Saturday, April 30, 2011

first days of term

It's a new term! I love the start of a new school term; it reinforces everything I cherish about our choice to homeschool.

I love that on Thursday, at 9am (just as bells were ringing State-wide to start the school term), I was in my pyjamas, making chocolate crepes for my kids.


I love that on the first day of term, we played the entire day.

Friends came over and the kids did role-playing games with their toys, scootered to the park, ate a picnic lunch at the playground and scootered home just in time to go to Homeschool group. (For more playing!)

from my phone…
the specks in this picture are
4 kids scootering madly down the street!

I love that yesterday my son recited a page-long list of all the things he wanted to get done this term, then sat for ages reading on the couch with the kitten on his lap.

I love that my girl went straight to her desk (the desk she loves and lives at) and started writing and drawing and making. Like she does every single day of her life :)

Then the kids explored an Iron Age game on the internet,
played a maths game with me,
then hopped out to the Art Gallery for our new committment—art workshops, run by a dear friend.

Our first days felt so organic. So right.

Living and learning naturally.

Living days of Flow.

(and days of Tricky too—because even on an "I love homeschool" day like yesterday you can get a parking ticket, your boy slips on a driveway and wallops his butt, and your kitten gets into, and wrecks, a brand new loaf of bread. This is when you breathe, and breathe deeply. And continue listing all that's good).

I love being with my homeschooling friends, talking about everything under the sun—from educational philosophies to what music we're listening to, and what we're having for dinner tonight. They're such an enthusiastic, devoted, supportive bunch. It feeds my heart to be around them.

I love learning creatively. Passionately. Wholeheartedly.

I love being different. Alternative and unusual and curious and special.

(and there's a kind of magic in every one of those words. Isn't there?)

I love that our first days of term

looked a lot like our days of not-term!

And every day felt…

all-the-way-through, right-to-our-very-bones,

just right.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Camping Trip: the last bits

 the sand the sea the lake the sky the fire 

my family

the light! the peace! 

my centre. 

(And now that I've been re-calibrated
renewed and re-energised, I'll get back to writing 
about something else beside this camping trip! 
This wonderful, clear, bright time.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

chain of shells

I shall make a chain of shells she said

and the boy said Ah

and the girl said Oh

and the two said Me too

(though the girl couldn't help herself and made
an owl instead!)


found shells in perfect quarter circles

strewn around the dune—

a bird's finished meal 
they thought

(she imagined it sitting 
back and 
rubbing its tummy with its feathery wings, 
maybe loosening its belt a notch

or two).

The sand

was linked 

with white by white

like the souls of the things

that used to live inside

were holding hands.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Camping Trip: Part II

Once Upon A Time!

A family was camping, and had had two beautiful days out in the sunshine. But it was time to move on. Time, in fact, for Day Three.


We packed up (and oh, it takes a long time to pack up camp!), and went up North.

North to the place I went as a child with my family, when my family was intact; where I then went as a young adult with my father and my grandmother for Christmas, and years later visited as an adult with my then-boyfriend and University friends.

Ah. That's a long ribbon of history. I was about to add another bright bead to it. A visit with my husband and kids.

As we turned up the road into the National Park I thought, But it's paved!

Because when I was a kid, the road was all dirt and pock-marked and we'd bounce through the ruts in our little Suzuki van. And when a car came towards us, dirt cloud flying, we'd scramble to shut our windows, singing out, "Close all windows, Emergency Call!" Always with the same singsong sound. 

You could begin to see the Dunes rising up behind the trees to our right. I said to my kids, Look! Look! They glanced up from their wild role-playing game with their toys, said, Cool! and returned to their game.

But I remember as a child just staring, and gaping, and thinking, They're so big! So big! 

We checked out camp grounds, wanting to find one with a fireplace

because when I was a child we had a fire. 

And found a campsite, just by the lake. A little way off from the water, in a fenced off area set up for three groups of campers.

