Saturday, March 30, 2013
An orchard for a dome
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.
(from poem number 57 by Emily Dickinson)
We hung a suet feeder just outside the kitchen window at the new house. Each morning Maureen and I watch the songbirds--we all eat our breakfast together. The variety of species that visits each morning is impressive: eastern bluebirds, northern cardinals, white-breasted nuthatches, tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees, red-bellied woodpeckers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, American robins, boat-tailed grackles, northern juncos, purple finches, and white-crowned sparrows.
As each takes its turn and flies away, Mo says, "Back!" She hauls my Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds around and pages through the illustrations. The daily bird watching is a quiet sort of routine we share. When I write "quiet" I mean simple. I find myself looking for more ways to cultivate simple, peaceful routines for Mo, for all of us.
About 50 years ago Elise Boulding wrote, "It is possible to drown children and adults in a constant flow of stimuli, forcing them to spend so much energy responding to the outside world that inward life and the creative imagination which flowers from it becomes stunted or atrophied." More apt today than when she wrote it.
I worry that there is too much noise in our lives. And as my mommy-friends encourage me to sign Mo up for this or that, to buy the latest learning gadget, I resist. We go to storytime at the library and meet our friends to play. We color and play with puzzles and read books. We listen to music and dance and sing. We pretend to cook, and we actually cook. We do laundry and put away dishes together. I'm not some kind of luddite saint--we watch tv, too, but try to keep limits on it. All the while I see people racing around us. I try to do it the way my parents and Robb's parents did it. Their model works just fine.