that I happened to hear and agree with. Women have babies, or at least many of them do for many reasons. Many of them don't for many reasons. So, one day I thought, "I'd like to have a baby." My husband agreed with no hesitation.

Well, it wasn't that easy. There were years of sitting across the kitchen table, eating. "Have you thought about having kids?" one of us would ask. I'd sit in silence. I'd think, Jared, such a good man, would be such a good father, pity, he'll never be." Jared would be silent, or maybe he'd say that we weren't really ready, or maybe I'd say that.

It wasn't that simple either. Way back when we were really poor and living in Philadelphia, I thought I might be having a baby, but I wasn't. I got my period at a street festival. No baby, just a late period. Relief.

Then, one day many years later, that scenario happened again. We were renting a little cottage in the woods, and were much less poor. Again, I discovered I was not going to have a baby. Disappointment.

That was a new feeling. Remembered I always wanted someone to call me "Momma" one day.  Like most things, two or possible three and more truths, all so misaligned were...true. There was the truth that I thought Jared would not be a dad (never pondering too hard what would be instead, what I would be. Just pondering what would not be.) There was the truth that I wanted to be called "Momma".

Not long after the disappointment, I found I would be a Momma. Now, I am. Together, Jared and I make choices all the time. Some of them are difficult. Some of them go by unnoticed.

I recently read Free to Learn by Peter Gray. I turned the pages, recognizing myself, my husband and my son. Me, acquiescent and melancholy, my husband and son, furious and fiery. I acknowledged how my schooling served me and how it crushed me. How I found my way through the challenging social web, how I was bored with my teachers and classmates, how I worked to achieve an imaginary, destructive and potent number - my GPA.

In college when it appeared I'd graduate with a 4.0, which no one gives a damn about now, I chose to take an easy class, Intro to Women's Studies. The teacher was good. I enjoyed the reading, but it was easy. My classmates were young and discussions were far simpler than ones I had in my advanced art classes. Maybe I would've got something more from a tougher class. Maybe it was good to give myself a break after working so hard. I worked and stressed and cried and uselessly memorized my way through school. I was tired.

My husband tells me how angry he was throughout school. Not challenging enough. Didn't want to be told what to do. Had conflicts with authority. He can speak better for himself, so I won't go on and on. He did have teachers he liked, especially one high school teacher that allowed for honest discussions led by anonymous questions that the students submitted to the teacher. He liked several professors at Rutgers, but many of those teachers left the university or were distracted by their need to publish.

***

My son on school in his own words: "Momma, why every day do you take me to a place I hate so much?"

Jared and I sat facing each other at the kitchen table. I couldn't look at either of them. Beren stood next to me and rested his cheek on my arm.

I wish you could have been there, or maybe I don't. You'd see my failure and sadness. You'd see how we're departing from the worn paths, yet again. The weight of his head and my heart were something I could hardly endure. And yet, I brought him to school that day and many months after.

In Free to Learn, Peter Gray talks about his research how homeschool families enjoy their life. The most difficult thing is not teaching their children, spending time with their children, or finding playmates and friends, but is the disapproval of family and friends. When I read this passage, I felt stricken and called a friend who homeschooled her children. I felt better. And, in fact, I enjoy spending time with my son more now than when he was in school.

Let me repeat, I enjoy spending time with my son more now than when we was in school.

Much like choosing to have a child, choosing to homeschool unfolded after many years. "We'll do it when he reaches public school age," Jared and I said. "Could never imagine sending him to public school."  Instead, we sent him to private school, a nice one, but one that Beren said was "a place I hate so much." He said it was boring, stupid. That he hated learning.

After a year and more than a half of that, of dragging my child under my arm to school, of meetings at school, I was done, almost. Done, damn it. Almost, damn it. I think.

In February, Beren was terribly sick for a week. I sent him to school on the following Monday to drop off his Valentines for classmates. The next day we left for California. He was sick on the plane ride home. He'd picked up another illness in just one day at school. He missed another week of school upon our return.

When he felt better, I had no heart to tell him he had to go back, so we kept him out another day. I finally told Beren it was time to go back. Beren has crushed, despondent. There are not words for how he looked. Jared and I sat at the kitchen table. Beren stood nearby. Crushed. "Give Papa and I moment to talk, Beren," I said. We did. "Let's be done with this, Jared," I said. He agreed.

