My search for peaceful landscapes led me to Church’s art, and in particular, this painting of a tree. I wish I could find this sort of bigness and clarity in my home and hang onto it, breathe it in, pour it into my heart.
I’m putting this post in my “Quiet Life” category, but it’s really the opposite of that. I played a game of Sorry with my six and five-year-old this afternoon, and it was anything but quiet. My son does not know how to lose graciously, my daughter kept trying to move her game pieces when it wasn’t her turn (“I’m going to sneak into your safety zone! Look, if I go here I can slide. Wheee!”), and I had to be loud and jolly to push back the rising irritation. I really wanted a Mountain Dew. And a book. And a a room to myself. But, we finished the game, which was actually quite an accomplishment. Usually my son stomps off when he finds himself losing.
I’m left wondering… when will playing a board game with my children be a relaxing rainy-day activity? I have fond memories of playing board games with my Mom after the Sunday noon meal. And when my siblings came home from college we often gathered around the table for rounds of Shanghai, a long card game. On New Year’s Eve my parents would play Rook with the friends they had invited over. Before the kids were born my husband and I played Risk (my favorite board game) with his best friend on Sunday afternoons. I have these idyllic visions of myself pondering a Checker board (really a Chess board, but I’m constantly forgetting how to play chess) with one of my children, while listening to the rain tapping against the windowpanes. Will this ever happen? Or will game-playing be rowdy and stressful for years to come yet? Now I’m wondering if anything about raising kids aged four through six is peaceful. Maybe the moment after they fall asleep at night? That’s about it. Reading books to them can be peaceful as long as they all like the same book, and the one on my lap doesn’t have to go potty. I’ll keep reading to them. Maybe someday we can play my second-favorite game, Scrabble.
I’ve been a little bored with my blog lately. I plan on continuing the short posts about art and literature because it is good for me to keep my nose in those areas of culture. My About page says the third aspect of Revision 3 is looking again at a quiet life. These “talky” posts will be more of that.
I took the kids to Grandma’s house this afternoon and took myself to the Horicon Marsh walking trails. I needed some peace. My oldest child has an argumentative nature. The middle child wants to know the details of every single thing I’m doing. The third child has been having a tough time getting over a bad cold, and she has become clingy. I gain energy from quiet and solitude and lose energy from interacting with people. This walk in the marsh by myself seemed very necessary. I enjoyed the beauty of nature, turning my thoughts toward God’s goodness and being able to trust him. Trust came to mind because halfway down the path I realized I left my cell phone in the car, and the marsh trails are far removed from law enforcement and abductions have occurred on them. God did preserve me. I only met up with one other person, a woman on a walk, like me. And if there had been abductors crouching in the marsh grass, they are now in serious pain from wild parsnip burns. I’ve never seen so much wild parsnip! By the end of my walk, I was hot, sweaty, red in the face, and feeling good. I can’t say I was ready to face the children with a completely unweary attitude, but I do have the memories of that time alone with God and His creation, and I do have that much-needed exercise under my belt, and I might even have the resolve to quit drinking so much Mountain Dew and drink more water instead. We’ll see about that one tomorrow. I’d been using Mountain Dew as an anti-depressant, and it is addicting. Somehow I even got my husband drinking it–he who normally calls it “toilet water.”
The girls are in the bathtub, having way too much fun. I should take off my socks and wade into the bathroom to wash their hair.
I think I will enjoy these new types of posts. I can unwind in words.
An autobiography that leaves out the little things and enumerates only the big ones is no proper picture of the man’s life at all; his life consists of his feelings and his interests, with here and there an incident apparently big or little to hang the feelings on.
— from The Autobiography of Mark Twain
On this quotation, I hang my interest in things Twain–his books, his life, his big moustache and white suit, and probably mostly, his Mississippi River. If you read his autobiography or Life on the Mississippi, I think you will find, hanging amidst humor and anecdotes, his tender spot for beauty and peace on the great Mississippi.