Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deep Breaths

Today was a less than stellar example of my motherhood skills.  I am generally able to possess mass quantities of both patience and understanding when it comes to my children, however, today, my stock was running alarmingly low on both.  It was one of those kinds of days.  You know the type...nothing was going smoothly, no one was listening, and even the "helpful" gestures from my small human beings were making everything twice as difficult.

Finally, near my breaking point, my husband intervened and told me to go take a walk.  "Grab your camera and go", he said.  I glanced at the clock.  I had 20 minutes before he had to leave for work, taking with him what was left of my sanity, so I didn't hesitate another second.  I did just as he suggested.  Without haste, my Canon XSI and I went for a walk in the woods - out into our newly acquired "back 5" (acres) as I like to call it!  

As I walked away from my house with nary a backward glance, I heard the bellowing screams of my children..."Mommy!"  "Come back!"  "No, Mommy!"...(please don't judge me if I tell you my steps may have gotten a little more brisk at the dissonant sound of their little cries).  If there is ever any question as to why I might be losing my mind, this moment brought it into crystal clear focus for me.

As I disappeared into the woods, I realized I had to walk a REALLY long way before I found silence, but I kept walking nonetheless.  Finally, surrounded by nothing but trees, with burrs covering my pant legs, and thorns nipping at my ankles, I started snapping photos.

Allergy inducing goldenrod suddenly took on a bright yellow, fresh, innocent beauty.

Simple piles of stone took on a life of their own as a story of how they came to be there unleashed itself in my head.  I heard the crisp snapping of grasshoppers jumping out of harm's way in front of me as I walked.

And I breathed.  Deep, slow breaths.  I took in this wonderful (and rare) moment of silence and I realized how lucky I am.

I am surrounded by beauty out here.  All around me are reminders of my own childhood.  Trees to climb, plants to learn about, animals to track, nature to experience.  Some of my fondest memories of growing up with my brother and sister on the "Homestead" were of the adventures we had and the lessons we learned.  My brother and I would find dead animals rotting in the woods and dissect them with a stick to see what their skeletons looked like. We caught toads and kept them in buckets.  Saw baby goats being born.   We used to squish up polk berries to make ink and used sticks as quills to write with.  To this day I almost inherently flip up the leaves of milk weed plants looking for the cocoon of the Monarch butterfly perched below.  I want that for my boys and here, I feel they will have that chance.  The chance to learn and grow and explore.  I hope I do half the job my parents did teaching us all there was to learn about the world around us.  I'm excited to have the opportunity to share this with them.

With renewed spirit, I headed home to my little men and sent my husband off to work with a fresh and level head and energized soul.  Who knew that 20 minutes in the fresh air of my own backyard would be so cathartic for the day I was having.  In the words of Annie, "I think I'm gonna like it here!"

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