Angel Wings and Herb Tea

Life after loss; healing through creativity, writing and art


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Tender green shoots

Spending time with myself, sniffling and feverish despite RAW garlic and dropperfuls of echinacea, and super green drinks and abundant vegeatables and snatched times on the sofa with hot honey and lemon and miso broth. Cross none of this staved off the fluey state which has felled each of us in turn, fighting uneasy guilty feelings about loosing the homescholing reins on the kids. Running slightly feral around the grounds and tripping back breathless and hatless to lay their cool cheeks against mine. Chilled, pearly and smooth as a mushroom skin fresh and dewy in the field.

Grumpy, dumpy and suffering some strange unidentified pregnancy related discomfort which has slowed my walking to a shuffling waddle, from too much manure shifting at a school work day on Saturday I have no doubt.
Luckily I love my sofa, tucked next to the woodburner and being alone on it with a hot water bottle and a book.

The homeschooling  reins have already loosened, by necessity, for sure, by moving four times, by the fire, by me slowly realising that recreating a model Steiner kindergarten and class 1 (simultaneously) in my own home is not entirely necessary for my kids educational success and emotional well being, especially the latter. And which is more important?

Conditioning so hard to unravel, years in school, state and Steiner, national curriculum, literacy levels expected of six year olds, …Local Authority home school inspector…’hm hmm I can see they’re very active and busy but what about formal literacy and numeracy provision?’  Are they happy, do they want to learn, are they emotionally well balanced and nourished……no boxes to tick.

Oh! it’s such a journey for me to come face to face with all my feelings of guilt, inadequacy, is this enough, am I enough, should I be doing this shouldn’t I be doing that. Am I singing enough nature songs and is Tansy’s knitting coming on well enough? (Steiner) Are my home grown fairy tales good enough? Does it matter that Tansy can’t read yet? (Nat. curriculum)
Are they  happy?
Does she make beautiful little books about babies, does Leo hoe and dig his own garden and collect the eggs every morning?
Do they cook soup when I am ill and brush my hair?
Do they make candles and sew pincushions and dolls and bake bread?
Are they learning about living in a community considering others needs and differences, working and playing with other adults and children, sharing food and resources and opinions?
Do they know how to build and tend a fire, catch a fish, pluck a chicken? Well yes!!

You see I’m just trying to convince myself!
Last week I had been feeling particularly negligent as we had only squeezed in one writing session for Tansy (I  follow the Steiner class one pattern of telling an ongoing fairy tale, in our case ‘Molly and Sam and the magic Mountains’, and having Tansy write a sentence about the days story in her book accompanied by a picture) One session….ooh! Nursing first Fred, then Tansy and lastly Leo..now me through the fevers precluded  extensive writing work….

But on Saturday we felted.

It was the Steiner school work day, and among many jobs, including the manure spreading which reduced me to my shuffling waddle, was a giant community felting project in the hall. Partly to improve the acoustics and partly as a beautiful reminder of the seasons rhythms, we started the first of four felted wall hangings, depicting spring, summer, autumn and winter. Almost a flock of sheep fleeces were laid out, and we teased, carded chatted, splashed warm soapy water about , danced on it the huge felt picture, crawled on it, marched singing on it, and wrapped it in bubblewrap and rolled it up and down outside. Bit by bit the wool felted and soon it will be ready for the more delicate and intricate details to be needle felted on, and hung on the wall.
The children watched, teased, ran about, squirted water on the felt, rested, stamped and rubbed the felt about, sang laughed, got wet socks
So happy for Tansy and Leo to be part of a community afternoon and to witness adults working joyfully together, creating beauty. Not the all too common sight of a parent struggling alone resentfully trying to do too much without support.
That’s what I want them to be learning about!

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New beginnings and gratitude

First, cascades of love and gratitude to the lovely Lucinda at Whispering Earth who, on reading of the fire, emailed me to offer support and herbs to replace some of the ones I lost. A couple of weeks ago, a special parcel arrived, containing soothing herb teas, a delicious rose scented moisturizing cream, some tinctures and a mysterious oil whose true purpose will become clear as this post progresses. It was such a generous and lovely gift. I am still overwhelmed by the love and kindness of friends, those nearby, and those I have never met! Thankyou so much.

The snow drops are blooming bravely in swathes around the grounds of our new home, promising so tantilisingly the coming of softer Spring weather. In the talons of the east wind, its hard to forget this, and in the chilly outreaches of our new home we shiver with blankets and hot water bottles. It’s not a cosy cabin, its the wing of a mansion, but we have one warm room which we cook in, knit in, play in, paint in, hang out in, and we are very happy to be here, despite the bone numbing chill.

Around us are acres of beautiful grounds, walled veg gardens, polytunnels, children (and other adults) to play with, community meals and choirs to attend, …even our chickens have settled, integrating with the existing flock and laying boxes and boxes of eggs.
We’ve joined a community, a few miles from our land, and, after our three months in town, are feeling the healing balm of being again surrounded by trees, green plants, growing space, room to run without fear of cars and streets, the balm of being with others.

More later about our new home  because there is more excitement….

More beginnings.
New tender shoots sprouting
A phoenix rising from the ashes.
Springtime promises of a growing,  swelling, surging Mother Earth…….
and well, me.

I’m half way to growing a new baby. 20 weeks in and getting quite a belly, soft little kicks, and jeans that don’t fit, and morning sickness nearly passing……number 5…phew!
How did I ever think 2013 was going to be a quiet, calm year?

And the oil from Lucinda?