This morning, I was preparing some green beans that I bought at a local farm stand. I was snapping the ends off and stringing them (for those of you who don't cook or prepare such things, I was taking the tough strings off the "seams" of the beans). As I sat there, listening to the satisfying snap! of the beans, in the beautiful sunshine, listening to the boys playing on their scooters, Music Man mumble, mumble as he spoke on the phone in the house...I had the thought that I am blessed. In that very moment, for that speck of time, I felt truly blessed. Now, those who know me know that I am diligently trying to live more in the moment. I tend to project things that will happen in the future and have really been trying to just stay where I am right now and not think about what's coming all the time. Of course, to some extent, you have to do that, don't you. But, there are moments that can be just perfect and for me that was one of them.
For some reason as I've gotten older, there's a part of me that is totally connected to autumn. My sister can attest, as she's a fellow autumn worshiper, that I will start thinking about autumn long before the first shade of red, orange or yellow will dapple the leaves with color. I am passing this obsession down to the boys as they delight in telling me the first hint of color to appear on our otherwise lush green surroundings. We were waiting in a parking lot the other day, and Maestro tells me, very excitedly "LOOK MOMMY!!! Autumn's coming!!" as he points to one single leaf that was red on a maple full of green. I smiled and my heart warmed, I hope they can appreciate the seaons as I do.
I was fortunate enough to have been transplanted from hot, sticky, unseason-changing (okay, so I made that term up) humid Florida as a 10 year old to the wonderful, breath-taking mountains of New Hampshire. Since I grew up from that age being able to follow my intense (you horsegirls know what I'm talking about) passion of horses at a local boarding stable, I soon connected to the seasons. For anyone having grown up in rural New England, you can remember the times when you would get off the school bus, air crisp, firey leaves fluttering on the branches, the already fallen ones crunching under your feet, sky the deepest blue and you felt the promise of something to come. It was completely intangible, that emotion, but it swept you up in a moment of joy and perfectness. I remember many days like this as a child. I would get off the bus, trek the long walk from the bus stop to the horse barn sometimes with other children with me, sometimes not. I actually preferred the solitary walk so I could listen for geese flying overhead, the scrunch scrunch of the leaves underfoot and feeling the excitement of riding my horse on such a wonderful afternoon. I even liked the blustery ones of the late fall season, when it would be downright cold and I'd have to bundle up and the frigid rain would fall and the leaves would swirl around me as the wind whipped my hair this way and that. It was a feeling of just being ALIVE.
These were the memories of my childhood that I cling to and for me, I still get a sense of that girl walking in the wonder of autumn and believing that there was magic in it somehow. Having never had that exposure until I was 10, I think it was not commonplace to me, I never took it for granted and I hope to pass that wonderment onto our boys. Hiking in the fall is still one of my favorite things to do, it connects me in a way to the natural world like nothing else possibly can. When I was a teenager and was able to make a horse of my own happen for myself, I would ride Dixie on the many miles of trails in the woods surrounding the horse farm. Those were perfect moments themselves. It honed the senses that I still carry today in the woods of listening for animals. The adrenaline rush I would get when Dixie flushed a partridge, or seeing deer grazing in an otherwise unoccupied field, or a bear in the distance as it ate berries at the edge of a stream. I remember actually seeing a bobcat once cross the road and feeling like it was there so I could see it. I think it's possibly akin to the way Native Americans feel in their heritage. I felt an intimate connection to the landscape and animals that were all around me. When I say we lived in the sticks, seriously, folks, I'm not kidding here. There were so many acres of total wildness around the places I played as a child. And it has instilled in me the love of that wildness, even now. I actually feel sad for the boys that they may never get to experience what that was like. To sit at a stream and take off your sneakers and dangle your feet in the water and listen to the crickets and watch the tiny fish nibble your toes. These are perfect moments as well, and ones that I feel are so important to teach them about.
But, how do you do that now? When everything is so "DO NOT TRESPASS"?? How can we find those places when we can't afford to own them ourselves? It's a scary proposition to me that children now just don't even get to be wild and free themselves, connecting in this way to woods and animals and water. How will they know this is worth preserving if they don't get connected to it now, when they are children? I don't know, but for me, I think loving it is part instinct and part nurture.
Blessings and perfect moments to you ~Peacemom