Take the Time To Stand and Stare

Photo by Elijah Hiett on UnsplashOld Benj had once said, “A man must have a care to what he puts in his mind, for when he’s alone on a hillside and draws it out, he’ll want treasures to be his company, not regrets.”

~Elizabeth Yates, Mountain Born

I read the book Mountain Born by Elizabeth Yates today, and it is a thought-provoking and delightful treasure that I can’t wait to share with my kids.  That is, after the read-aloud that I’m on currently and the ones that we have lined up.  I’ve reintroduced bedtime story hour, a habit we had slipped out of for a while.  The kids and I are nearly through our first read-aloud, and I only began bedtime story hour last week.

I’ve also introduced reading at least a half an hour each day to Aslan. He has long been resistant to being read to, and even now, he doesn’t particularly enjoy the story as much as he does the individualized attention. Part of my requirement for the goal is that he discusses the book with either Michael or me afterward, because his conversation has largely been circumstantially reactionary instead of independent thought.  And as a middle child, he just needs that extra intentionality. This is a work in progress, but I’ve seen his vocabulary blossom even in a short time.  I wanted to note this in particular because the other children are all used to being read to and discussing books for hours on end.  This was (and is) a large part of our family culture, and it’s been a very difficult adjustment for Aslan over the last year.  Slowly he’s warming up to stories and picture books.  As I said, it’s a work in progress.

I feel like I should make a cheesy transition here about “now that we’ve discussed feeding our minds, let’s talk about feeding our bodies”  but I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Okay.  I just did.

But it wasn’t voluntary.

I’ve had our family on a bit of a vegetarian kick as much as I can, in efforts at escalated frugality.

We were able to get some really inexpensive B-grade carrots at the farmers market this week. 

The kids genuinely don’t mind vegetables, and they’ve all come to love salads, although I might be pushing their limit with cabbage four times in one week!  The two cookbooks I’ve been using the most this week are From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce and Simply In Season: Recipes that celebrate fresh, local foods in the spirit of More-with-Less. 

I’ve also begun making my own bread again.  I will also probably have some tea party pictures to show you next week, as we’re having a little girls’ tea party for Jubilee’s third birthday (belated.)  I always love tea parties and the prep and attention to detail that comes with them.  And it’s going to be so much fun sharing the joy with my little girl.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

I came across this little poem by W.H. Davies in one of the books that I’m reading.  It talks about the need for eyes to look, ears to listen, and feet to stop in our busy lives.  Because what kind of life is it if we aren’t able to marvel?  Think about whether or not you’ve taken the time to stand and stare today.

LEISURE

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

 

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