And I remembered that when I was a child, we drove up and parked right next to the water. There were no cordoned off camping spaces, just the natural space the trees made. We nestled our little tent in between the trees and woke to the lapping sound of lakewater. 

I went down to the water's edge

and the lake, and the trees leaning out, looked exactly the same as they did when I was a child.


It was stunning. I thought, I think we're camping in the same place! It looked just like it. There was one tree especially that called to me; it curved out over the water like the dipped neck of a swan.

And suddenly I could picture my sister and I clambering out over that tree. My sister, always the more daring one, always went further, while I watched, delighted. 

She and I explored every tree near our campsite, climbed along them (or up!). We were daredevil explorers then. The whole campsite was our glorious wilderness.

A little while later, I went off to the nearby enviro-toilets. They were a marvel. They were completely clean and odourless; they were the latest in pit-toilet, nature-loo technology. I was very impressed! (As impressed as you can be, by a loo).

And I remembered that as a child, I was given a shovel and toilet paper…
enough said? 

After setting up camp, it was time to collect some wood for the fire. For some reason I missed the sign that said, "Please don't use the wood from the Park; the grubs and insects and earth need it." I saw that the next day and we promptly went and bought firewood. But on this day, I was still living in my memories, where

my father and mother would drive up and down the dirt road and we'd spot firewood lying on the ground. We'd gather huge armfuls, and pile the wood into the back of our little van.  I remember chopping it up back at camp, with our bright, sharp axe. 

So we did the same. We drove along and tried to find wood, and my husband crackled about in the bushes in his boots. We found one beauty, a long, thin fallen treetrunk. We thought we could jump on it to snap it. No go. We tried leaning it on the car and breaking off a piece. Nup. We tried running it over with the car! It would not budge. By this time my husband and I were laughing so hard we were bent over. The kids thought we were nuts. Then my husband got into the car, leaned over and picked up the trunk, somehow juggled it so he was holding it with a single hand outside the driver window, and drove back to the campsite, pulling the tree along with him.

We must have looked like crazy people!!

And the whole time I could see my parents in the front of the van, talking and laughing. The wood piled up behind us. My sister beside me. Sun shining. 

Then it was time to visit the Dunes.

We drove to the beach access path. I actually felt butterflies. Would it be the same? Would my children like it? Would the dunes be as big?

Why, yes. 

Yes, it was.

Yes, they did.

Yes, they were.

And I remembered sliding down the dunes with my sister, wild haired and laughing…

Walking up to the dunes with my grandmother. She with her stick. My dad and I holding kites, ready to launch them into the wind.

Striding along endless waves of sand with my university friends, carting surfboards in the bright sun, under the bluest sky.

I remembered.

The pictures flashed up, one after another. Like my history was standing beside me, watchful and precious, like tissue paper pictures, placed delicately over one other.

And then,

we made our own memories. Made new pictures. Made another layer of sweet history.

And the Past smiled. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

finding spirit

There are many days I could sit quietly and think…

about what spirit is, for me.

So many holy days to spark contemplation, so many people pausing.

Today, Easter Sunday, is one such day. A deeply important day, in this part of the world and others.

If I lived in Morocco,



or the Sudan,

the days to pause, the holy moments, might be different.

Perhaps I'd find people dancing and calling out their name for God,

or kneeling towards Mecca,

or praying in a synagogue,

or quietly meditating in a room, high in the mountains.

(I know I'd find this happening here in Australia too, if I looked.) 

All of these people would be resonating. Finding their spirit. Their song. The path that feels truest to them. 

All these ways, these days, this kaleidoscope of faith,


beautiful to me. 

We were watching the sunset the other day, looking over a lake that I loved as a child.

We stood high, high on a sand dune, the sea behind us, the lake before us. The sun dipped lower and lower over faraway hills.

Out of the blue, I said to my husband, "Who decides when Easter is? The date is always different."