And then, I said to Beren, "You're not going back. You're done. No more school."

It wasn't that easy. For preceding year, Jared and I had sat up nights talking about how to make school work, and also how we planned to homeschool in the future. How we wanted Beren to make friends in this new place we moved to. How we had so much work to do. How could we do it all?

Let me repeat, I enjoy spending time with my son more now than when we was in school.

I assure you that I am a Taurus or an Owl who thinks long, who thinks hard. And then gets very, very pissed. I turned this over and over in my head. Homeschool. My kid? My stubborn kid?


Let me repeat, I enjoy spending time with my son more now than when we was in school. This is not my mantra. This is the truth. 

So let me tell you how I became furious and kicked myself out of my dusty rut. Before Beren left school, he and I attended a classmate's birthday party. I stood aside with a couple mothers, chatting. Suddenly, one asked if I still was considering homeschooling. I hemmed. I was awkward. And just like the dogs hunt the weak one, they went in for the kill.

The mothers turned to each other and away from me. "I could never homeschool. I need time away, time for myself." "Yeah, me too. I could never homeschool either." "They need to be with their friends." "Just look at much fun they have together." etc.

I have two distinct poles of personality. The Melancholy and Worried. The Indignant. The latter kicked in. My temperature went up. "It's not for everyone," I said. I thought, "F*ck this!" I even laughed to myself. Sometimes it takes opposition to define my position.

Since I'm still in the early stages of homeschooling I have to take their comments apart -

I, too, need time for myself. I didn't really have that when he was in school because I was working (and I still am working at home). I do need adult time, and that is a challenge. My child is so much happier. I so enjoy his company. Good trade off.

Yes, he needs to be with friends, peers, and children older and younger than him (which doesn't really happen naturally in school). And unfortunately, in school, a child is merely in the presence of peers and friends. They do have fun at birthday parties. In grade and high school, I can hardly recall a time outside of recess or a flashing moment in a class in which I had fun.

This is not about me and my school experience, but it is a reference point for me. This is about my experience now, and my family's experience. If I never have to pack a lunchbox or a sleepy kid into a car, I'll survive. I did have pangs about missing Beren's end of school year performance of songs. Last year, he introduced the event, "Welcome to Our Show", he said.


It seems we have a new show to put on and a new road to explore.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ramps


Flossing


I have a moment to write but I'm distracted by thoughts of flossing. That's pretty bad. Flossing. Not running barefoot across the field getting stabbed by goldenrod stalks. Not pouring myself a shot of run. Not checking out who the name of the quailing songstress who just came on the radio. No, flossing.

***

One sunny day last week, I hung out the laundry and a wave of boredom acme over me. I pondered having another baby. Babies cure some types of boredom.

***

I also made some art yesterday. It was hard to do. It was hard to think of how to express myself. I was inspired after watching The Punk Singer, a film about Kathleen Hanna who was the singer for Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, and The Julie Ruin.

A friend invited me over to her house to watch it. The invitation was charming, so old-fashioned. Like back in the day when a friend got a new 7" and invited you over to listen to it. Or, when friends made elaborate mix tapes for each other. Or, when I used to write letters to my punk rock friends in Saginaw, Atlanta, Long Island.

Letters, long letters! Imagine! Exhortations of love and friendship, complaints about jobs, details about tours and clunky vans. And now, I think about flossing? Alas! Domestication!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Crazy Dreams

I've been having crazy dreams lately. Absolutely crazy. Dreams that Jared and I would jokingly call "man dreams". Violent swirling dreams. Floods. Devastation.

Maybe its because my six year old, and I looked up photographs of the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake on the National Archives website.

Ruins in black and white. Beautiful and gaudy Victorian homes missing their north wall. Pianos and pictures on the wall. Roads heaved and cracked. It only last a minute or so. And then the fires burned.

A single wall standing, and not another for blocks.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Park on a Nice Day Is No Longer Like a Chicago Song

Hello? Today was a nice day, and yet the park was a lonely place. Maybe because today was Sunday not Saturday?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Saddleback Butte, California.

Saddleback Butte, California.

Raven tracks, especially around the ant hills.

