Sunday, 21 August 2016

What Song Will You Follow?


As we drift lazily towards the end of the summer I am always amazed when I look back through my photos at just where we have been, what we have been getting up to. The lovely reminders. In spite of the odd weather, we have had a lovely time, and I suspect it's not over yet.

'In the forest, the child. Inside the child, the forest.'
Jay Griffiths.

Even though Autumn is my favourite time of year, I adore the summer for what it is ~ time to sink into just 'being', time to stop the schedule, take a different route, try new things, explore. What is it about warmer temperatures that make everything easier? We have wandered all over this lovely isle of ours (as well as a foray to Harry Potter world in London for some of us), and, as is our tendency, dipped our toes in the sea many times in many places. We just can't help ourselves! Each summer becomes a long lovely list of why we love this dear island of ours, why we love where we live. (For more regular photo updates you can follow me on Instagram).

Happiness runs...

Our wanderings took us here there and everywhere, finding pockets of time with lots of dear friends we don't see enough of during the year, time we filled with soul~deep conversations and lots of laughter, around many tables and many campfires that nourished us all no end. In beautiful homes and gardens, on tops of mountains, in deep valleys and by lake shores, in the sea, by the sea, and nestled in mountainous dunes, we delved deep into the human condition, explored our feelings about living in today's world, what it means for our children, and what we are or are not doing. We spent time dismantling the Old Story, examining its parts and figuring out how to proceed with creating a new one that upholds all that we hold dear in our hearts, and in doing so we moved along a little deeper into our understanding of what this future should look like.
One thing that struck me was the collective, deep and abiding love for our world and all it gives us, and a desire to counter the ugly craziness that is going on around the world and that is being flaunted in our face as though it is all we have. It's not all we have. The world is better than this but the power of social media would lead us to despair and hopelessness if we let it.
Instead, each of us, like millions of others, in our own small way, are making a difference.

'Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.'
Mary Oliver

And so, for the first time ever we are looking forward to September. The 'Back to School' signs in the supermarkets don't fill us with dread and spoil the last few weeks of the holidays. We are full of plans and promise and excitement. As I wrote about here in my last post, there are new beginnings afoot here, and not just for the younger two boys, but also for our older two, as well as for myself. Our eldest is off to college, (the very same one where our story began all those years ago), and our daughter has bravely decided to skip her last year in school and go straight to further education ~ 'I know what I want to do so I'll just skip the stressful, unnecessary part and go straight for what I want'. I am filled with admiration for her wisdom and bravery. And the journey we have been on with her has shown me, unequivocally, that there really is Another Way to educate our children, another perhaps more unconventional route to the exact same end, and the bravery is stepping out of line with your peers and finding your own way.

Summer's bounty.


As we continue our explorations of how we are reinventing our future, the more I read, the more videos I watch, the happier I am ~ every qualm and worry and question is being answered or put to rest, and as time goes by I sink deeper into the surety of what we are doing. I am filled with admiration for those who find it in themselves to begin this journey when it first becomes an issue for them, and the only thing that stops me from being filled with regret that I didn't is the knowledge that Homeschooling wouldn't have worked for us, (me teach a curriculum?!) and Unschooling sadly was not heard of here, twenty years ago (oh if only!). I am, however, grateful that I can at least do this for the younger two. I am grateful to our older two for giving me the impetus and bravery to 'be the change I want to see'. Without their two very different but equally difficult experiences of school, I never would have begun the journey we find ourselves on. Their experience and my helplessness in the face of it, ignited my mother-bear, made me take a stand, and so here we stand, on the cusp of new beginnings.

Irish summer...

So the seasons roll along under our feet, carrying us along towards this Next Thing, and this morning when I step into the garden there is a distinct cool whisper in the air after the rain. On the road yesterday we all commented on the sudden golden~ing on the trees, as though overnight they decided, party over, they are tired and its time at last to rest, and withdrew the bright light that gave us that viridian summer canopy that dappled our days these last few weeks. And as the tawny and umber creep in, all around us the trees and bushes are bursting with abundance and we pick and forage and graze as we go, summer exploding in our mouths as we do, warm and intoxicating and vibrant. Sustenance for the months ahead.

Fraochán berries ~ wild blueberries ~ Wicklow at it's finest.
So here at summer's end we dance on, towards this next chapter, full~filled, re~booted, energized, looking forward. We have no idea what is ahead for us, what bumps as well as joys we will encounter, and it is scary, as well as exciting. But given how difficult the last three years have been, it feels good and empowering to be doing something. To be taking control of what we are not happy with and changing it, making it better for ourselves and others.
And I hope to be here in the Blog~shire a bit more often now, as I'd love to share with you how we get on, warts and all, because already I have inspiring stories to tell of our deschooling experiences so far.

Here's to an abundant Autumn, wherever you happen to be.

Looking forward.