In Like a Lion

March is flying along like a great and heady wind, taking us all for the ride. 

We had days of bright sun and barefeet, then we had days upon days of always-welcome rainstorms. We've had floods and clouds and thunderous drainspouts, quiet and roaring rainfall all night on the windows and roof, lulling us back to sleep on dark mornings. For the first time ever, mold grows on things I've left on the patio, the stroller, a cushion. It's a rare damp world in our backyard. All around us, frog chorus and raindance and earthworms and buds.

I took the girls to see the Poodlums perform at the library. There was quite a crowd for this adorable duo that writes and performs their own songs with a fun assortment of props, puppets, masks and hats. The kids all clapped and chanted (especially Lucy, with gusto!) and held their hands cupped over their heads pretending to be hot air balloons. Afterwards, I connected with the singer, Annie, about my square dance dress and the girls' vintage frocks, and I felt glad that in an age of minimalism and clean lines, some people still love country girl dresses and twirly skirts.

Tootie and Polly are at ages now where they get along wonderfully most of the time. They still have their squabbles, which can get really physical (pushing, pulling, grabbing hair, the whole bit) but overall they play together creatively and happily. They grab each other's hands spontaneously to circle in a "ring around the rosie." They make up songs, loudly belted out with no apparent melody. They draw together with heads pressed in closed hunched over their papers, and they grocery shop and create elaborate meals for baby dolls and stuffed animals. They play rocket ship and doctor and dress up and hot lava boat. I know all this because I watch them for almost an hour when I run on my treadmill in the playroom: I close the doors and get them snacks and they play together right there near me. I've had a few nice long runs in a row now that they did not fight at all or require me to stop for any demands, which is immensely gratifying. And also it gives me that extra push. If they can be good, I can keep going!

Polly says "Daddy, you a DRAGON!" to his delight.
Did you know that she can produce tears more quickly than anyone I've ever met, and within a half second of starting to cry, the tears stream down her cheeks. Even a semi-fake cry! Even though she's a little more reserved than Lucy in some ways, she's a bit of a drama queen, knows just how to emphasize all her favorite sayings, and Polly explains it all.

These are the things Lucy nibbles in our yard: chickweed, dandelion greens, miner's lettuce, violets, mint, and rosemary. She's my little bunny.

We are leaving on our big Beatty family trip on Saturday, a Spring Break road trip this year: down through the Eastern Sierra to Death Valley National Park, then Joshua Tree National Park, then Anza Borrego State Park. The girls and I have been packed for two weeks; we're obsessed. Taking our new mini van makes it that much more enjoyable and cozy.

My students are reading Emerson right now, and I just gave them back their essays on Edward Abbey. So, life is good there. I am really pleased with my group of thinkers and writers; in fact, I think I care way too much about them. In the other class, I'm learning about dependent clauses right along with them, and I'm taking a stack of their essays along on our road trip to read and grade, which is by far the most time-consuming and stressful part of teaching. The first time I wrote a grade on a paper with my own hand, it was like pulling teeth to get my hand to trace the letter "B." It just feels too weird to have that much control. I have no problem making suggestions, writing questions, even criticizing faulty logic in red ink along the margins, but marking that final score just doesn't come as naturally.

The rains come again, filling the reservoirs and crashing into the spillways. The mud is glorious and slippery and cold, everything is in a frenzy of growth and action. I'm packing and cooking and washing and organizing, getting ready to take my little herd to the road. There are secret games and books stashed away in my closet. It's going to be like one great big Easter egg hunt, with an Equinox and a lunar eclipse and sand dunes and Ostara, and I couldn't be any more excited and ready to embrace this vital energy and spring into motion!


Rachel Weaver said…
First, I love seeing your country/ vintage dress clad crew. I feel that I should have been a bar keep in the Old West--- like maybe I used to be. Tom says I was probably actually something less savory, but I'll go with bar keep.
Also, I have such complicated thoughts on grading. Well, actually maybe not that complicted. I hate it. I hate that so many students saw the score and that was ALL they cared about. I hate that the system seems to push them to that mentality. It was, without a doubt, my least favorite part of teaching.
Can't wait to see road trip pictures. Xoxo
Tina Dawn said…
So good to hear from you! Enjoy your vacation. Love T
Heidi Ann said…
Oh, I just know you will have a wonderful trip, and I will be looking forward to reading about it all and seeing more photos of your beautiful family!
The Brittons said…
Heather~ these moments captured are pure beauty! Have a blast on your trip!
Kimberly said…
Heath, I am at home sick today....decided to catch up a bit on your blog. So happy to hear how the whole teaching thing began. I totally agree, it is hard giving grades.....of course mine are only kindergarten, but still hard to do report cards.
You, Darin, and the girls are amazing!! So blessed to have each other and a wonderful family.
I may have some more dresses for you, if you would like them. Sydney won't wear the dresses I have made her anymore. I think because she likes to do things herself and she can't tie the bows. Makes me sad. Awwww, independence.
Love you :)

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