Rattlesnake. Joshua trees.

Empty campground. The day before the big rains in Santa Barbara and surrounding areas. Only one camper and truck in the lot.












Sunday Morning Thoughts

On my reading list - Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-reliant and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray and Mothers and Others by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.

On Jared's - The Foraging Spectrum, and grim-looking anthropology book.

On Beren's - Anything samurai- or ninja-related.

What I want on my reading list - some humor, some damn good humor.

***
Spring Herald

I heard the eastern phoebe's call yesterday. Red-shouldered hawk's call today.

The meadow looks drab but as I stare at it, it moves. The foraging juncoes.

Crocuses keep blooming. An outlier appeared in the lawn. Daffodils blooming.

Windy, raw, wet alternating with warm and breezy.

***

I woke up in the darkness and saw the crescent moon rising in the east. Beautiful. Last week.

***

Jared's out exploring. I'm writing. Beren's upstairs, occupied.

***

This morning, Jared rose first. I stayed in bed, thinking. I've been doing that for years now. One day in spring, I will rise far earlier than everyone and go outside. I'll do that for weeks, until summer.

I've been working on training my thoughts. Taming them in the morning. My pattern is to wake with thoughts marching through my head. I'm taming them. I will!

I've also been practicing kung fu in the morning again. I took a break from that. The snow was a challenge. Practicing around chairs, toys, a husband, while trying not to wake a child or rouse a fiesty cat. Business started picking up, too. A bunch of crummy, inconvenient things happened. Skipping my practice didn't work, so I'm back at it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Grackles

Finally, it is here. We are back outside more than we are inside. Shoes are muddy and wet. They come off and socks are sopping and muddy. The crocus bulbs are plugged in thanks to Podd. 

The house is warm without a fire all day thanks to big sunny windows that face south. 

Our lack of inspiration to cook because of lack of fresh foods is now turned to too busy to cook. We are out playing past dinnertime.

The grackles flew over. Momma look at the birds, Beren says. Jared and I after so many years together reach for the door knob simultaneously, then the dead bolt, then the lock on the door knob. Our simultaneous movements are like the grackles, one mind. We don't accomplish anything until I withdraw my hand and let him unlock and open the door. We don't accomplish but we acknowledge our one mind and laugh.

The grackles creak and wheeze. We listen, just like every spring for the past decade. Beren leaps out the door, I don't need shoes he exclaims. We can only watch time by his changes. We are counting our growth rings by adding one more set of lines etched around our eyes. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Your Posture Stinks

I like this picture of me. Jared rarely photographs me. I turn into a stiff version of me when a camera lens is pointed my way. I'm not an inspiring subject. Not a photographic subject anyway, and probably not a psychological subject. Just another woman who feels awkward.

I make horizontal photographs. Jared makes vertical ones. I occasionally make vertical compositions because the graphic design for our business often calls for vertical images. I like horizontal, stable, grounded images.

When Jared points the camera at me, he often makes faces, sticks out his tongue. "Relax," he says. "Stop tilting the camera down," I reply. Jared doesn't believe in chopping off feet for the sake of making an image parallel with its background. Instead, he tilts the camera down which means my body looks oddly stretched out and emphasizes my belly, further de-emphasizes my small bust, and accentuates my shitty posture.

I wish he'd get down on one knee and point the camera up, emphasizing my lankiness and my height and de-emphasizing my neck to chin connection. I think my shitty posture would still look shitty.

After seeing a few photographs of me (and Jared) that would have been nice if with good posture, I told Jared that I wanted to have better posture even when a terrible camera was pointed my direction.
Jared and I have taken to encouraging each other by saying, "You look great with good posture." This is much better than, "Stand up straight and stop biting your nails." This makes me (and Jared) pissy. It may be true but it stinks to hear.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Red cabbage for kraut partially chopped. A rubbing of the cabbage on white paper turns from purple to blue, possibly becoming yellow if it doesn't meet the woodstove first. Garden seeds on the table. Valentines on the floor. Silly paper glasses from last night, the glue is finally dry. Tinctures to strain. Sweet damiana for a long night. Lemonbalm for a restless night. Small piles of kitchenwares to give away. The longer they sit, the more sentimental I feel. Or, ambivalent. Seed experiments beyond their prime. The sour cream's plastic seal on the floor, given to the cat as a treat. Needles, just a few, beneath the Christmas tree. The grower was right, concolor spruce does last a long time. The dehumidifier dissembled. Books scattered, for an article, for pleasure reading. A plastic bag of painting supplies unopened. I like lazy days.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Self-employed Sunday blues

