Fall is my favorite time of the year, no doubt about that. And September, the time of transition is so much more special because the fall is nearly there, and getting closer every day. I wake up, look at the clouds and tell myself “almost sweater weather!”. Something to look forward to. September is also time when we are already in sync with each other in terms of school, but the novelty hasn’t worn out yet. And it’s a perfect time to have spontanneous outside lessons. Oh, how I love these days when the world is the classroom!

We intended just a short hike, but kids grabbed vials, zip baggies, pincers and announced they are going to have a science adventure! And so they did.

1

We haven’t been to this park since June probably, and of course so many things changed, flowers are going out, and only remnants of the berries here and there, but the water is still singing its sonf, and the moss is ever so green. A light rain started to fall as we made our way up the trail, pure bliss.

D. collected water from 1)a puddle 2) creek downstream and 3)creek upstream to compare

D. collected water from 1)a puddle 2) creek downstream and 3)creek upstream to compare

wild raspberries

there were hardly any insects around, apart from some hardworking bees

there were hardly any insects around, apart from some hardworking bees

so soothing

so soothing

Autumn made her first steps in the forest

Autumn made her first steps in the forest

september

At home children pulled out their microscope and compared the water they collected. So happy to see tiny grains of sand in the downstream water, cloudy bluish colors of the puddle water and clearness of the upstream water. C. mixed them up afterwards too.

microscope water

Our microscope isn’t powerful enough to see the real action, but we remembered a tiny dapne we saw at the museum earlier this week and wondered if such creatures could be living in the srtream.

dmns expedition health

And finally, our day ended with a lovely sunset

colorado sunset

Haiku

End of August/September is a special time. Time of transition from summer to autumn, time when the cricket outside our window sings with all its might, time when the weather changes five times a day, time of shadows getting longer and sun changing angle, so the golden light lasts well into the morning. Time of the nights getting chillier, time of asking ourselves whether we should get our comforters out or maybe we can get by for another week or two. Time of longing for a season that is to come and time for saying goodbye to summer with its delights. In other words – a haiku time!

We had a good haiku week in Sunflowerous House:

learning about haiku1. We read haiku books:

Hi, Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth, absolute delight– soft and sweet illustrations, quiet thoughtful poems

Hi Koo

Don’t Step on The Sky: A Handful of Haiku by Miriam Chaikin, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata a lovely collection of poems, mostly summer theme so it brought to mind memories that are still fresh

don't step on the sky

Cool Melons–Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa by Matthew Gollub, illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone, a book about great haiku master Issa, his life story and poems

cool melons turn to frogs

The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons by Sid Farrar, illustrated by Ilse Plume, another wonderful collection, with a few poems dedicated to each season

a year comes round

2. Haiku are amazing because they are an embodiment of mindfulness,  each moment so wonderfully concentrated. The task I gave to kids first was to go outside and carefully observe the world around them. They brought back the news of first fallen leaves, of a stray cat sneaking into the grass, of a toy forgotten in the middle of the lawn, that there are fewer bees comparing to a month ago…

D. then sat down and write a couple of haiku of his own

D' s haiku 5th grade

3. We learned about haiga (an artwork based on a haiku) and looked at some beautiful haiga paintings in The Art of Haiku book, there is a video too

art of haiku

(Long but interesting article on haiga can be found here). Then I asked kids to either make a haiku or pick a favorite one from a book and illustrate it. Both made their own:

C's haiga

C’s haiga
“Beautiful and Purple Flower”

D's Bees fly over bush Basking in the sun An early sunset.

D’s
Bees fly over bush
Basking in the sun
An early sunset.

I chose to illustrate a poem by Kodoujin

kodoujin three drops art

We are going to continue reading and writing haiku, it is a wonderful exercise in mindfulness, a great reason to pause and look around, it is one of the most relaxing poetry forms to me

Favorite books in addition to The Art of Haiku mentioned above:

The Classic Tradition of Haiku: An Anthology, this book was a great find, it has most famous haiku, as well as less known, notes on poets and Japanese versions in romaji included.

the classic tradition of haiku

Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years is another book I love to read by myself and aloud

haiku in english

When I think about visual equivalent of haiku– how a mundane moment becomes a beautiful art, Makoto Shinkai’s work comes to mind immediately, so when I am in my “haiku mood” I love to rewatch

5 centimeters per second

and

The Garden of Words

Final summer postcards

We start our school at home on Monday. Summer is still here, but a little bit of autumn too. It was a good summer, full of relaxation and replenishing of energy, we had lovely trips and spend time as a family. Like I have written previously, we consciously chose to spend more time alone with each other. Even on our trip we decided not to meet old friends. Since my husband was so busy this summer, every minute of togetherness became more precious.

