The weather in April in Montana can play games with your mind if you let it. It’s spring one hour, fall the next, almost summer sneaking in and then bam! it’s snowing. Seriously. It does things to your personality after a while. I’m not joking, even though I wish I were.
Example, you wake up and the sun is shining. The thermometer says it’s already in the 40’s which means it’s going to be an amazing day. At this point you can practically hear the seeds breaking through their little pods and digging through the dirt in anticipation of greeting the sun. Like I said, it’s going to be amazing! The garden is going to bloom today! Whole cabbages are going to appear where before was just dirt. Lettuce is going to be ready by dinnertime! Flowers will be blooming and birds singing and because it’s such a stupendous day, school will go smoothly, the kids will all get along, you’ll be on your way to winning Mommy of the Year awards and your husband will be welcomed home into a spotless, warm, smelling good home, with dinner just waiting for him.
Like I said, this April weather plays with your mind.
In reality that sun lasted all of 23.5 minutes before the snow rolled in. While that was happening the kids decided it was a good time to whine about everything, beat each other up, “lose” their school books, destroy the house and not hear me speaking until I was not speaking in a normal tone of voice anymore. (tell me I’m not the only one that particular phenomenon happens to, Mommy uses her nice Mommy voice for as long as her patience lasts with no response from her family, she might as well be talking under water, and then when her patience is gone and she looses her cool, everyone looks at her like she’s crazy and geez, why did mom just yell at us?! Yes? Anybody else?…… please…)
Right after the snow rolled in, the wind came along also and pushed it back out so that we were looking at a very fall-ish sort of day. At this point I was still determined to make the day work “the way it’s supposed to”, aka, the way my fairytale land brain imagined it because I read too many books where everything is perfect. *sigh* I came around the corner into the kitchen to see the kids miserably trying to work up the desire to plow into their newly found math books and honestly, the looks on their faces took the last of it out of me. We closed the books, dressed for fall, and went for a walk.
Where did the inspiration come from, I’m not 100% sure, but it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we went. We took a walk. It lasted for 2 hours, 1 meandering mile there, following the creek line, 1 straight mile back following the road. We were exhausted and exhilarated and dirty and sweaty and joyful. After a day of nobody getting along, a day of everyone’s nerves being pushed to the limit, a day of dashed ‘goals’, we ended on an amazing note. (even if Cowman didn’t get to come home to a spot less house and a dinner that was waiting for him….)
Nature walks have been added into our weeks now since that day. Sometimes we get out multiple times a week, other times (because of the blasted white stuff and freezing winds) we don’t, but it’s always there on the horizon as something we will be doing again soon. It’s something we all look forward to. The older boys will grumble a bit when we start out, but it’s all a show because at their ages the unwritten rule is to grumble at everything I say we are going to do. Once we are out and wandering, they let themselves go. Princess always takes her sketch pad along and the others point out things for me to photograph along the way.
We are learning to be observant. We are learning to be present. We are learning the joys of not being on a schedule at all times. To randomly drop everything we are doing and take advantage of the nice weather. And our hearts and minds and attitudes are all being enriched in the process. Yes, it’s a great learning opportunity as well, but I try not to stress that part of it too much. We all learn so organically during these outings that I don’t want to spoil the naturalness of it by talking about it. We do go home and look things up in nature research books or field guides, but it’s nothing formal. The kids draw their favorite parts of our walks in their journals, but it’s not a class. One tries very hard to make the pictures as realistic as possible while the other draws their observations as cartoons. (and no, it’s not because of ages here because it’s opposite of what you may be thinking) I don’t care how they depict it, I just care that they took notice of their surroundings and brought it back home with them in their imaginations. I care that they soaked in their amazing surroundings and let it change their outlook on the day. I care that they are realizing that they have the ability to choose their attitudes and the ability to choose the outcome of their days. I love that I am learning this as well, right alongside them.
One last note on imaginations, I sometimes imagine that I lived somewhere where spring actually came on the first day of spring and summer showed up when it was supposed to and that the blasted white stuff didn’t show up until it was officially winter. Imagination is such a useful tool, but sometimes I think it can mess with your head the same way our weather does.
Love from here,