In the Journey

In these warm September days, the little boys who live across the street dig in their dirt driveway, holding up their tractors for me to admire, their faces covered with dirt. The older boy, who’s heading into whatever might be kindergarten this year, wears his Spiderman suit everyday.

Our two houses are at the end of the one-way road. The two brothers, this summer, have begun dismantling the road’s pavement, picking up the broken asphalt pieces and building a tower in their driveway. I look at the tower with immense pleasure. Sure, the world may be falling down around us, but here’s two little boys, recreating the world.

I can’t help but wonder if someday these boys will remember the Covid time as the summer of digging, like I remember the summer of my brother’s fourth year as the time he dug a bear trap — and then fell into it.

On our end, with my daughters, we canoed out to an island of hemlock trees, a beautiful place, silent but for the water lapping the shores and a loon calling across the pond. The girls packed sandwiches and apples and a bag of potato chips. We ate everything and then rowed across the pond. Why not? This is where we are. What’s the rush to go anywhere?

On the eve of school (possibly) reopening, I keep thinking of Maria Montessori’s wisdom….

Preventing war is the work of politicians, establishing peace is the work of educationists.
― Maria Montessori

Nichols Pond, Woodbury, Vermont
Photo by Molly S.

Van Gogh

Late Saturday afternoon in the heat, the girls load up the canoe while I’m lying on the porch reading. I’m so tired I’m near to sleeping, but the girls have packed up dinner. On there way there, my 15-year-old, driving, says, Uh-oh, as the canoe slides ever so slowly to the left on the roof of my car.

Again, so near to sleeping in the heat, I say, You could ease the car over to the side of the road. She does. Her sister does some magic (or enough magic) with the straps, and then we’re on our way again.

Fortunately, we’re not going far.

On #10 Pond in Calais, we paddle out, listening to the loons. In the center, we pause and eat dinner. Eventually, the youngest says, Those loons are surrounding us — mama, daddy, teens. For the longest time, we simply sit there, listening. Then the oldest dips in a paddle and breaks the pond’s glassy surface.

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.

— Van Gogh

For lovers of Van Gogh — and who isn’t? — here’s a fascinating NYT piece about his presumed final painting. I recommend the free book.

IMG_8864

Photo by Molly S./Calais, VT