new terrain

IMGP0226There was a baby born on the farm this week. Wow. A whole new person has had the start of his life just up the road. After a very long labor, Hannah and Jesse finally got to lay their hands on the precious bundle that arrived to them on the morning of Christmas eve. I do believe it is a gift they will never ever forget.

Welcome to the world, Further Collett Frost. May your life be long and blessed. I know your parents are so happy to have you with them. I know also that your new neighbors just down the road are pretty thrilled that your are here, too.IMGP0223Not only was a new baby born here on the farm this week, a new family was born, too. Hannah and Jesse are now united by the blood that flows so miraculously through their baby’s veins. Until you go through the experience of laboring and birthing a child first hand, there are no words to offer the expectant mother that can truly prepare her for the experience. There are no words to offer the expectant father, either. There is no possible way to describe the magnitude of emotion that you will feel gush from your heart.  We each have our own unique experience that will likely never unfold in the same way for any other person. Our stories are our own.IMGP0227

And while my friends are navigating the new terrain of parenthood, I can’t help but reflect on those times in my own life. Nearly eleven years ago now, my first born made his way into the world. It seems very hard to believe Ira is about to turn eleven. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that he was a fat little bundle of love, cooing and slobbering and smelling of breast milk. Now when I look at him, still seeing the baby and the boy all mixed up together and all at the same time, I see where his life has been and imagine where it is heading. Each and every day he arrives at the threshold of some new terrain, and each and every day I do my best to not hold on to the baby, but to encourage the boy on his journey. This isn’t always easy for a mother… I know it isn’t easy for me. Recently, he has really taken to hunting. With a gun. It terrifies me completely and thoroughly. When we went to visit my family over the holidays, my brother loaned Ira the small shotgun that he first learned to hunt with when he was a boy Ira’s age. I suppose that has been about thirty-seven years ago. I’m sure my parents had the same internal struggles I now face as they encouraged their boy on his journey. IMGP0218

So while I am not one to offer “helpful parenting advice”, I will say this to my dear friends as they head into their own unchartered territory with their baby and as a family… Cherish every moment for time really does fly. And love. Just love.

butt slippin’ and moss kissin’

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it’s what you do when the rain gets you down.  it’s just what anyone needs to combat cabin fever. it’s undocumented because a camera would get in the way. it’s the best kept secret to kick the gray day doldrums away. yes, it is a long scramble in the rain drenched december woods with a 3 1/2 year old guide. a guide who cares not if he is damp to the bones. a guide so perceptive he can find individual fungi and moss in every imaginable shape and shade of winter green. a guide so full of laughter it carries through the hollows on a somber sunless day. it’s how we roll around here, when the scale tips out of parental favor, head to the hills. it works every time.

now with the sun set and our layers hung by the wood stove to dry, we have settled into a long evening, warmed by the fire, hugged by the fairies, each of them. ahhhh

 

 

necessary contrast

lightTo be perfectly earnest, the long strings of short, dark days are difficult for me.  When the sun shows its beautiful face over the hill in the morning (as it is today), my outlook changes completely, and mostly for the better.

What I am remembering now is that I wouldn’t feel nearly so dearly about that sunshine if it wasn’t for all those dark days.

It’s obvious, but not always easy to remember.  Kind of like the golden rule, or the importance of love and compassion.  No rain, no rainbow.

The light and beauty that we create, inside ourselves (hopefully) and around our homes with the holidays is so precious in part (I believe) because it is placed right smack in the midst of the darkest days of the year.  The contrast helps make the light shine brighter.

And so it is, that the work of cleaning up the rocks and sludge that darken our hearts is best done with eyes open.  Not so that we hold onto those things that dim our inner lights, but so that we appreciate how much brighter that light shines without them.  So much brighter, but we will have to get our hands dirty, apply some internal elbow grease, to get there.

This is why I remind myself (here, with you) to remember again and again to be grateful for the darkness that helped me to see the light.

After all, what do we long for in the hot bright dog days of summer?  Shade, shadow, sunset, and cool stars.

Without these fluctuations, these stark contrasts, these works (constant works) of keeping the heart light clean and clear, the fountain of life would be a shallow tepid pool and the light of the heart would be dim.

Dim lights cast few shadows, but also give little warmth.  By that pool there might be fewer tears to shed, but there would be less laughter as well.

shadows