We're in a bit of limbo here in terms of animals. Belly's been gone for over a year and we are eager to have some animal action in our lives, but some changes might be afoot and we're not yet ready to commit to a domestic friend. We've gone through some of the motions of checking out backyard chickens, but again, we're not quite ready to commit for this season.
Enter this sweet couple. We get a lot of ducks hanging swimming and flying down the creek. These two were hanging around in one spot in the creek the other day, and we rushed out to feed them a few scraps. I've been giving them small scraps and snacks a few times a day the last few days in hopes of getting them so comfortable they won't want to leave. (Is the way to a duck's heart through its stomach?) I've been trying to research a little more into acceptable feeding and treatment of wild ducks...any insights out there?
I hope spring is treating you well. The change is so dramatic! The experience is akin to childbirth: I walk around outside and have already grown a little accustomed to seeing flowers and grass; Winter? It seems unimaginable, like the discomforts of labor forgotten when you're cuddling your sweet-smelling baby.
After a Minnesota winter, spring equinox comes as a sigh of relief. "We made it!" And really this winter, it wasn't so bad as we fell in love with winter sports and beauty. Of course, it's easy to say all this from the gentleness of the South Carolina shore.
Equinox was celebrated with a beach picnic in honor of this time of balance and light.
Our dolphin friends made a visit.
And even little Julia made her first visit to the beach.
It's happening again...Minnesota spring. Like Jenna, spring has never been my favorite. In California it always came too soon after a too-mild winter. Not so, here. And the seasonal timings are opposite as well...we get this fleeting spring and fall with a long-feeling summer and definitely long winter.
But here...these first glimpses of grass. We ate outside tonight, and exploring the yard we kept discovering treasures that had been buried for months...a trowel, a dirty football, a birdfeeder that got knocked down early in the winter, a monster truck. New again.
Today, in the 50+ sun, the skatepark and playground swarmed. How great to see a 5-year-old with his helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads noodling around the cigarette smoking, cursing, Burger King eating teens with a huge grin. His instinct told him to pretend I (the only mother or even girl there) didn't really exist, except for a sly thumbs-up now and then. I know my time to observe this boy scene is a precious and narrow window. I treasure it! Even with the aforementioned "bad influences" abounding, the skatepark is a place where the kids truly witness each other, forming a brotherhood through trying, failing, trying, failing, and finally succeeding. (That's when they all tap their boards against the rails in applause.)
We're heading down to the beach tomorrow where we'll accelerate our spring a bit. I'll do my best to stay in touch. Till then, here's looking at you...
This could be about Isaiah's big hockey jamboree game, the last game of the year that filled the stands with loving admirers of 4 and 5 year old hockey stars. Or it could be about the fact that finally, a year and a half after my brother gave me my super little Flip video camera, I finally figured out how to upload a video. (Let me know if it doesn't work :)
No, it's not a great video. And you'll have to decide for yourself the entertainment value of little kids in gear on skates. Personally, I think it's even more of a crackup than football or soccer.
Of course, this is the play after he scored his goal. I messed up recording the goal shot. Isaiah is the one with the red stripe on the side of his pants in the foreground at the beginning of the game shots and stumbling in the middle.
hearing his name announced.
how on the puck most of them are.
how he raises his fist and stick at the end.
how much he loves to play.
Don't worry...this won't become bad home movie central.
Although it's only mid-March, the seasonal transition is in full swing. For example, it's rainingtoday, not snowing. We wake up to above-freezing temperatures and soar into the 40s. Our ice cave has icicles on its ceiling and grass on its floor.
I've been ruminating this week on the 5-element cycle in Chinese medicine and the best way to flow through these seasonal changes. Personally, I find that when I sink into the groove of a season I'm fine....I know what clothes to wear, what foods to eat, what books to read with the kiddos, what activities to craft.
Throw me into a time of change, though, and I can so easily get off-kilter. I tend to feel the effects as emotional turbulence, weight gain, and drops in my bank account as I suddenly think I need all these things to get ready for the coming season. I literally lose my ground and find myself frantically searching for the groove. I go through my closets to see what fits my mood and my waist. I eye the catalogs and sales for the allure of the perfect me in the near future season. The transition from spring to winter is particularly notorious for stirring up emotions that have stagnated during the long, cold hibernation.
Living in Minnesota, I see anew the beauty of the 5-element system. The 5-element view of life is basically that there is a cycle of elements at work within each of us, each element corresponding to seasons and body systems among other things.
Do you see that extra season there? Harvest time. That most abundant time of year when we're so busy picking and processing and saucing and canning and freezing. It's so important, it's its own season. And behold, the physical process that corresponds to that time of year is the spleen/stomach, more familiar to us Westerners as the digestive system.
Each season also has its own lists of foods to eat, activities to engage in, even colors to wear. But here's where it gets even more interesting...and confusing.
Here's another map of the elements, also used in Chinese medicine.
See how the earth has moved? Here, the system acknowledges that the harvest and the digestive system are the center of it all. And finally, after 2 winters in Minnesota, this season that has always flummoxed me in terms of what in the world to eat, makes a little more sense.
Return to the center. Return to the spleen/stomach. Return to the digestive system. What does this mean? It means moderate, cooked foods. For us this week, it means oatmeal, lentil soup, chicken and coconut milk soup, roast chicken, carrot/cabbage/raisin slaw. It means protecting the regular rhythms of sleep, rest, play and routine. The wisdom of Chinese medicine instructs us to return to the center to ease the transitions between seasons. I get it now, finally, over 10 years later.
With the wisdom of the ancient medicine, my own experience, and a few more servings of Heather's Crack Pie, I should be all set for a plentiful spring!