I think the favorite part of my day was splitting wood with Henry and Iris in the workshop today. Last week the kids and I were all sick and now today Johnny has been stuck on the couch all day with a fever, aches, and sore throat. I should probably be grateful he didn’t have to miss work, but the weekends are so precious for us! For me- another adult around here to help out! A chance to TRY and catch up. And lately, it feels like we’re slogging through muck and mire trying to accomplish anything. We’re just at a point where it feels like there is never enough time. And we’re not busy people! Not as in busy out going and doing things, we just have so much to keep up with here.
Anyway, even though I loved the fresh air, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself after cleaning out the pigs area, feeding the animals, and cleaning out the poopy chicken coop by myself. I walked in to find poor Johnny still, pretty lifeless, on the couch and realized it was getting chilly in the house and we needed wood split. So I asked Hank if he wanted to get his hatchet and help. He, of course, answered with an excited and serious, ‘Of course.’ And straight for the door he beelined, with his head down and plans turning. So I hulled some from the back of the truck, into the workshop, and started giving it my best. The axe just bounced back up from the Ash log like a solid, heavy rock hitting a piece of rubber. And after each wack, the beast fell off the splitting log. Just rolled away like it was playing hard to get. I lumbered over with malice, as if this sweet, old piece of beautiful wood was in active war with me. Then, I hear Iris come through the door and Hank stops ‘working’ to stand with her and watch. They give a few ‘Ah!’s and ‘OOOOoh!’s when I try….then after a few Hank said, ‘I bet if you keep doing it, your’re going to get it. I bet- you just keep doing it.’ Those words, that little boy…..those wise and simple and true words just melted and freed me.
It was a good twenty minutes to get a large arm full of wood, but we did it. And he just kept going on about his sentiment while I heaved and hoed. ‘I bet, if you just keep going, you’re going to get it. You’ll put a line down the side. It will start to split and you’ll finish it.’ Iris kept tightening herself in anticipation, and then jumping and squealing with excitement when I succeeded. What a crew, those two. I really needed those words. ‘If you just keep trying……’ Having a bunch of little kids, running a small farm, running a women’s group, taking the Master Garnder’s course, starting up the Nature School that we have dreamed about for so long, promoting our events, making the website, photographing what’s going on, sharing, teaching art classes, working on the house, grocery shopping for six people, doctors appointments, insurance phone calls, well…you get the point. We all have a lot going on and sometimes it can feel so lonely out here. As I’m sure it can anywhere you call ‘here’. Pursuing dreams that I am passionate about, sharing, always learning, working all. the. time. I love it. But in the thick of it, in the muck and mire, it can be so hard to see all the good that all of us are doing. No matter how much you have going on, you matter. Your existence makes this world a different place and no one else can replace that energy. How cool is that!? Anyway, if you don’t have two adorable, tiny humans cheering you on when you feel alone or stuck in the thick of it, I’m reminding you now, ‘If you just keep trying, I bet you’re going to get it.’ I’ll say it again….kids can teach us so much if we just listen, huh? I know I sure needed it, thought I might pass it along.
I also wanted to share what an absolute joy teaching at Heartland Artists Gallery on Saturday was for both Johnny and I. It couldn’t have gone any better! The story, Willy the Worried Worm, is just beautiful. So deep and wise, yet so easy to take in. The kids sat quietly, with great interest, through the whole reading. Johnny and I always read it together and give the characters funny, different voices. I think they got a kick out of that. And I know the little boy loved having a man there. He went straight to Johnny and started chatting with him right away, like they were buddies, about what he had for breakfast. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach here for many reasons, but I am also so very happy to give Johnny a chance to shine with the kids. It means a lot to me that the kids get to experience a woman AND a man who can teach them, with patience and respect. I think it’s so important for boys and girls to see men who can be gentle and kind.
To go along with the Worm Moon, we ate dirt pudding and taught the kids how to needle felt their very own worm from the story. At one point early on in the project, a child pricked her finger with the needle on accident, put her head down, and began to cry. Saying it was too hard and she could never do it. I was so glad she was talking to us all about her feelings! It was a perfect opportunity acknowledge her feelings and to reference the book and all the struggles Willy went through. Johnny talked with her, across the table, all about the first time he tried needle felting and how hard it was for him. All of this was done openly, with everyone as part of the conversation, and it really was a beautiful thing to see her work through this. She was wiping her tears away, smiling, and proud of herself in no time. What an amazing thing for all the kids to see what open communication of feelings can look like in a positive light and how good it can feel to support one another and choose compassion, over competition.
I have to admit, I was wondering before….are these kids going to like making a worm? Will they think it’s lame? My kids love worms, but is anybody going to sign up to have their kids make a slimy worm? My fears were so far from reality, I was so relieved! At one point, when I was showing an example of how you can needle felt more or less depending on how you want the texture-like tight and course, or loose and fuzzy-one girl piped up right away, ‘I want mine fuzzy because I’m going to sleep with my worm.’ Then, couple others said they planned to as well. Oh, I think I teared up a bit right then and there! Gosh, how lucky am I?
I’ll leave you all with my favorite excerpt from the story. I think I needed a good reminder of this.
“Don’t linger on things that make you sad, all that will do is make you feel bad. It isn’t silly, nor is it sappy, to dwell on things that make you happy. For whatever you give your attention to, is likely to be what flows to you.”Willy the Worried Worm by Jacquelyn Osborn