Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall descends

I guess it's time for the annual "wow, suddenly it's fall" post. This time it seemed to happen faster than ever. Summer was brief, very brief, but sweet. And the weather gods were kind to our annual picnic - 9 days ago, the day of our event - it was 85'. This past Saturday, the mercury struggled to reach the low 60s. September is nothing if not unpredictable 'round here.

But, fall means bounty and this year we have it. Our greenhouse is struggling to
get hot enough to ripen all the tomatoes, but the space is brimming with plants at least. The garden is thigh-high with pumpkins and beautiful yellow zephyr zuccs, and bushels of greens happy in the cooler weather.

We've harvested lamb, and run raccoons off from the henhouse. Time to start Middy on milking so we can venture into cheesemaking. Later today, our first piglets arrive.

Yup, it's fall.

Sunrise over Quartermaster Harbor, early Sept.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The best friends, the brightest blooms

Just a short note, post annual Stop Sign Picnic, to say that I can't imagine anyone on the planet has more beautiful, more lovely, more colorful, and more vibrant friends than I do.

One day each year almost all of them come together on my little patch of paradise to celebrate love, abundance, life.

There are all sorts of beautiful flowers out there, all manner of deeply valued friends.

I'm so glad mine are dahlias, every one.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The best age

When I was a new mom, people used to ask me all the time "what's the best age so far?" When my son was an infant, I'd answer that even with all the sleep deprivation, the diapers, the crying, I couldn't imagine a sweeter, more miraculous time than being the brand-new mom of a brand-new person.

Then he started crawling, walking, and talking and I was forced to amend. No, I'd say, the infant year was amazing, but nothing beats watching this little blob turn into a person, a person with bright wide eyes and an insatiable curiosity. Who feels, and listens, and watches, laughs from the belly and cries like he means it.

But, then my person started reading and counting and putting this and that together, in his mind or in 3D. Well, I'd say, when people asked, the infant years - they're miraculous, and those toddler years, they're amazing. But, I have to say that these school-age years - wow. Letting go each morning as he walks through the big blue doors, watching him in action in the classroom when I volunteer, hearing the day through his stories...nothing beats that. These years are the best.

A funny thing happens when your kid starts middle school, though. People stop asking you what years are the best. I guess the assumption is that they're obviouly behind you. That parenting a middle schooler is just plain hard, something you just have to get through and the best you can hope for is to come out the other side, both of you relatively unscathed.

Parenting a middle schooler is hard. Hard in ways that no one really tells you. Hard in ways that keep your stomach in knots at 2AM, hard in ways that make you doubt every choice you ever made, hard in ways that make you doubt the future you thought you wanted.

But, parenting is not supposed to be easy. Nothing that's worth anything is easy, and what's worth more than this life you've created, this gift you have given the world? What deserves more doubt and more risk and more sacrifice than the human being that once lived inside you, breathing your air, feasting on your body, growing from your cells?

This summer, I had the privilege of watching my son unzip his cocoon and gently, ever so gracefully, unimaginably bravely unfold his most spectacular butterfly wings. Physically, socially, emotionally stretching, fluttering, and soaring to new heights, as his father and I took a silent, humble step backward.

And now he embarks on a whole new journey, an enviable adventure of his very own. A wonderful new school, a whole new grade, an entirely new population of friends and colleagues, a new paradigm in learning. Best of all, a brand new, radiant smile.

Parenting a middle schooler is hard.

But, what else can I say? These are the best years.