Emerging from the summer sometimes feels like coming up for air.
Every summer, I begin the season with many plans and lists of what I want to accomplish - places to visit, projects to complete, activities I want to do with my children that complement or extend what we did during the school year.
And each year, by mid-June, I find myself letting it all go. A big collective breath out. Instead, we sleep in. We spend lots of time outside. We swim and ride bikes and eat breakfast on the porch, amid paint pots and sidewalk chalk. Life takes on its own natural rhythms and, as it turned out, I hardly opened to door to the room that once served as my office and is now our school room.
Opening that door again in mid-August felt fraught with trepidation and anticipation, and some regret. Every year I go through this...if only I started planning for school back in June, like everyone always recommends. Instead, it's the last minute cramming as I read through the curriculum materials I've finally ordered, request numerous books from the library (thank God for the library!) and work up lesson plans. It's crazy, and yet I'm also glad I had that chance to just let things go for awhile...to live in the moment.
My living in the moment extended to other areas of my life, as well. I realized last week that I hadn't posted to my blog in months. Truthfully, I've just been living, and sometimes the act of recording, or reflecting, seems to take me out of the moment. There are things that happened this summer, some experiences, seemingly simple, that profoundly changed the way I see my children, see childhood itself, and which have altered the way I want to approach teaching, parenting, even living. But it takes some time for me to really digest them, to express what I want to say.
For now, I'm trying to put on the breaks a bit even as I feel swept forward into the current of the year. I'm trying to resist my natural impulse to do and try everything. I've heard it called the hunting mentality, that impulse to respond to the next shining thing beckoning on the horizon, to keep moving beyond wherever you are, searching for whatever else might be out there. In other words, I'm chronically restless. Sitting still, breathing in, being HERE is always a challenge to me. That's especially the case when it comes to schooling. My initial school plans contain more lessons and blocks that we could do in three years, even if I wasn't always searching for fun excursions and adventures to get us out of the house and away from the books.
I have to remind myself, once again, of the power and beauty of the word NO. Of staying grounded, centered, in the here and now.
Of allowing for time and space.
I wrote some reflections on the importance of time and space in the most recent issue of Rhythm of the Home. The fall issue includes wonderful articles and resources on everything from planning a fairy birthday party to celebrating Martinmas and other autumn festivals. It's always inspiring reading.