Let your eyes rest on something completely “ordinary” in the natural world. As you look, the beauty and delicacy of what you are seeing you will reveal itself to you. There is so much gloriously ordinary beauty in everyday life; seeing that, restores us to ourselves. Stephanie Dowrick
One of my children, now grown up, was given this collection of shells and seeds by a friend’s family from Playcentre.
They had contact with various scientists and were happy to gift us this array of treasures. The land snail shells are so colourful and inside each of these three are tiny classification details. Once upon a time they were part of a research study into creatures of my country.
The bright red and black seeds are a mystery to me.
With small children it was a time, back then, to examine and wonder, to observe the diversity of size and shape, to explore with very gentle touch and respect and to learn more about life on earth.
This small collection of treasures is important to me and one day I hope to share my enjoyment of them with my grandchildren.
Do you have such treasures tucked away?
It is graduation week in the family. On Monday I attended the graduation ceremony for my adult daughter as she received her recently gained qualification. She studied a course that is only provided by the Open Polytechnic so all her learning was via distance.
The venue on Monday was full of adults of all ages and stages who had somehow managed the incredible juggle of distance study, paid employment, family demands and the usual routines and requirements of every day living. To complete any academic qualification is a feat but to study alone brings even more challenges along the way.
Those of us who had stood alongside the students, supporting them as best we could, were well represented too and we clapped and cheered heartily as the ceremony progressed and the achievements were acknowledged.
Cameras clicked and flashed, a supper was offered to share after all the formalities were completed and we all had a very happy time. My father always said that studying was a burden at the time but the qualification was no weight to carry once achieved. There was evidence of lightness in the gathered crowd of graduates on Monday night.
On Friday this week I will attend another graduation. This time it is for my three year old grandson as he has completed his “Born to learn” programme under the Parents as First Teachers scheme.The invitation sets out an hour or more of fun activities, music, story time, presentation of certificates and a cake to cut. The programme that he and his parents were part of has been a rich mine of learning, sharing, relating and empowering. It has been a wonderful support to the new family, offering another strand in his development and bolstering the foundations of all learning through play.
I regularly use this phrase “I love to get the juice out of things.” But what do I mean by that?
For me it is about looking deeper, looking wider and looking again.
It might be “getting the juice” out of producing a good crop of garlic. It might be after I’ve seen a movie or attended a concert or meeting.
Sometimes the “juice” might be new learning; sometimes it might be new understanding: sometimes it might be more questions or puzzles to think on and other times new responses or feelings.
The endless possibilities that might arise from “getting the juice” are a really attractive part of this process for me and helps feed the naturally very curious part of me.
I see in the newspaper this morning that it is International Literacy Day.
“Adult and Community Education Aotearoa is encouraging people to engage in Random Acts of Reading today to celebrate the written word and acknowledge the importance of global literacy.”
I had been planning to post the question “What is your favourite word?” so today seems a good day to post such a question.
I love words, playing with words, making up words, having fun with words, completing word puzzles and reading words.
I don’t have just one favourite word but a word I am enjoying right now is “vex” in all its forms….
What is your favourite word today?
I’ve had a week that has taken me away from blogging and even from reading very much but here is a quote that I want to share today because I love books and all they offer to me:
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. – Anne Lamott
Today I have been reminded on several occasions to be aware that everyone is carrying some issue, challenge or burden. Being kind to one another seems a good place to start.
Earlier this year I posted about planting garlic in my garden, Garlic and Gumboots. The ordinary garlic is sprouting away but the elephant garlic is not visible at all.
So I decided to use an old gardening trick, normally used for checking out the crop of potatoes or for harvesting some very early potatoes before the whole plant is ready for pulling. This trick has been named “bandicooting”. A fellow blogger in America has posted on potato bandicooting and he offers the following:
To bandicoot a potato is a simple matter. The soil surrounding the potato plant is moistened until it yields to probing trowel or hand. The small, immature spuds near the surface are carefully harvested leaving their deeply positioned brethren to grow.
For readers of a certain age (5-100) and nationality (Australian) the phrase ‘bandicoot potatoes’ is instantly familiar if not evocative. The bandicoot is a small marsupial resident of Australia. Similar in appearance to a rat and armed with the foraging bravado of a pig bandicoots are famed villains in the Australian garden. Bandicoots are said to sense the first moment when a sweet potato can be dug or a melon’s debut to sweetness. Their larcenous, sly habits are immortalized in Australian slang. To “bandicoot” is to steal but with a touch of flair and skill. Writer: C.Lindquist. Vegetables of Interest blog 2008
My Mum was a great potato grower and would often report she had been bandicooting and then enjoying some tasty new potatoes with fresh mint and a little butter, salt and black pepper.
My bandicooting today determined that the elephant garlic bulblets were simply sitting beneath the soil, showing no signs of growth or development. I have since emailed an expert for advice. I have learnt that elephant garlic is actually a member of the leek family and probably should be planted in early spring and not at the shortest day. I may yet have to dig up my bulblets and replant them in early spring and with the tip showing above the soil, not buried beneath. What an interesting plant and so much to learn about the cultivation of it.
Over the weekend I saw this suggestion for encouraging writers to write. Begin sentences with “I write of”. Here are some of my sentences from today:
I write of nature because it contains so much beauty, power, rhythm and a space for me from the pressing things of life.
I write of things quirky because I have a sense of humour and a curiosity that enjoys such things.
I write of the ordinary and the good to offer a balance against the glitz, hype and unpleasant that occurs in our world.
I write of the ordinary and good because I know the value that both offer to me and to others.
I write of simple traditions such as cooking for others, writing letters, gardening, knitting, singing in a group, walking, spending time with people we love and connect with.
I write of books simply because I love books.
I write of books because they have helped me in a myriad of ways throughout my life.
What do you write of?
Another prompt I found was over at http://concernedwithstory.wordpress.com was to write beginning with “Right now….”
So for me today, Monday 25th July 2011:
Right now I am very grateful for heating, warm clothing and warm food on such a cold day.
Right now I can see the birds enjoying the apples I have hung for them for winter food.
Right now I am pleased to have paid the bills and grateful for having the money to pay them.
Right now I am wondering if my cat will increase his food intake.
Right now I am processing the information I received about a family member who served in WW2.
Right now I am thinking a lot about resilience and the notes I made this afternoon.
Right now I am pleased to have fixed the errors in the socks I am knitting my grandson.
Right now I have meal preparation to do so I am off to begin that:-)
When I ran self awareness groups I would use a “Right now” exercise at the beginning of the session to help clear the immediate, scattered stuff that was “on top” for participants. Once this happened, focus was easier for everyone in the group.
Writing “right now” sentences offers me similar but different clearing, focus and more.
I’d be interested in your discoveries from writing some “Right Now” sentences.