As I've related in more graphic detail than anyone required, we've been sick, sick, sick. And sick means home bound. On Tuesday, I mad a mad dash to Goodwill and Dollar General because I was a) desperate to get out of the house and b) desperate to replace Folgers Country Blend with Folgers Breakfast Blend.
Tonight found us all, if not well, at least on the mend. The older boys were desperately overdue for real haircuts (as opposed to the desperation trims I offer to avoid notes from school). My friend Heather the hairdresser lives on the next block, so I pulled out the sit and stand, loaded up the little people, and headed over.
And I thought about how I drive everywhere. Our immediate neighborhood invites jogging, strolling, visiting. But we're always in such a darn hurry. Strolling swallows an extra ten minutes we, sadly, can't seem to muster. Tonight, however, I pulled out the stroller and down the block we went.
On the way back, there was the slightest nip in the air. As we turned out of neighbor's driveway, we began a Divine Mercy Chaplet. We passed a hedge overgrown with honeysuckle. Tim pulled off a few sprigs, and John yelled, "I want Honeysuckles, too."
I didn't know that John could recognize Honeysuckle.
I noticed my friend working in the garage of her house. Her first home! So neat! I passed my friend Karen's house and prayed that she is having a good week as she marks the halfway point in her chemo-therapy. We crossed the street and passed our friend Dennis' house. Dennis died last Friday after a protracted and difficult decline. I noticed the cars belonging to many of the grown children still parked in the driveway and prayed for the family as they continue to grapple with the loss of this giant of a man. As we turned the last corner, I spied three friends and their Saint Bernard. Kolbe, Ainsley, and I joined them to catch up for a few minutes.
I thought about how much better I do when I get out of the house and smell real smells and pray for real people and bump into friends and visit and laugh.
Last fall at the beach, we rode bikes everyday. One of the best aspects of Hilton Head is that you can bike as far as you have stamina to bike. You can bike to the beach. You can bike to the ice cream parlor. You can bike to the grocery store. We biked through a torrential downpour. We spotted birds and alligators and turtles.
And all this feeds my soul.
I came back from Hilton Head determined to spend more time outside. I love to read. I love to watch movies. I spend way too much time surfing the net. But Honeysuckle and wildlife and a nip in the air -- well, reality trumps virtual reality any day of the week.
As I look ahead to the summer, I need a plan for getting us all out of the house. Jen Fullwiler recently wrote about the allure of the McMansion for people who live in scorching climates. I, unlike Jen, do not have scorpions overtaking my backyard, but, believe me, we know what it means to be hot. Sometimes I think my kids, like Jen's, would prefer housework to doing something -- anything! -- outside. We take solace at the pool and head North for extended visits.
I've been re-reading Real Learning by Elizabeth Foss.This is a beautiful book and speaks to you whether or not you're a homeschooler. It's about home education, and all of us educate in our homes. Elizabeth stresses nature study. I'm gleaning some new ideas here that I may post later.
As Gerard Manley Hopkins once wrote, "The world is charged with the glory of God." When I allow that light to shine on me, what a keen difference it makes.