Part of the Cure: While the Trees Grow

To anyone local looking for help having your property planted, check out this program that my aunt used to have our place planted today. By using this program, its success will continue. We are so thankful! 

Today new life was brought to our home. It only took two hours for the flat empty fields to be planted with 2000 tiny, baby trees. Last year, the lovely gal in charge, came to survey the property and sample the soil to determine which trees were best suited for the land. So today, most were Spruce and Black Walnut, with some Oak and Sugar Maple in the mix (Hoorah!)

The crew was wonderful, really involving the kids in the experience, and it gave us some outdoor entertainment for the afternoon.
watchintreesI really admired the planters, for their strength, endurance, and their ability to cope with the elements; I found myself fantasizing about becoming a tree planter myself, just for a minute. I could do this, I found myself thinkingsoniaThat was, until I considered the mosquitoes, saw the sunburns, and heard tales about ‘boot burn’ on the backs of legs. Seriously, these people are worthy…planting Forever changing the landscape of this place leaves me feeling a little bit sentimental. Someday our grandchildren won’t know that there were once flat fields filled with Queen Anne’s Lace. They won’t quite understand the story that I’ll tell them about their aunt being stuck in that apple tree while the bull raged at its base. The blackberries won’t be able to grow in the shade of tall spruce trees, and the small plants that live now will not survive on a forest floor. It’s bitter sweet, but mostly sweet. Someday, there will be tall tall trees here, lining the lane. There will be coloured leaves covering the path to the house in the fall and maple syrup to be made in the spring. There will privacy and freedom and shade from the hot summer sun. There will be clean air and soil that doesn’t erode quickly and easily. There will be wildlife available to whomever lives in this wonderful house, and those critters will live right outside the doors in those trees right there. It may be the only patch of trees in sight by that time.tinyspruce2

We live in a time and place where trees have little value. They are merely an obstacle in the way of gold, the kind that grows from a genetically altered seed. Bunches of trees are plucked by a giant, ruthless claw and placed in large piles, bigger than houses, and saved for the day and time that it seems fit to burn. Generally there is a year between the piles being built and the actually burning, so by that time, there is plenty of wildlife occupying those tree stacks. They’ll find a new home people always say. You know what? A bird doesn’t just find a new home. A bird dies. That’s it.

firsttreeWhen the land behind us was cleared, the trees ripped by their roots and stacked stories high, we heard the change. The birds shrieked for days. The wind blew differently, more intense, and that porcupine that we saw crawling in and out of the mounds?He didn’t make it. Papa Bear found him, in a heap. It’s happening all around us. Today, as the trees were being planted, we could hear our neighbours, up to some tree dismantling of their own. I’ve been a part of many problems. I don’t always made the right choices. Sometimes, I don’t recycle.  I always create unearthly waste. I take extra trips to the store, I burn fossil fuels, and I like to use spray paint. But sometimes, sometimes it’s nice to not be part of the problem; it’s nice to be a part of the cure. I can only hope our kids caught that lesson.

xo

HayMama

 

 

 

Musical Monday

Music is a pretty important part of our lives here; it’s what brings us together before bed while we sing along to Papa Bear’s guitar playing. It’s how we clean the house. It’s how we measure time (let’s clean your room in just one song okay?). It’s how we handle car rides (6 songs, one news break and a commercial block to dance class). We have songs that mark milestones in our past, and some we’ve tucked away for future events. It’s what makes us smile on the inside.

A sample from our in-car playlist these days:

 

Own every second!

 

xo HayMama

The Cost of More

Every now and again, a mama’s gotta leave her nest for just a moment in time to experience the world out there. I like my nest, I like my groove, but sometimes I catch myself remembering a time when I was able to be a little more spontaneous. Although last night’s adventure didn’t require any spontaneity, it did call for my adventurous spirit. Big Brother Enee was gifted some concert tickets for Christmas and the time had come to cash em in, so as soon as Papa Bear made it home from work, we grabbed our things, well actually we all ran around the house looking for the van keys, grabbed the tickets, thanks to Big Brother’s reminder, and off we went. Together, Enee and I crossed empty fields (in a car on the highway) we fought through throngs of savage beasts (crazy concert goers) and we even made it through the big test (metal detector and purse check) before we climbed the mountain (of stairs) and were handed our even better tickets than we had purchased(yay!). So back down we went in search for our seats; we only guessed wrong once, but it earned us an escort in the right direction. It may be a small feat for some, but for this mama, it was a change from tending the garden and dressing children for bedtime. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lived in many cities, I’ve walked through many crowds, but ultimately, I’ve decided that life wasn’t for me. This time though, I was surprised; heading back awakened something in me. Sometimes my youth has a way of taunting me with her memories, making me reevaluate where I am. Making me ask myself if there should be…more.DSCN9708

