The air has changed. The fields have been hayed for the second and final time, and the skies are donning their autumnal garb- that lovely shade of slate blue which seems to coincide with the meadow’s own change in costume from delicate cornflower blue and Queen Anne’s Lace white, to royal gold and purple- goldenrod and aster splendor. The cycle of the year lurched forward, suddenly- perhaps when I wasn’t looking- and the aging year has progressed from maiden to mother, now filled with the glory of her fruitfulness.
Perhaps you can’t tell from this picture, but this is an elevated place high atop the hill we live on. I come here and feel like I am on top of the world. The clouds hang so low here, and the trees seem to just graze them. I never see another human soul, just the cows.
This is the way to our family hunting grounds, several miles beyond our house. I was able to slip away to the woods alone for a change, planning our first day of school kick-off. There will be a hunt for a magic key, a new story to guide us through the year, new adventures to be had in the children’s brand new rain boots sitting by the front door. The schoolroom is tidied up and ready, and after saving up for a long time I was able to purchase those cozy rugs I envisioned for our school space, to keep the children warm when the wood floors are cold with autumn and winter chill. A wool rug for under our story tree, and cozy lambskin for under the playstand. My daughter approves!
The last day of summer vacation found me in the kitchen, preparing my favorite non-perishable food… dilly beans! If you’ve never had homemade canned dilly beans, I’m not quite sure you’ve really lived. Well, at least maybe your tastebuds haven’t! So for me, tastebud life began when Mama Erin presented me with my first jar shortly after I settled in to my new country life after being a small city girl. I eyed them suspiciously- how good could a canned green bean be? Previously I had only had the storebought variety, with its drab grayish green and non-crispy texture. When I finally decided to try them, OH-MY-GOODNESS! Dilly beans are pickled, and inside each incredible jar are two flower heads of dill, a clove of garlic, and a 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper…
And if that weren’t enough to create an epiphany in your mouth, they are canned in a salty half vinegar, half water brine. A bit of sour, a bit of hot, a bit of pungent.
Getting these beans canned felt good (although my son was super disappointed after a day of believing mommy was making jelly beans for dinner)! I am looking forward to resuming our school year rhythm and having that sense of accomplishing things. These last few weeks have been muddled through, not much flourishing, lots of laying on my couch in the throes of morning sickness thinking of all the things I *ought* to do and excusing myself from actually doing them because, well, it’s summer vacation and I’m suffering with mucho nausea. Part of me is thankful for the coming full days which will force me to engage my will and do, part of me is nervous. My first two pregnancies were happy and easy; these last two have been especially difficult emotionally. I don’t feel like my normal sanguine self; a cloud seems to hang over me, I have nightmares almost every night, and I battle lethargy and melancholy. For my own sake and the sake of my family, it really requires a lot of energy to work through that. It is especially frustrating to feel this way because there is no reason, other than the crazy chemical bath of hormones flooding me, to feel depressed. I am pretty happy with my life, blessed in so many ways, and usually so positive and inspired. Yes, I have struggles and difficult life lessons like everyone- but these usually don’t get me down for long. I signed up for Melisa Nielsen’s Thinking, Feeling, Willing program a while ago, knowing that this year I would really need some extra support and the program comes with free consulting for a year. She suggested that I try an audible.com account and listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer. This has been great, and I’m excited to finish Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits– seven hours of Dr. Dyer’s book in audio form. I can’t wait to listen to a little Clarissa Pinkola Estes after that, with her archetypal stories addressing the inner life of women- think “Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour, Mom Edition!” I know my mother and aunts are all praying for me, and my mother-in law too- which certainly helps. My husband is on my case not to forget my prenatals and fish oil- I think being back in our school rhythm will help me be more consistent. Any tips for coping with difficult first trimesters?