“The flakes still fell hard and Inman could not even feel the way the trail went, but he ran on until finally he stopped in a place where the the hemlocks stood black around him and made a world undifferentiated, with no compass degree preferable to another and with not a sound but snow falling on snow, and he reckoned if he lay down it would cover him and when it melted it would wash the tears from his eyes, and, in time, the eyes from his head and the skin from his skull.” (Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier)
That last bit hit me hard. It’s the laying down of a man’s will, considering the option of no longer willing to go on, or maybe no longer able. It’s a sentence I read several times over, just taking it in, letting the words create a scene in my mind of that kind of darkness and despair. Although bleak, it is stirring and strong in an oddly inspiring way.
Lately I have wanted to do nothing but sit with a book and hot chocolate and read. It must be the cold weather that brings that on, this desire to hibernate and pass through the many dark hours in a different place. But no matter how much I try to hide, they always find me. You can’t really hide in 700 square feet anyway, but they are not the best lookers. So I may be able to steal a moment here or there before they realize I’m alone, and then that inherent instinct kicks in to disrupt the stillness.
So along with the words I’ve been (trying) to soak in, this is what we have been up to lately, in pictures. Pumpkins and preschool and keeping track of when #theogetsscared and as much time outside as the weather will let us. The everyday things that make up life as we know it. And then one morning we saw otters on our walk to school and that was pretty amazing. Though perhaps in Vancouver something like that is fairly normal, for us it bordered close to extraordinary. Magical even.
Out front. It’s where we go on afternoons when it’s not raining and when we don’t have much day light left to make a trip to the park, but still need space and air to let the after nap energy escape. Or possibly on those long days where naps were discarded completely, and I need something, anything, for us to do to make it through those hours. It may only be a handful of trees lining a busy street and a sidewalk but it’s still a city kid’s makeshift playground. A canvas for chalking. A 10 minute break on the bench and breath of fresh air in between taking the trash out and heading back upstairs to finish dinner. It’s nothing special, but it’s an escape at it’s best and a patch of grass at it’s simplest.
I took the kids out front the other day for a project I wanted to try-the 5 minute project. The idea is just as it sounds, take 5 average minutes and document it. Here are our 5 minutes. Out front.
This may be my favorite Theo picture yet.
When Evelyn gets excited about something, she doesn’t stop talking leading up to whatever project or event we might be doing, laying out plans and specifics and running everything by me: “Ok, mom? Does that sound good? I think it will work great.” She gets all matter of fact, I think she’s worried that I might drop the ball. She all the sudden turns into this little planner and adult. But then she squeals in excitement when I bring out the pumpkins and gets covered in paint and says things like “cretend” instead of “pretend” and I’ve got my little girl back.
Theo, on the other hand, does not concern himself with the how or the why or the when. He just shows up when all is ready and gets down to business. His lower lip sticks out as he has tunnel vision for only what is in front of him. He has no regard for his clothes or his surroundings. For such an active boy, I love his concentration when he gets really engrossed in something that interests him.
Despite the mess paint always makes, seeing those parts of their personalities emerge was worth it. Yet, we never painted pumpkins growing up, we always carved them. So I’m not sure why I decided to switch things up this year. Probably my complete dislike for the slimy insides of pumpkins. And, my idea of what I want to carve never, ever turns out how I envision it will turn out. Plus, my kids + carving knives did not seem like a safe idea. So paint we did. We started about 11 in the morning, although by the shadows cast it looks more like late afternoon. If I had waited until after naps we would’ve run out of sun. It wasn’t a big ordeal, just me with my camera, the kids content with their sticky, colored fingers and Matt peeking out through the window. Meltdowns ensued when I called it a day because the red jar of paint was turning into a grayish, mucky mess. But the air was light, catching the autumn colors. The traffic below was our soundtrack.