Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Inbetween Spaces

In order to have fun, you have to be willing to leave the road sometimes. This is a little place that we discovered yesterday right next to an I-95 bridge going over a lake.
Caleb had been begging to go to the ocean, because he was hot, and unfortunately we were not near the ocean, nor could I spare the gas to get us to the ocean. I had a car repair that ate up any spare cash there might have been. Anyway we passed over this lake, and I inspected the shoreline for sand, saw some, and exited the highway. Then we spent the next half an hour trying to find a place to swim. We asked directions from at least two different people. Apparently all the shore is owned by individuals, campgrounds, and hotels. Except for this little place down an abandoned road that led to the old bridge. We climbed down the embankment to this dirty little beach, and Caleb had a ball swimming and jumping from the fallen tree. He found a beat-up old baseball that floated up every time he threw it to his delight. And someone's old undershirt with which he could whip around and fling water. He gathered up little clam shells and rocks. We stayed for over an hour until the sun started setting.

Last days in Alachua

We went tubing down the Ichetucknee River last Friday for my friend's son's birthday party. He was turning 12. It was a gorgeous float down the river. I don't have any pictures, but it was exactly how I picture non-beachy Florida: huge cypress trees rising up from the river dripping with spanish moss. It's a spring fed river, so it was crystal clear (though my friend said it isn't as clear as it used to be.

On Saturday, Caleb and I went to the Ichetucknee head spring.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Golden Rule

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

I've been thinking about this lately. Particularly in relation to the person that I am relating to the most. The thing is I feel like I am justified in freaking out (mildly freaking out) if he sets his cup of water down on the bed and ( me) it spills. Or if he's trying to annoy me or whatever. But if I am practicing the golden rule, I would never react in a negative manner like that to him. Because I would feel bad if someone reacted like that to me--EVEN if I "deserved" it. Just because I screwed up, doesn't mean I want to be yelled at. Even if it's only a mild "yelling."

I was trying to think how I would like to be treated when I do things like Caleb does (because we all act like three year old's sometimes, in our own way). There was recently a post on the Zen Habits blog that began: There’s something so powerfully simple, profoundly beautiful, about the Dalai Lama’s quote: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” And that gave me my answer: I would like to be treated with kindness. No matter how annoying, aggravating, careless or clumsy I am I would like to be treated kindly.

Right now, I have an employer who yells at people a lot, and it's really made me aware of when I am harsh and unkind and sarcastic. It really takes an effort (for me at least) to hold back the automatic scolding or impatience when it comes to my son. I'm pretty laidback, but living in a van seems to bring out the worst in me. I've always had my own room in a big house, with plenty of alone time, and I am working hard to adjust to close, cramped living conditions.

My mantra in the van and on the farm has been to recite the fruits of the spirit to myself.

Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version)22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Something about just saying the words calms me down and helps me remember how much I love my son, and how I can't treat him poorly just because we are familiar.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Farm Life

We left Venice a few weeks ago and headed to north Florida to work at an organic vegetable farm. We pick kale, collards, lettuce, arugala, rutabagas, and dandelion greens. We pull weeds and wash vegetables. And by "we," I mean, me, of course. Three year olds don't work. Well, he works, but he works at playing and talking and asking why about everything.

This woman who works at the farm just has endless patience with his questions. She's wonderful. I try to keep my ears open to learn from her. I always do that with older people. Even if they aren't quite on the trust-children wave length, I still learn a lot--even if it's only what NOT to do. Listening to other people talking to their kids or my kid can gives me perspective on what I might sound like. I hate it when adults are impatient and hurrying to their kids, but I know I am guilty of that at times. But being aware, I try to remember how awful it is to talk to a little one like that.

I've been pulling grass out of rows of squash all day, and I just noticed that I have a blister on my finger. Who knew that you could get a blister from pulling weeds? Caleb likes to run around and dig in the dirt, talk to everybody and the dog, play in the van and tackle me for milk while I'm working. Sometimes he'll pick some kale or pull some weed, and he's recently become quite proficient at cutting dandelion greens, but his attention span for that sort of adult nonsense is rather short.

Signing off, from north Florida,