There were some struggles too, and challenges this summer, but hopefully we learned more about each other and ourselves, and hopefully they empowered us.

Our August memories:

Golden Hours with the sun against thundery skies

Golden Hours with the sun against stormy skies

that very special birthday trip (a first double digit birthday for D. and a palindrome birthday for me)

that very special birthday trip (a first double digit birthday for D. and a palindrome birthday for me)

the healing power of waves

the healing power of waves, I can still hear the roar in my ears

amazing colors

amazing colors all around us

many hills were climbed

many hills were climbed

And at last, when we arrived home, we found out that the tree in front of our house started to change color, and that even though it was in the 80s during the day, the evening wind got colder…

fall is almost here

The fall is indeed creeping in. One more day to plan, to lay things out, to prepare for another year of learning together.

Now is good

It’s August tomorrow. My dashboard is preparing for school, countdowns are up, supply lists, clothes and lunches are being discussed it great detail. People are getting ready. We are not there yet.  I am grateful for freedom of homeschooling – we can go back in a month as opposed to in two and a half weeks when our school district starts again.

We will continue to enjoy our little moments of gold. It was so simple to allow ourselves to rest well this summer. We enjoyed meeting friends, but also were alone a lot. We learned how precious it is to have alone time. I hope people that didn’t get to see us this summer will understand. We had so many “lucky moments”- pelicans, frogs, going hiking, reading under the tree, listening to the rain and watching clouds.

sparkles on the water under the sun

sparkles on the water under the sun

noticing pretty colors

noticing pretty colors

making little bouquets on a hiking trip

making little bouquets on a hiking trip

little legs long enough to kick my elbows, but the toes are still tiny

little legs long enough to kick my elbows, but the toes are still tiny

We grew up so much this summer.  Kids got more independent, they got taller too. I learned to allow things to myself (this poem helped a lot), the man of the house started a new journey in his career. Two books that fell into my hands  talked about the importance of genuine living and basking in the light of present moment. While the concept isn’t new, never before have I felt it to be so imperative to our family’s well being. Maybe it is also because I can physically feel kids growing up so fast and I am not ready to let go. Maybe because the whirlwind wore me out. I want gold moments to last: C. waking me up with kisses, D. sharing his thoughts on Harry Potter, clouds raising when we go up the hill, the cuddles, the warm moments of togetherness. The peace. That is my biggest wish– to be peaceful in my heart. If I learn how to be peaceful, then when the schedules and obligations and necessary activities and chores will start again, I won’t be tired out of my mind, and I won’t feel like my world is spinning and I can barely keep up…Now is good.

Thursday Delights

Life continues to be slow with occasional bursts of activity here in Sunflowerous House. Children are getting a bit impatient to start school again, I am enjoying the fact that I haven’t had to set up an alarm clock for two months now.

Things that made my heart glad lately:

a sudden rainbow on out ceiling

a sudden rainbow on our ceiling

My girl's dancing shadow and she gallops up the path

My girl’s dancing shadow as she gallops up the path

A fragile  beauty of dragonfly's wings (alas this one was already dead)

A fragile beauty of dragonfly’s wings (alas, this one was already dead)

Taller than me and proud, and so brillian against the sky's blue

Taller than me and proud, and so brilliant against the sky’s blue

Just a few weeks of summer left. And then the fall will come. I want to hold on to this feeling of being calm and rested. I want to slice our time into larger and neater chunks. Just a few more weeks…

Goodbye June and savoring July

This is going to be a lazy post. I haven’t updated in two weeks and I can’t bring myself to do a full list of things we did and places we went. We had a great time with friends, we were on our own a little, we got sick and are recovering…we are trying to have  a slow summer, but at the same time trying not to be bored out of our minds. I am staying away from devices as much as I can (the record is July 1st when I haven’t opened my laptop until 8 pm), trying to read a lot and only for fun, to craft. I am drawing and painting daily, the little things, but doing it brings so much joy. Kids are being creative without any prompts…A few shots from the past two weeks, our golden moments:

catching that morning ray of sun

catching that morning ray of sun

catching a glimpse of a duck with ducklings

catching a glimpse of a duck with ducklings

our first results of drying flowers

our first results of drying flowers

staying up to look at the moon

staying up to look at the crazy full  moon

Overall life is good. I am trying to find a new balance in our lives, and hoping to bring it into our schoolyear too. I am trying to re-learn how to be a calm mom, and stop being someone ruled by schedules and necessity to be somewhere else.