January, February, March.
About a year ago I became bored with the way I was writing here on this blog. This has never been a “5 Steps to Simpler Homeschool Days,” or “How to Make Bone Broth” type of blog, but it wasn’t too far from it either. Basically, I shared snippets of my days, and often those days included broth making, and in the past, figuring out how to simplify our homeschool days. It’s fair to say things did lean in that direction. Blog-y. It was safe, protected a good deal of privacy, and if I’m being real honest, was a saccharin way of writing that after nearly a decade of doing so, felt pretty tapped out. For a few months I wondered what direction to take this space, how to write content that was a pleasure to produce, and maybe even to read. Perhaps it was time to close shop?
Then I thought of the long maintained separate body of writing that I never shared here. Maybe I should start doing so? I’ve talked about it before, these writings were the kind of random stories and observations we all experience in our day to day lives, but I have this habit of writing them down. Never in a journal (pen and paper cannot keep pace with my thoughts), always on the computer. I know, not very romantic. Word doc after word doc I’d click save and be done with it. Never read any of it again. I don’t think too much about the point of this type of writing, probably because I'm not sure there is one, other than as a useful tool for transferring the incessant ticker tape of words that slip through my aging mind to a more permanent location. It’s a win-win: freeing up precious mental and emotional space while also recording a few stories. Sometimes it’s about writing my way through a nagging question or predicament, but mostly, if I had to offer up one reason, I write because it’s the only way I know to capture the fleeting moments in life that to me, are the beauty that moves.
April, May, June.
At some point last spring I decided to ditch the blog-y type posts and share some of the aforementioned work that is normally, once written, filed away and never seen again. And you know what? This blog did not implode. I did not implode. You were actually totally fine with it and the world kept spinning. So I’ve carried on in that vein and am no longer bored. It’s nice not to feel bored. I still don’t share as freely as I might like to (if only for ease of storytelling, more than wanting to); I delete and self-censor all the time. Anne Lamott says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” I get the sentiment, but it’s not always about them behaving better: Sometimes you want to write really nice things about people who treated you well, and you refrain because for some us, the real task is to tell our story without telling their story, at least when sharing publicly. Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me that is the task. So even though I'm sharing more freely than I have in the past, I do keep a few boundaries in place, am mindful of the privacy of those around me, and my hard drive continues to hold plenty of work that will never see the light of day. It is an outlet that remains cheaper than therapy, and my time is not up in an hour.
July, August, September.
As for other 2016 reflections, it was a year filled with more change and transition than any in recent memory. I had a feeling it would be. Homeschooling is behind us and Emily has flown the coop, at least for a few college years. We’ve talked with my parents and set in motion a plan for them to finally sell this home that we live in, and that I grew up in, which means we’ll be moving on. We are not clear on what that means just yet, but I’ll share more as we know more. I spent most of summer and autumn in Vermont, which I’d hoped to do so that was nice. Time divided between two states made for a tricky gardening season, but we managed. Up north we cleared land and opened up the sky so that food could be grown. We pulled more of those Vermont pebbles from the ground than could be counted. And tree stumps. Dozens of tree stumps. In the end, we got pretty close to having a garden space. Actually, we definitely got there, and now it is the soil we need to tackle which of course we intended to make happen in the fall and time just ran out. Down here, it was a plant and walk away type of year, which does not make for the prettiest endeavor, but you do what you can. Basically, I didn’t plant anything that would require me to be here too often to harvest (beans, cucumbers, summer squash, etc.), and instead focused on long term planting (tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic, carrots, peppers, etc.). There were plenty of leafy greens because who can resist planting those, and of course perennial berries that produced whether I was here to harvest them or not, but it was a different kind of garden for sure. Wild and unruly.
October, November, December.
I’m entering 2017 as I have the past two years, with a guiding word in hand. If things go according to plan, it will serve as a reminder and place to return to over the coming months. It’s been kind of remarkable how effective this practice has been for me, surprising really, I mean, it’s just one word. But two years ago, knowing we were in the final stretch of hands on parenting and day to day homeschooling, I chose Cherish. Every moment to be savored. And most days, I truly did. Last year, Transition gave me permission to flow with the waves of emotion, conviction, doubt, joy, fear, and everything else that comes with moving on from being an all hands on deck homeschool family to an empty nest. I’m not sure where I’d be without having that word imprinted down the length of my spine for the last year. Probably exactly where I am now, but it sure was comforting to feel the support of it. As for this year, I’ve known for a couple of months now what 2017’s word would be, and I’m sorry to be a downer but it’s actually too precious to give voice to. It’s one of the holiest words I know, perhaps the holiest, and this year, I will live and breathe it. I’m sure at the tail end of things I’ll be able to speak about it, but it’s too soon right now.
Onward. I’ll continue to write here about nothing in particular, and as always, will feel immense gratitude, and even surprise, for the time you take to read. It’s a sweet release to collect my scattered thoughts onto a page, and for some reason, the release is more definitive when it lands on ears and eyes other than my own. Thank you for lending me yours. Wishing you all the very best in 2017 and beyond. xo