A.w.a.k.e.

Friday, April 29, 2016 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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It was our first walk this year in one of our favorite wooded hideaways.  I wished to become a foot tall all of a sudden. Fairy-sized, I think, I could better appreciate the tiny flowers and green stems poking from beneath their blanket of fall leaves. The word rejuvenating does not suffice in describing the feeling of warm sun on my face and the complete realization that the world has begun anew, that it is… that we are…. all awake.

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A Kindred Place

Monday, November 3, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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Along this winding path of parenthood, I’ve discovered the power of place with little ones. Over the years we have found a few wild spots outdoors that we visit routinely, mostly ever single week, no matter the season or the weather. We notice the snow-covered ground, the plants as they first emerge, the blossoms and the seeds… and the bedtime rituals by Mother Nature once again. We have time to notice subtle details and changes that would pass us by if we didn’t know the place better. Like how the dew smells differently  and hangs on plants in November… and March. It’s truly wonderful, especially for very little ones who are just expanding outside of their own body and home.

I like to think of these places of ours as Kindred Places. Like kindred friends, we know these places better, trust them and find real joy in exploring with them. There’s a certain intangible something that makes them more special to us. Kindred Places means investing in a relationship that builds slowly over time with lots and lots of occasions to relate. That means repetition and routine. Sometimes my adult self craves new adventures and visits to new places and while all of that can be really exciting and important for children too, nothing seems to beat a visit to one of our Kindred Places.

Now it’s entirely possible this is all related to our living in the middle of a city, and the need for us to spend lots of time in the wild, so to speak, since it isn’t right outside our own front door. I’m not sure because this is all I’ve ever know and the only place I’ve parented in. Part of me thinks the idea of Kindred Places is quite universal, however, and a comforting part of every little one’s life.

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Catching

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

My eldest informed me that if you catch a leaf as it falls from a tree… before it hits the ground… it’s wonderful luck.

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It was a sunny, warm day- the last one before the cold October rains were to set in for awhile. Long enough, at least, to drive the golden leaves from their delicate moorings. So we caught leaves.

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This forest is one we have spent much time in for their whole lives. Like our other favorite wild spaces we know its corners and notice when a new tree has fallen across a brook, or the first leaves have lost their green sunshine food and let their autumn clothes show.  Children find such joy in familiarity and in coming back to nature over and over. It becomes a bit of an extension of home, and sometimes I think us grown up people need to put aside our love of “new” and “different” and slow down to build a true relationship with a place. To watch nature as it cycles through all of the weeks of a year is a true gift. No need to make it formal or talk about it as an exercise, or make it explicit… but rather live it and feel it and breathe it.

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We all felt the magic of that day, as the leaves danced down from the sulit trees. We caught many. We lauged and ran felt the beauty of October. And then we took our favorites home, and my daughter got our beeswax pot and dipped them in the bee’s cappings so we could remember the leaves until the trees finish their rest and burst out with a brand new set. Because spring is really not so very far away.

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Picking Them Up (Again)

Thursday, September 25, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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Conversation with my 3 year old:

Me – What season is coming?

Him – Fall! Leaves will get red and then fall down and then we will pick them up and put them back on the trees.

Me -Hmmm…

Him – Yes! Then we will have snow leaves in the winter, ok?

(Please stay a little lot longer, sweet fall…)

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Sun-Soaked

Saturday, June 28, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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The fleeting summers we have here in Ottawa help us focus on soaking in the season every single day. It’s at once loosely relaxed (our pace, our languid dinners, our reprioritizing almost everything to be oustide) and frenzied (there’s no time like right now! and no time to waste as summer is finally here!)

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This year we are taking care to pay more attention to the weeds and plants we’ve been learning about and their cycle of growth and flowering/seeding under the summer skies. We are finding toads after lush rains, before the hot sun paints the land dry. My daughter is till trying to find a spare corner in our gardens for last-minute seedlings started late this spring, including 9 new chamomile plants. I think we might convert the picnic table to a potted garden.

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This is such a glorious time of year, and I hope you are soaking up the sun wherever you are too.

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Bloom

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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These fields on the edge of the Rideau Canal made me think of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds Dandelions.

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See the wishes? Oh my goodness, are there wishes these days. Wishes during magic minutes every hour when the numbers match up, wishes when new flowers pop their heads out of the warm earth, wishes with the stars and the first sight of sun…. There is such magic in the wishes of 7 year olds.

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In between planting and gardening more raised beds than ever before (plus a community garden plot right here in the middle of the city), and fireworks and being outside except to sleep… we managed to visit the beautiful tulips that bloomed right on time for Ottawa’s Tulip Festival this year. I have more tulip eye candy I will post this week. Something about this particular spring weather saw them come up nearly all together, along with fields of daffodils that are usually withered up by now. It’s very intense in the blooms department this year, I think. An intensely beautiful statement of spring.

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Baby Greens

Friday, May 9, 2014 – Filed under: Uncategorized ::

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Finally the green shoots are pushing through last year’s brush and dead leaves. The (little) forager in this house is celebrating the baby yarrow and eagerly collecting coltsfoot.

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Huge buds promise the lush forest we’ve been pining after for months.

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There’s still plenty of magic left over from last fall to entice the littlest hands. Burdock burrs especially.

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There is such continuity to the seasons. As we note the contrast of the burdock seed skeletons against the greening meadows, we fill our bone broths with burdock root. Eager to cleanse our bodies with all sorts of plant-based goodness. But now we also have baby dandelion leaves, and nettle and bitter greens that somehow don’t taste so bitter.

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