It’s August! We have hit our stride, riding the summer rhythm. We’re relaxing into our predictable days and weeks, enjoying each other. The two kids play together so much, so cute!! No interruptions to our flow: no commute to school, no rush to be on time, no tears from making up after the separation. The jealousy of little bro getting mom all to himself for SO many hours! All of that is forgotten, phew. We are swinging along in our California coastal summer.
There is sun and ease. The predictable pace frees up more time and energy for creativity. The children guide us towards new habits and routines: legos after breakfast and dancing in cumbia dress after rest time. I’m trying out storytelling, learning songs on the quena (South American alternative to the recorder!), making stuff with felt and yarn with my girl. Bread day means experimenting with homemade jams. Every day, the two of them play together for hours and hours, in their own world, together. *sigh*
Also there is fog and gray gloom. The demand to pick up that tiny blue lego helmet *NOW* and for the 50th time today. Tiny beads scattered everywhere. Friends from the worm bin “visiting” us inside the house. Packing one and a half ham and cheese sandwiches cut into triangles . . . again. And I am so successful in shielding us from the stresses of the outside world, that sometimes I forget how to communicate with normal adults. I read over each email a million times before sending, sure that I must sound like a martian. I spend so much time alone that I’m not sure if I make sense to anyone else anymore! A little buzz of worry that I’ll get it so so wrong.
It’s a new kind of companionship that really fulfills me. It’s a feeling I remember from Quaker meeting in the woods with my youth summer camp. Feeling like you are alone even though you’re together, and in a natural setting, where your mind can drift up to the treetops in the expansive sky, but in good company. Being with friends who can feel this kind of peace, side by side, without having to explain it all.
Here is our Weekly Summer Rhythm, in pictures.
Monday: Farm Day
Wednesday: Neighborhood Outing and then Backyard Garden
Thursday: Beach Day
Friday: Local Park and Bread & Jam Day
Also we harvested potatoes and laughed a lot:
Also, we’ve had some transformative Waldorf education as a family. We spent a week at the Nurturing Family Life Program put on by BACWTT. It was Waldorf summer camp for the whole family. We were immersed, together, in Waldorf wisdom at a deep level, helping us to connect the dots between the kids’ school life and home life. A huge boost for both of us parents in our capacity to find the meaning and the way forward in the many tedious and challenging moments of family life.
And I’ve continued studying and reworking the cycle of the year in our family life, with mentoring from Lisa B. Finding inspiration in California’s coastal prairies and in stories and songs from South America. Here are my latest scribbles.
I think a lot about the gray and gloomy fog of our summer. It feels suffocating and moody when I think I should be bright and sunny. I’ve whined and complained, wallowing in the gloom. Until, I drew the first drawing above. Without the fog, we would suffer the unrelenting desert heat of inland California, up to 100 degrees where my husband goes to work. The fog cools us, brings relief, moisture to our baking drought. Restfulness and balance to our bright and intense days. And the diversity of wildlife! Plants that harvest the fog, living on the border between sea and prairie. We are a borderland, between ocean and earth.
Part of me is asleep all summer like the wild diversity of seeds, sleeping on the hot dry prairie soil, waiting for the rains. Like underground roots and tubers, keeping cool and out of sight, tucked in to mother earth. I think the cerebral part of me has floated away, taking a break as the heart and hands take over for a while. The slow and steady of summer is the solstice’s effect felt throughout the weeks of long days: the peak of the Earth’s tilting motion when it stands still, before turning back. The moment of rest at the end of the exhale.
Meanwhile, the prairie is still busy; voles and gophers till and fertilize the soil underneath the dry prairie in preparation for autumn. Maybe the coyotes and hawks have taken refuge in the forest giving the little guys a break. Once condors circled here, waiting for the carcasses of those who didn’t survive the baking heat. And the ocean, too, is surging below the surface under the quiet fog, circling cold currents of nutrients upwards and outwards, upwelling.
The long slow exhale of summer, waiting for either fire or rain to wake us up and bring our life forces back into ourselves. Back from their journey out into the cosmos, gathering energy closer to the sun.
I’m trying to keep breathing, too, as the earth exhales, and enjoy the moment. Happy Summer to all!
Last three photos: Chigüirito in the coastal scrub, P on the Serpentine Prairie, and below, serpentine rock with native grasses. The image of true California native summer.