Rainy, icy day. Inside mostly. Went out to get a pair of pants and a hooded short and Valentine trinkets. Got Jared a box of message hearts. The box said True Love. Got Beren a couple tiny chocolate cars covered in foil depicting a taxi and some kind of emergency vehicle. Couldn't read the ingredients. Will the joy of opening these sweet little treats cancel out the strange ingredients inside. I think so.

Driving home from Flemington after a concert of Alash, a Tuva band. Clouds had parted. Near full moon. Route 12, quiet and desolate as ever though the development bastards are having their way, here and there.

Jared and I mused about the Sunday blues. He hasn't felt them in awhile, he said. I don't think I have either, though rainy Sundays, the darkened shops I passed earlier today while driving through Alpha. 

The blues, I wonder who thought blue was sad. I considered the greens. Doesn't seem to work as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pretending to do a good deed

I blame our picky cat who would not eat expensive, organic, grain-free dry cat food from the health food store for the following sequence of events. The expensive, organic, grain-free dry cat food had no smell. It's true. It contained potatoes or peas or lentils and meat.

Cats eat meat, not potatoes or peas or lentils. Cats do not cultivate gardens, dig up potatoes, boil water, and compress the resulting mash into round or x-shaped pellets with meat. And so, off to Petco.

Summary: Yesterday I got completely bespattered in parking lot slush while pretending to help someone get out of an icy parking lot after a completely unsuccessful trip to the shopping malls.

No one who was paying attention would have driven into that spot. No one driving a sedan should have pulled into that spot, yet two did.

Jared and a couple others helped the first family on our way into the store. It was the second one that got me - the stuck car on the way out of the store.

The scene: a woman (mother) attempts to back her car out of 5 inches of dirty ice. Her young, teen-aged daughter stands in front of the car and calls out instructions. The mother shouts, "I should turn it this way, right?!" as her wheels spin.

Jared and Beren walk over. Jared pushes on the hood of the car. Beren pushes Jared's rear end. I stand nearby with our bag of purchases. The waif-life teen helps.

The wheels turn. Dirty ice water drenches me. The daughter slips and lands on her belly. I shout, "Shit!" The driver's young-teen daughter laughs. Her mother (the driver) said, "It's not funny!"

"I am so sorry! Sorry! You should wipe your face!"

"No, I'm fine."

"No, you should wipe your face! Here I have tissues!" She holds out a brown crinkled napkin.

"No," I say and wipe my face with my scarf.

"I'm sorry! Happy Valentine's day!" 

I laughed about it. Later. I did. I felt gross, a little tainted by parking lot slush. I've been meaning to wash that scarf anyway.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Art


My color pinwheel. Adjustable. On a black background with a black strip on top, so you can choose what color you feel like. I felt cool and blue, Beren adjusted it to reflect his feeling.

I sometimes wonder about making work too complicated, work that he can't emulate, when we make art together. I doubt that hunter gatherer people felt that way about making a too perfect arrowhead in front of their children. So make some art, Momma.

***

I often ponder the various approaches to education, especially in the arts. I studied artmaking at a university and a community college, and in high school as well. 

I had art classes in elementary school though I hardly remember them. It seems we made identical cats made from precut pieces of paper, or copied penguins for a teacher's example. I recall not really liking one art teacher from that era, though I did like the inevitable messiness of the classroom and its paint odors.

High school art classes were generally freer. I especially remember a 3D art class, which was a more advanced class and mixed age. The older students tended to be rowdy, keeping one teacher alternating between irritated and amused. 

We made beads, clay pots, paper, and once an visiting artist taught us how to make molds from cuttlefish and then pour metal, brass I think, casts. I made some badass pedants that mixed well with my gothic style, though I generally preferred silver jewelry, of course.

The freedom of the class likely inspired me to 'study' artmaking in college. I also worked as a creative printmaker after leaving college in Connecticut and prior to enrolling in a community college.

