Wednesday, November 14, 2012

musings ~ on balance in an unstructured life

A year and a half has gone by since we moved out to the country.  I still get thrilled every time I see a deer, pheasant, turkey, fox, etc.  I still love to hear coyotes and owls (and once, a wolf) in the evening, and to see the Milky Way on a clear dark night.  I'm still enamored of the view of rolling hills, patchwork fields, and the occasional rocky bluffs.  Even driving by run-down old barns, passing tractors and Amish horse-drawn buggies, fill me with a feeling of romantic idealism.  I am sure at some point this will seem so commonplace that my eyes won't see it so clearly.  They won't be open, so wide and childlike.  And yet being able to appreciate where I am now is a gift that I'm grateful for, even if it's bound to fade.

In other ways, life inside the home is not much different than living in our little rental house in the city.  We have solar panels for heat and hot water on sunny days, but we use electricity the same otherwise, watch DVDs and Netflix, use the computer, etc.  The other big difference is that we drive a lot greater distance for errands, community events, and friendship.  We have had two cars die recently, and had only just replaced one when the other gave out.  When we were searching for another affordable used vehicle, we ended up with a minivan.  I kept resisting it :), but the girls are much happier not being crammed together in a tiny backseat.

 That's my attempt at creative photography.  I call it Ice Crystals (as Seen From a Minivan Window While Driving on a Country Road  :).

Recently, Ayla said, "We should cook up that rooster.  He's bothering me."  It somehow shocked me that she should be so comfortable with this idea.  As a former vegetarian/vegan for most of my adult life, (and a city girl) it kind of made me squirm.  But the rooster was being very aggressive, actually jumped on her and drew blood, and we had already planned on butchering him for the stew pot, so why should it bother me?  At two years old, Ayla is comfortable in this life in a way that I am only get used to.

Vegetarians, avert your eyes.  Here's Camille scaring 'meanie rooster' away with her bow and arrow.
 Here's the rooster stew with sweet potatoes, carrots, and cabbage.

I have never been a person to fit comfortably in one category, in any one easily-defined identity or role.  I am constantly questioning everything.  I wonder how my daughters will each experience this ambiguity.  My hope, of course, is that they will be so comfortable being who they are, that it won't matter.

Camille cooked oatmeal this morning on the woodstove, while Sylvia watched Wordgirl, and I picked up some knitting that had mostly lain dormant since last winter.  Our lives these days seem like such a wonderful, yet simple, mishmash.  Not predictable from day to day, but simple and ordinary enough to not feel out of control (usually).

Yesterday, we drove into the city for a doctor's appointment and a homeschool class at Aldo Leopold Nature Center.  We also picnicked with friends and explored the exhibit.

 dress like Aldo Leopold

 And today, a local playdate (only 20 miles away).  Out here, that makes us practically neighbors.
I'm feeling grateful that we've cultivated friendships with families where the children and the adults alike can be good friends to each other.  We're definitely not poorly-under-socialized homeschoolers.

For me (and I think, for my whole family), there is a great wonder and openness in our lives, in the way we live and learn.  And yet, it can be uncomfortable at times, this openness, this awareness of the endless possibilities.  Too many choices can be overwhelming.  For that matter, too many dirty dishes can be overwhelming.  Staying grounded and focused is not one of my greater strengths.  So, here's one more thing that I'm extremely grateful husband is very good at being grounded and focused.

And yet, he's the one who thinks we should buy a horse (or two).  I think between him and I, we have been on a horse exactly twice in our lives.  I foresee another learning adventure with another steep curve coming our way in the next year.  Maybe we can finish the interior of the ground floor of this house before we take on fencing and animal shelters. . . .

Finding a place where wonder, practicality, excitement, responsibility, joy, stability, flow, and sparkle can meet in building a life is my goal.  Balance is the key.

1 comment:

  1. You guys do an awesome job of getting out and socializing.

    I'm also a city mama with a country baby, and have a similar 2yo chicken story. I was all like, Oh look at the cute little chicken... and he responds - Let's kill it and eat it!


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