The show was incredible, much more than I had expected it to be. Basically, One Republic nailed it. An evening spent watching someone work their craft, wrap an entire audience around their finger, leave it all on stage, is inspirational. I can relate, being a performer, myself, it ignited something in me that I’ve suppressed for long enough to almost forget it existed.DSCN9707

I love my life. So I feel trepidatious about changing its elements. It can be easy to think there is something wrong me, that I must be strange for loving everything the way it is, how it’s evolving. There was a time when I felt saturated by the ‘be better, achieve more, work towards bigger goals and keep going!’ (insert cheer pom poms) message when all I wanted to do was learn to slow down, see the world through my own eyes and the eyes of my children, and be happy, despite the negative feedback. I have found that place of contentment, and I’ve been living here for close to eight years now. Part of what equates this happiness is that I just like what I have. There are not a great many things that I want for. Sometimes I think it would be nice to own our home, be able to travel, worry less about money, but all of these things come with a price. Owning a home is rare, since most people actually just own a mortgage, and of course, there will still be repairs and other things that spell financial burden, not to mention the trend of selling to buy bigger and so on. It would be nice to travel more, but I do consider our earthly footprint. Hopping on a jet plane does seem to contradict that entirely, not that I’m completely against it, but I do tend to spot hypocrisy (mostly my own) rather easily. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Finally, if we had more money, we’d just spend more; we’d owe more, and I can imagine that our lifestyle wouldn’t be as together and as simple as it is now. We would look outwards more often, making purchases to fill the hole that our once togetherness had filled. There is a happy balance somewhere between all of this, and I know it must differ for every family.DSCN9710

But what I’m getting to in all this babble is this : where do the wants stop? At what point will the rock star decide that he’s reached his goal? And what is the cost of the time he has missed at home? At what point does the business woman believe that her work is done, and she can enjoy what is in front of her? At what point am I supposed to want something more, and how will I know when I’ve had enough of it? Change is inevitable; evolution is essential, but constantly upgrading seems empty. Maybe ‘more’ is just that something that we are looking at from the shoreline, it, bobbing along, a speck with a shiny sail, far off in the distant waters. No matter how quickly we swim towards it, it is always just as far away as it was while we stood on that beautiful beach. Yes, it was beautiful; we just couldn’t see it since we were too busy searching for more. Keep growing; don’t be stagnant, we’ll tell ourselves. Or we might just look around and feel content with where we are…

You want to know a secret? 
DSCN9709

That beach? That place of contentment? It’s where the real growth happens–within ourselves.

 

 

 

HayMama

(caught the show through my own eyes, not my camera lens this time, so the flowers will have to cut it. This was our garden last fall)

Musical Monday

Music is a pretty important part of our lives here; it’s what brings us together before bed while we sing along to Papa Bear’s guitar playing. It’s how we clean the house. It’s how we measure time (let’s clean your room in just one song okay?). It’s how we handle car rides (6 songs, one news break and a commercial block to dance class). We have songs that mark milestones in our past, and some we’ve tucked away for future events. It’s what makes us smile on the inside.

 

Simplicity and Lessons

As I sat by the sliding patio door tonight, I looked out over our corner of the earth. I watched as Lil E ran across the grass towards his big sister, bouncing gleefully on the trampoline, with the glow of the setting sun lighting up their golden hair. Watching them in this simple moment, I felt a burst of energy that I needed to tap into, so I set down the basket of laundry I was folding and leapt to my laptop to type out my inspirations while they were so prominent in my mind. The sun, renewing my spirit, the house quiet, the kids happy, I held the tips of my fingers over the keyboard, and just as I set my hands to work, Wee E made a run for it, by run, I mean swift walk in the direction of trouble. Papa Bear’s Shop, his truck, or the chicken coop, we never quite figured out the story, Wildflower and I, and it took some persuasion on both of our parts to lure him back to the house. Actually, what it took was talking Mama into joining him on the trampoline, where we laughed and played for at least thirty minutes. He showed me his ‘back ffflps’ which translates to flips and look something along the lines of three bounces and a backwards jump landing on his knees. He and his big sister took turns showing me their tricks they’ve been working on, and then we lay there together, on our backs, looking up at the geese flying south, yes south, talking about how blue the sky was. We giggled as we bounced together on our backs, feet and arms in the air, all three of us, and then we watched the sun sink in behind the tree line, feeling it’s warmth on our cold bodies. There together, we all said thank you, out loud, as though it could hear us. Thank you Father Sun for this day. Hearing both of the kids repeat this out loud was the moment that I appreciated the most. We took deep belly breaths, and Lil Eagle whispered in my ear “I doed it too mama”. I’m so glad I set the laptop down….

