In a World so Filled

Earth Day every day. It is what I hope to instill in my children probably more than any other particular thing, besides love in general. I change the songs I learned in church as a child into songs about Mother Earth. We play outside every day, we lean close and pay attention: bugs, birds, the deer traipsing through, the baby one with his tiny antler buds, the work of raccoons who came in the night, footprints, scattered compost. Decomposition, the forms of clouds, what is sprouting out of the ground, what the ants are carrying, the way the doves flap off together in a group with a presence both magical and mundane. It almost feels disingenuous to write it down, because it's not like it's something I pat myself on the back about, it's not like it's hard to spend time this way: it's what I love, what we all love, and it makes parenting a breeze while we can devote ourselves outdoors.

I am proud when Lucy asks me the names of flowers, birds, trees. Oftentimes I don't know, I'll say let's check with Joey, he knows his evergreens or she'll say, "We can ask Nana, Nana knows trees." Both girls love to dig and plant. To examine roly-poly bugs and visit with ladybugs. Today Polly had a terrible run-in with a red ant hill. By the time I got to her in a matter of moments, they were already crawling all over her and had stung her behind her neck, on her back and arms. She stopped crying as soon as I picked her up though, and as soon as we got her dress off she was pointing out more ants and blowing them kisses with her big wide "Muh!"  She doesn't hold it against them. Nature is chaotic and wild, can be unpredictable. Maybe she gets that.

We've been waiting for the poppies with relish. I got worried when I noticed a month or so ago that there seemed to be less of their big furry leaves in the patch near the rock wall, that there were far fewer of their fuzzy little heads peeking up than in years past. It's been dry of course (drought, drought, drought...) so I carefully weeded around them and even gave them a sprinkling of gray water once. And here they are! Yesterday there were two, today there were five. It's gonna be quite a week!

waiting for rain.

We went to a little Earth Day celebration at the library. Met a pygmy owl named Dusty who was rescued and rehabilitated by Sierra Wildlife Rescue but still cannot fly. Lucy got a little bee and a butterfly painted on her hands. Then we came back to our backyard to put in time with the real thing. Hear the quails call greetings to their clans and see the doves flutter at dusk. The bees swarming the plum trees and the lavender. I may not be very good at gardening or wildcrafting (yet!) but I am good at paying attention and feeling grateful.

It brings me back to the Romantics, to my old starstruck idols, Wordsworth and Coleridge, their lyrical ballads, their rhapsody in nature, the divinity they find in the earth around us. Coleridge's rhapsody to the wind blowing over an Eolian harp, dreaming of the way the wind touches all of nature and finds a common song.

"O the one life within us and abroad.
Which meets all motion and becomes its soul,
A light in sound, a sound-like power in light,
Rhythm in all thought, and joyance everywhere -- 
Methinks it would have been impossible
Not to love all things in a world so filled" 


Rachel Weaver said…
Whenever I learn a new plant or bug or shell, I feel giddy with excitement. It feels like I've been invited to a party but I'm only just now getting around to introducing myself to all the guests. Learning their names makes each species so much more real to me. Nature journaling has been my very favorite home schooling activity as of late.
Towards the end of winter I felt so disappointed with myself for not getting out of doors more often-- I really should make more of an effort even when it's cold, but ever since spring has arrived, I feel so happy to be outside basking in the buds and green and warmth.
I've been collecting field guides when I find them at used book stores or while thrifting, but now I am going to start looking for some Romantic anthologies because nothing sounds dreamier than a big old book of poetry to be devoured with a picinic.
Mallorie said…
Hi Heather, I came across your blog recently when I was googling homemade layettes. I read about the cool layette you were putting together for Lucy, and then I went on to read every post since, until your most recent! I realized that my two youngest kiddos (both girls) are almost the same age as your Lucy and Polly. My Evelyn will be 3 in September, and my Brianna will turn 2 on December 31st. I have sincerely enjoyed reading about your wonderful family and their adventures (both exciting trips and everyday life) and I find your joy for life to be so contagious! You and your family dress so beautifully, I also must add, and you have inspired me to be more creative with my own wardrobe, and let my personality be reflected more often in what I wear. I live in California as well, and my husband and I are expecting our 6th baby in September. I look forward to reading your future posts and following along with your sweet family :-)
Tera said…
I love your outdoor teaching and learning, observing, meditation...lovely memories are being made. Love it!!!!!!

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