He didn't have an answer straight away. I turned back and watched how the falling sun changed the light. The hills waited, infinite layers of blue. Tiny birds darted through the bushes. Called to each other, nestled into the trees. Larger birds coasted the twilight wind, their wings out like palms of the hand, held upward.

And then I said, "I wonder what those hills are." 
Thinking to myself, Are they part of the National Park? They are so beautiful. They seem to go on and on.

And my husband said, "Perhaps the Church?"

In that moment, I thought he meant the hills. I had already forgotten my question a minute earlier. 

In that moment, I thought, Yes

It felt so true to me. 

Of course. The hills are the church. 
And the sky all around. 
And the birds calling, the sun dipping, the light changing, 
the water in the distance, so still, and fading into blue grey. 
And the sound of the surf behind me, purring, holding me up with its hand warm on my back. 

This, here, is my church. This is where my spirit feels truest. 

My feet on the sand, rooted into the Now, into this moment. This view. These sounds. These trees, this life, this sky, this sea. The living, breathing, vibrating, resonating natural world. 

My spirit is here. This is my worshipful space. 

And I felt such peace. 

Such connection.

Such joy

On this day, and on others, where the spirit rises and holds you, 

wherever you are, 

however your spirit sings,

I wish you beauty, peace, and love. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

camping trip: Part I

Once Upon A Time!

A family went camping

for five days and four nights…

and almost 

every minute of every day and every night

was glorious. 

It began 

with a car ride.

Past funny roadsigns

and with the kids occupying themselves as kids do

(I couldn't do either of these things as a kid—
the first 'cos it didn't exist, and 
the second because I always got way too car sick!)

First stop?

A place called Caves Beach. 
A place Karisma wrote about on her blog
which inspired me 
to suggest a week-long camping trip—
thanks so much, Karisma!

We didn't see caves the first day. 
Instead we ate

and set up camp amongst the paperbarks.

We finished just in time for sunset

and a swing

and a view of the
moon rising through the gumtrees

And did you know a full moon can make circles like this?

It can! But it gets dizzy after a while… :) 

Then a walk 
to the nearby lake was in order

to watch the light change to dark over the water

and then the nearby river beckoned too,

where the moon made a path on the water, 
straight to us.

Then more swinging had to happen

(yes, that IS the moon, shining so boldly in the background!)

and running

and things 
seemed just a bit different and more special
there in the night light…

like we were all suspended in time

and magic
was happening.

That was the first day.

On the second day,

we woke to the sound of birds
all around, just beyond the thin skin of our tent

and a few even came to visit.

We said our hellos but didn't stay chatting long,


 it was time to meet the beach.

Where we visited 

Caves One,


and Three.

Three was the finest, the most exciting cave of all

because you could only get to it at low tide

and it led out to the ocean

and it was spooky 
but thrilling too

and we loved it.

But we weren't brave enough to swim out to the open water. 
It seemed just too…

So for a while we were content just looking around,

until we noticed a man with his family
launching himself wildly
off the rocks by the cave
into a pulsing ocean pool below.

No way! 
We can do that?
We're in!

Oh, yeah. 

Now that was awesome.

The cool thing was, 
the water didn't pull you out into the open ocean
and leave you there to your doom
(kind of handy, don't you think?).

Instead it would pull a little, then push. Pull, then push. 
And oh, so gently, you'd travel the channel back
and find yourself home again
and standing.


You'd think we were done and ready to rest, after a day of cave exploration
and lunch overlooking a view like this,

and then more exploring and ocean leaping

but not us. 

After showers it was time for a long stroll into town
along the bike track
to find icecream cones.

But could we find a single shop in town that sold scoops of icecream?

I know! Such a tragedy!

We had to make do with Magnums instead.

What a hard life.

Almost dark by now…
and time to walk home to our tent,
and watch the sunset by the lake again,
this time with just my boy.

Ah. It was beautiful.

And that was the second day.

More days to come!

I have linked this post to

and to

We Play

Which is kind of a fun thing to do. I must do it more often :)