Monday, 16 November 2009

There's no place like the woods...

I sigh and force myself into buttoned up multi-layers. Prodding and nagging the boys out the door and hoping it will help me leave too. Glad that ‘daily walk’ is written in bold on the day’s schedule and cannot be argued with. I’m cold and stuffy inside, and I don’t feel like going out.

We traipse through the village, past the back way to Blanchman’s, and almost miss the turn off of Bug Hill to our trail. Then all of the sudden I feel better. The steep path garners hilarious giggles and shouts as the boys try to stay upright but insist on running down full-tilt. We laugh at the funny Dr Seuss shaped mushrooms. We squeal and hold on to trees when the path gets almost slick enough to sled down. Who knew the woods held so much hilarity?

I marvel at the colors. Greens in all shades from dark and regal to lime-ish yellow. Reds so burgundy they’re almost purple and browns so rich they’re almost black. Yellow leaves not quite fallen. Bright winking holly berries. It’s a wood in autumn. Though granted a much longer autumnal process than this Rocky Mountain girl is used to.

The boys pick up sticks. Bridger lags behind. Fighting off pirates and playing the ‘two sworded man.’ Caid holds my hand, small and cool in my own warm one. He wields his stick and can’t decide whether it is a dagger or a long-knife. I am told it is most definitely not the same thing.

I love the squelch-squirch our wellies make in the mud and rotting leaves. The tear in the top of one of mine prevents me from measuring the depth of each puddle with the boys, but I am a judicial observer. Helping to decide which is definitely the biggest. No longer cold or stuffy we all unzip our jackets and unbutton our sweaters. My pockets are full of our beanies and we relish the wind in our faces.

Here’s the old man’s hut tucked away in the woods. There’s the ring of bright red mushrooms that Kelly said must have been put there by fairies. Even the sun peaks out for a few minutes to brighten up our magical woods-time.

Then all of a sudden we’re on the road again. Walking through the village to the next thing on the schedule for the day. But I am changed. The day has brightened. Deepened. I am a little more present and a lot more delighted. There’s no place like the woods...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Village Life

A long walk in the country through beautiful woods and a farmer’s open field. A one-block walking trip to the Green to run my errands including: Salmon from the fishmonger. A deposit to the farmstand man for a turkey. No matter that he can’t understand why in the world I’d want one BEFORE Christmas. Mail some letters at the post office. Check out some books at the library. Then it’s home and a hot cup of tea.

Drop the boys with Alex’s Nana who graciously watches three sets of kiddos. An evening dinner with friends at Bagatti’s where each owner/host kisses me on both cheeks. Delightful gluten free pasta and even more delightful company. Hilarious rides home in the late hours full of screaching, laughing, and the sorts of jokes only old-friends really tell but new friends can still very much enjoy.

Sleepovers with warm cuddly boys while their daddy is away. Agitated almost seven year olds who finally curl up and pour their heart out with lonliness, and homesickness, and longings too heavy to bear. Sobbing and cuddling like he did when he was much smaller.

Spicy pumpkin cakes baked with helps from small hands. Yummy spicy smells and Christmas music blaring and copious cups of tea. Locking myself out of the house and running to the neighbors for a spare.

Fantastic fireworks experienced in bundle-up cold. Oo-ing and Ah-ing and delightful sparkly lights. Huge bonfires in the back ‘garden’ (not yard) with ‘jacket’ potatoes (not baked potatoes) and chili and mulled wine. Followed up by more cuddly sleepovers in Mama’s room.

Hurried breakfast and a uniformed Rememberance Day Parade. A friend's husband makes me emotional in his RAF uniform--recalling brothers also off fighting wars. Bridger marches proudly behind the band in his Cub Scout uniform. We are back at the Green. The local Vicar is leading a Rememberance Service. A woman is reading the names of Warlingham boys lost in the two Great Wars. A young girl in a school uniform places a poppy-wreath at the base of the memorial in the center of the Green.

I am full. Warm. Content. Included. Surrounded by love. And thankful beyond measure--in spite of my own homesick longings--for this village life we are leading.