Before reaching the freedom of 3D art in high school, I slogged through drier 2D classes. In a drawing class, the teacher once erased part of my drawing. I was fairly insulted and annoyed, thinking my Sinead O'Connor drawing copied from Rolling Stone was pretty damn good. The other teacher was "out to lunch". 

I now wonder about making art with my six year old. Generally, we make art side by side until he becomes very interested in my work and makes suggestions, alternations, and improvements. I find our spontaneous collaborations endearing but also irritating. This is my work, I think to myself. 

And yet, I have learned through parenting that there is no longer just me. Me and I began to dissolve when I decided to have a longterm partnership with my husband. But perhaps, me and I were just a fiction all along. Because I assume my mother's selfhood dissolved when I was born, and her mother's selfhood... All these selves, always linked, never solitary.

Beren copies or mimics like we all do to learn, but makes it his own.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reasonable expectations

Nature reclaims along the Unami Creek, Quakertown, PA
  
It's been the winter of field trips. Outward bound movement has been easier, much easier for awhile now.

We can hold ourselves together as family and as individuals. One person's meltdown is not the whole family's meltdown. Don't read "one person" as necessarily the littlest person in the family. We all have our expectations and when expectations are not met, the mood can head south. Now, we all rebound more quickly. And, I think our expectations are more realistic and less based in idealism.

Jared, for example, hope to visit beautiful natural areas. I do, too. It's not always easy in this geographic area. Deer, invasives, a long history of people beating up on the land. All this means degraded landscapes which can be tiring rather than rejuvenating. Maybe we'll see something new, one pretty thing, one hopeful thing. Maybe we toss a few rocks into the Unami Creek and have a decent walk.

Me, my expectations. A peaceable trip with some excitement. Some laughs. Yet, no trip is without some minor vexation. I realize that. It's a big deal if I make into one. So, don't. I try.

Some of activities we can find in our culture are shopping-based, oh well. We went to Material Culture, a big warehouse of eastern imports and distressed furniture. I didn't find the tall, narrow cabinet to solve all our household's hat-and-mitten-avalanche-from-cubby issues, but we spent a nice hour looking at colorful stuff.

Plus, we saw a primitive art sculpture that made us laugh. Let's see if I can describe. A seated, headless male figure made of plaster of Paris soaked gauze painted faint neon colors. Long, large, somewhat curly penis painted gold. The figure had no back, no back on legs, just the front. We hardly noticed anyway. Beren pointed. We all laughed.

Afterwards, we drove to see our old apartment in west Philly. We didn't recognize it. In fact, I said, "It's not the one with the brown paint", but it was. The corner house still had pretty gardens, or seemed to on this winter day. A older man had tended them. Now, a wheelchair lift was mounted to the porch.

From there, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant. Tired decor. Sagging ceiling. Worn carpet. Friendly people. The hostess seemed to know one word, "baby", which she called Beren several times. He didn't notice. We gobbled a platter of aromatic, saucy foods, sat back and patted our bellies.


*Today, a hostess at a local diner also called Beren, "baby". Not "baby" as in a term of affection, but "baby" as in a little one. I love that.

 Unami Creek, Quakertown, PA

 Unami Creek, Quakertown, PA


 Inside the Material Culture store




 
 Outside the Material Culture store

 Philadelphia always had great diversity in food, including Ethiopian food



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Mountain Kitten


Why is Mountain Kitten pacing the floor? Winter is hard for cats, too. "My ancestors are from the Middle East*," complains Mountain Kitten as he does a circuit around the first floor. Perhaps, he'll attack my foot or the carpet.

He'll go upstairs while Jared tells Beren a bedtime story. He ascends the stairs silently. When he visits them, Jared and Beren laugh. I call him down, and he sounds like this: thunk a thunk a thunk a thunk a thunk. "Mmrrreow," he says to me as he enters the living room.

We discourage Mountain from going upstairs. Two years ago he had fleas. We knew that because my legs were bitten daily. Occasionally, Jared and Beren were bitten. I washed every article of clothing in the house. Then, I recalled that Mountain had tended to sleep in the closet near my pants.

***

Mountain Kitten listens intently to the sounds of mice in the walls. He likes to play with the mice that emerge from under the stove or the greenhouse. He does not kill them. Instead, he leaves that work to the mouse traps.

