Sunday, October 16, 2011

And How Like a Field is the Whole Sky Now

Neighbors in October

All afternoon his tractor pulls a flat wagon
with bales to the barn, then back to the waiting
chopped field. It trails a feather of smoke.
Down the block we bend with the season:
shoes to polish for a big game,
storm windows to batten or patch.
And how like a field is the whole sky now
that the maples have shed their leaves, too.
It makes us believers—stationed in groups,
leaning on rakes, looking into space. We rub blisters
over billows of leaf smoke. Or stand alone,
bagging gold for the cold days to come.
--David Baker

Today was a perfect fall day.  Slept in until 8:30, which if you have smallish kids like I do, you know that's sort of late-ish.  Let the squawky chickens out of their coop to roam the 'hood,  then made some coffee and pumpkin pancakes for breakfast.  I almost always make pancakes from scratch, cause they consist of, like 5 basic ingredients, but these are a Trader Joe's mix and trust me, they are next level!  TJ's only has them in the fall and winter, so if you want to take some to the beach in August say, you should probably STOCK UP before they disappear (note to self!).  

Then, the firewood people from Craigslist called to confirm that I still wanted my cord of wood dropped off today.  YES, I most certainly did.  I was so excited when the guys, Jeremy and Jeff, drove up with my load of wood.  They pitched it out onto my driveway, because I told them I wanted to stack it.  Really, that's too good of a chore to let someone else do.  I loooove stacking wood. I love how it smells and the feel of each piece in my hand and the puzzle of stacking it evenly and soundly.  If you ever need a bunch of wood stacked, I'm your gal.  Seriously.  I also like to help people pack and move, but that's another story (but keep me in mind, ok?)  Here's the pile and then a shot of what was stacked at that point.  Isn't it GRRREAT?!

and later:

We all had our work to do.  Caroline mugged for the camera with her jack-o-lantern smile, then swept the deck. 

And Jack pitched pieces of wood to me and  then mowed the lawn.  The whole ding dang thing!  Sweeeeet!

Glory be for fall chores!

Blessings on Thee, Little Man

Two little feet, so small that both may nestle
        In one caressing hand,--
Two tender feet upon the untried border
        Of life's mysterious land.

My lovely cousin, Marion, had her sweet Baby Malcolm 2 weeks ago today.  I went to see them last weekend and oh my, what a sugary little bundle he is.  First, look at this foot.  I'm a sucker for baby feet, the teeny tiny toes, and the sentiments in the poem snippet above.  Almost too much sweetness to bear!
Malcolm is Marion's second babe, and she's a natural mama.  I sat with her while she held and fed him and it was a truly sacred experience.  Is there anything more precious than this?

Welcome to the family, dear one!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

as small as a world and as large as alone

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea

E.E. Cummings

Isn't this a neat little poem?  I hadn't read it in a long time, but recently heard it, in the form of a song!  Natalie Merchant has an album called Leave Your Sleep that is ALL poems that she's turned into songs.  She made the record for her 7 year old daughter and it is wonderful.  The music is fantastic and catchy and sort of old-timey sometimes and jazzy other times. The kids and I both like it; it's like, real music. And poems!  

The song came on tonight while we were eating dinner and I told the kids it was a Cummings poem, and how he was the one who wrote the little lame balloonman poem (one they know).  Then I pulled a 'My Dad' and went and got the book with the poem, and let them read it while the song played.  Actually, My Dad would have recited the poem with Natalie, like a folk-star groupie, but close enough--yay!  

It's been a great afternoon/evening at home!  Although I had a lot of fun today at volleyball.  My 7th grade girls are soooo cute!  We lost a game yesterday and we were talking about it today and one said, "I think it might be teenage hormones or something, but I just couldn't stop crying about it last night!"  And she laughed and we all laughed and it was a dear moment.  Then they were talking about how we should have a team slumber party!  And that I should come!  And then the same girl goes, "I'm not just saying that, I'm SAYING THAT!"  Awwwwww, OMG, UR sooo sweet, M!  

Here are some things we've done upon arrival back to the suburban farm:
* gathered eggs (4), cleaned the coop, and gave the girls a treat:  leftover spaghetti.  Guess what ? They loved the noodles but left a little pile of meat sauce.  I think they might be vegetarians. Too bad, cause when I gave it to them, I evilly smirked to myself that they were stickin' it to the cows!  
* dug potatoes--like hunting for buried treasure.  ARGGGH!
* made a fire in the wood stove.  Hello, Cozy!
* poem at the dinner table  (see above)
* listened to the kids chase each other around, screeching loudly with laughter and telling myself not to shush them and repeating one of OM's mantras:  I am a calm and patient parent.  It worked!  Oh, and I drank a beer. 

...and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet Sunday

After laying low the last 4 days or so, following the nasty throw-up bug that Jack and I had on Wednesday, today woke me back up to the world.  When you're sick, you sort of forget how good it feels to be well.  Today, I remembered.  Hally-looyer!

The kids and I met up with our dear friends Jen, Joey and Carly and Jen's old friend Stacy and her sweet, smiley 10 month old daughter, Mason, at Tolt MacDonald Park in Carnation.  This park has been special to us since the kids were little; we have many, many wonderful memories from our days there.  To Jen, it's even more special, because her very own grandfather, John MacDonald, helped create it!  My kids and Jen's kids always have a ball together and today was no exception.  

The park has an amazing suspension bridge (that Jen's grandfather helped engineer!), and today when we crossed it, we saw a sight we hadn't seen before:  the whole Snoqualmie River was filled with salmon, swimming upstream to spawn.  They were EVERYWHERE!  I believe they were humpies, as they had large humps on their backs (I'm a genius, I know!).  We stood on the swaying bridge and watched those fish for a looong time.  I could have watched forever.  They splashed and jumped and twisted and fought their way toward their destiny.  They came from the OCEAN for goodness sake and they were in Carnation and they must have been SO tired, and many were war torn and beaten up, but they just keep going, back to where they were hatched.  How do they do it???  Jack's 3rd grade class is studying salmon, so I'm hoping to have some answers about this soon.  Here are some pics of these magnificent creatures:
NOTE:  humps 
there is still beauty here, I think

kids being AMAZED

on the bridge

Tonight, after dinner (spaghetti), I was cleaning up, and Caroline asked me to come downstairs and watch her do her "show."  I sat on the couch and watched her dance, in the dark (the lights had to be off because she had 3 flashlights set up for "spotlights"), to the Amelie soundtrack that I had on upstairs.  It was one of those perfect times in life, where you just get totally caught up in the present moment and can appreciate the pure beauty of it.  Her dances went with each song, in spirit and moves.  She twirled and leaped and pretended to swim like a salmon and it was very dramatic and lovely.   Here's a little video clip I took of one of her numbers.  And maybe it's one of those things that doesn't really translate out to anyone other than Caroline and me, but I'll share it anyway, for posterity:

Actually, NEVER MIND--the technology wouldn't allow it after an hour (really!) of waiting for it to upload.  Just use your imagination, and make it rich!

Oh, what a sweet, sweet Sunday it was!