mural

 

I hope you can take the opportunity to revel in a moment of simplicity today.

xo

HayMama

Live laugh Love, Six of one half a dozen of the Other, If you teach a fish to eat, and this that and My One and Only

 

Growing up, I often heard the expression absence makes the heart grow fonder; it’s an over-used expression, probably coined to soothe a broken heart during a period of separation. I can imagine the story ending with two people running towards each other, while crying tears of joy, and then they lived happily ever after. So in a short summary of this short summary, after spending time apart, you’ll love each other bigger, and then you’ll be happy, The End. If this were the case, we should all be loving our partners more than any previous generation. With a minimum of eight hours away from each other each day, plus the time spent in commute, time to get groceries and tend the chores, not to mention the foreign concept of sleep, it only leaves us a few hours to squeak in some quality time with our significant other, you know, while checking our two-by-four screens, and scrolling through other miscellaneous glowing devices, finding out what Billy, who we knew in public school, ate for breakfast. How much time do we actually spend together?DSCN5691

In our home, we are on the pursuit of a simple, together life, but I’ll be the first one to say that we don’t always know how to put this into play. It’s funny how the side of ourselves we show the world, is often the side we’ve really had to work at. The days of caring for three children, whether it be here at home or there at work, are long, and by the time we scoot each of them off to bed at night, there isn’t much time left for Papa Bear and I. Over the long winter, we found ourselves zoned out in front of a movie (since we don’t have cable or Netflix, in order to avoid the situation we managed to find ourselves in anyways), often pinteresting or time-wasting in some other tech-type way. In the beginning, say January, we enjoyed it, and once February hit, we thought we were enjoying it, but then March came, and slapped us in the face Scarlet O’Hara style. We were all grumpy and disconnected, resentful and lonely, and worst of all, we were all “my job is harder than yours”. Which as any couple knows, is just a bad, bad place to hang out.

DSCN5693

So what did we do you ask? The answer, is available in a PG version, so I’ll elaborate. We ran out of “my life is hard because stories” (well…I’m sure I could have come up with more, but I gave up for the sake of my big-girl panties), and we made plans for summer. We also took the chance to sneak away on two back-to-back weekends away from the laundry list of chores at home and spent time together with the kids at Papa Bear’s childhood home. We even snuck away for an evening or two, dressed up, and played the ‘remember when’ game. You know, the one that goes ‘remember when we used to eat burgers and fries in the old Honda sitting in the parking lot instead of inside like normal people, remember when you used to bring me Starbucks in bed when I lived in the city and you used to drive 2 hours each weekend to visit, and do you remember making out in your dad’s reeeaallly small truck. The last one normally has Papa bear following it up with the response “wanna do it again?”. But I digress, and since this is the PG version, the type that his dad might read, I’ll move on. The point of the story, the longer version, is that the ending part isn’t the happy part. It’s the centre, the juicy stuff, the place where things get tricky, we watch too much tv and ignore each other for too long and become too busy fulfilling aspects of ourselves outside of our relationship. We lose sight of why we have taken it all on in the first place, and then, we lose our connection. That’s the case where absence doesn’t always make us fonder of each other. It often just makes us bitter. I desperately don’t want to spend my lifetime living in the vast ocean of bitterness. I really, really, want to live feeling connected. Connected to our earth, to our children, our past, present, and future, and to the person I hope to share it all with. 

connected

There are two pieces of relationship advice that I always come back to. It seems fitting to leave them here, should my mind ever need remembering.

The first came from something I once read and have no recollection what,exactly, I was reading, but the article was about how couples who take time to reconnect on a daily basis are more likely to stay together than those who store up their reconnection time and use it to take a trip together whether it be once a year or four times a year. It’s the little things that count, the coffees sipped in each other’s presence, the sharing of the chores, and the planning for the tomorrows that keep people full of hope and togetherness. The second, I once saw on Oprah (I just wrote that here for all to see, yes, I admit, I was victim of the business named Oprah), when Julia Roberts said ” If you want an interesting relationship, stay in one”. That, I don’t think needs an explanation. That, I couldn’t have said better myself. And to my one and only…thank you

 

xo

HayMama