Mountain Kitten likes to eat chemical-free, greenhouse-grown native grasses, especially bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix).

Mountain Kitten likes to dig in recently sown seed beds of native woodland wildflowers.

Mountain Kitten needs frequent reminders of where his food bowl resides.

Mountain Kitten ate a rotten mouse in the attic on the day of Beren's birthday party last year. He was bloated and not well.

Mountain Kitten likes to go on walks with us. On summer walks, we carry him back because he overheats and his tongue turns red. We often put him in the basement when we plan to go far.

Mountain Kitten practices kung fu with me. He attacks my legs as I run through forms.

Mountain Kitten sprints after and attacks Beren when Beren runs across the field.

Mountain Kitten does not mess with Jared. Mountain Kitten bothers the h*ll out of Jared for food.

***






*Read a National Geographic article on the lineage of house cats:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/06/070628-cat-ancestor.html

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My Old Neighborhood, My New Neighborhood



I continue to get back into writing, so I'm going easy on myself here with a little slice of life:

Last night Jared went out with a friend so I picked an extra evening of bedtime duty. "Clusters" we call them. Jared does two nights, I do two nights. Beren will ask, "Is it Papa's cluster or Momma's cluster?"

Alternating every other night was difficult, a little unsettling for all of us. At some point, we decided two nights in a row worked better for everyone. My evening kung fu class causes leap nights every other week.

Sometimes Beren asks for adjustments in the routine, depending on his desire for dynamic bedtime story (Jared's domain) or perhaps one parent has recently clamped down on him and he'd rather not snuggle with that parent (too bad). Only an absolutely ill parent gets a by on "BT" (bedtime).

Last night we followed the usual routine. I told him a rambling story about fairies. I told him a story about when he was little. Then, we deviated. He asked for a story about when I was little. I told him about the neighborhood where I grew up near the Rahway River.

There seemed to be so many kids on the block. Chris (a little kid who moved in a couple years before we moved. He played sometimes.), Ben (played all the time) and his older brother, Chris (much older, never played), and Carrie, my best friend. My brother was a baby, a baby in the house.

That makes three of us, and four if you count the latecomer, Chris. Back then, I felt like we were a massive band, a wild gang on trikes and bikes. Three of us. I was surprised to realize we were so few.

Our domain felt huge - from my house to Carrie's house on the corner. Six houses between Carrie's house and mine, maybe. Carrie's, the Knott's, Chris and Ben, maybe another white house, Bucky's (then little Chris' once Bucky died and house sold). The lots were small, houses separated by only driveways. It felt like we owned the vast world. I think we did.

I wish that for my son. A wild band of kids to freely roam with. That's not likely to happen. We live in a rural place not far from where my family moved when I was eight.

Families are busy these days. Now, you have to schedule "play dates". Every day was a play day in my old neighborhood. After school, weekends, all play time. Until Ben's dad whistled from him to come home for dinner.

At age eight, my family moved away from what I considered paradise. Looking back, I'm not sure that's true. Nothing lasts anyway. I went from owning the concrete sidewalk that we marked with chalk to owning the woods, all by myself. It was exciting but lonely. Eventually, my brother grew big enough to sometimes build forts with me.

My son is likely to roam the woods alone until like me he finds a couple friends to roam with him. Maybe when his legs get long enough to reach the next neighbor kid who likes the woods.

I recently corresponded with my very first and very best childhood friend, Carrie. I'm completed awash in strong feelings for that time.

I moved, she didn't. I wonder if she feels the same nostalgia, or I have clouded vision of over thirty years gone by.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Night Out


Last April, we slept under the stars. It was a school night. No matter, I thought, let's live a little. There's always excuses to stick with the routine or the rut.

I remember Beren was excited. He wiggled. He flopped. Jared and I were ready for sleep.  "Would you like me to bring you inside?" I asked quietly. "No," Beren answered. "OK, let's settle in."

He drifted off quickly. Jared and I lay awake. I did finally fall asleep but woke regularly. The cat visited us. Insect sounds, animal sounds. Wind on my skin. I marked time, watching the arc of the moon across the sky.

I hope to sleep outside more frequently when the weather warms.