Monday, October 24, 2011

Offerings of Admiration and the Success of Sunflowering

It's somewhat of an inevitability along the journey of parenthood that you'll face moments of frustration, confusion and impatience. But there are also (hopefully more often) the moments where you find yourself a little overwhelmed with the joy that a child can bring to your life. So as we come to the completion of another fortnight of school holidays I proudly sit gleaming in admiration for the little person my baby boy is becoming. 

With the beauty of spring thriving and growing all around us, we began our two weeks off together attending a workshop run by our local council at the library all about propagation and germination. Returning home filled with inspiration and enthusiasm we spent the following few days planting dozens of different varieties of seeds, many of which we had collected ourselves from our own garden the year before.

What required our attention first and foremost however, was the packet of sunflower seeds that had been a present to a little boy last Christmas and was now burning a hole in his hot little hand awaiting their potential 5 meter high sunny faces smiling back at him...

... And then there was the two different varieties of courgette seeds that we'd harvested from our own marrows that had been grown from our very first go at germinating seeds this time last year.
With the gentle care of a little pair of hands and daily observing our numerous pots of soil safely holding within them the delicate little packages of life, before a week had past we we're excitedly watching the brave but fragile little seeds pushing their way through the surface of the dirt. It also finally gave practical purpose to the dozens of miniature terracotta pots I had collected from fairs and second hand stores every where I had spied them over the past few years.

Enjoyable as it is to witness life emerging like this, watching seeds grow is a reasonably gradual process, so the employment of other methods of entertainment was necessary whilst I still had one last looming assignment to complete for the semester. Much to my amazement, the prospect of planting our newly germinated specimens out into the garden spurred on the dedication of a little chap wishing to also play his part in the maintenance of the rest of the garden. So day after day he encouraged me to sit down in front of the monotony of yet another page of my theoretical student life, while he basked in the sun outside - pulling out weeds, digging over bins of compost, turning the soil in our garden beds in preparation of planting and simply nurturing our garden with the pride of participation.

My dedication to the computer screen wasn't nearly as a admirable as his dedication to the earth outside, finding myself gazing out the window, drawn to the sunshine and haze of green in my eyes as I watched him enjoy his efforts. I couldn't help but set aside my task at hand and join him in his...

One afternoon as I watered in his work and he rolled about on the lawn, he informed me that he had found his spot...

I thought it a good choice...
"It's my naughty spot, Dad"
Deciding that his brief moment of misbehaviour earlier that morning should be punished by spending the rest of the afternoon sat upon his naughty spot... "But don't forget to bring me dinner though".
Which was a new and amusing parenting concept - a self disciplining child.
Cheeky bugger..

But sat we did, upon that spot, although it were in admiration of the life we live side-by-side as equals in our joy of growing continuously more whole as people, harmoniously alongside our garden - as opposed to being there for other reasons... but either way it was divine.

The rest of his holidays were spent strumming away with a new enthusiasm to learn to play his guitar; tinkering on our new 1920s upright piano; sneaking sips of my espresso while my back was turned, and asking why this seven-year-old couldn't have his own flat white as he helped me with my daily ritual of making coffee...

I wasn't entirely sure, why couldn't he have his very own little wee flat white? 
So this morning he did.. and enjoyed every bit of it. Interesting little chap..

As much as the novelty of spending everyday like this might eventually wear off... maybe not? I'm not sure who enjoyed the last two weeks more. I've learned to enjoy very much my own company in the daily experiences of living a life full of colour at the pace that we do. But as each day of the last two weeks passed by I could see more and more of the delightful character emerging from this boy as he grows into his very own unique little self, and I am blessed with a vibrant companion full of an equal enthusiasm for life. 
Just like his sunflower seeds, he has emerged from the soil with all the potential of life; to soak up the sun and shine back upon the world from which he has sourced the sustenance of his life. 
Nothing could be more beautiful.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Walking old pathways in a new pair of feet...

So...  So, I went to the other side of the world, as far away as previously I could only imagine. And, and well now I've come back again. Initially upon my return, it all felt oddly different whilst strangely familiar. For a while it all seemed rather new, while at the very same time it was still just the same old recognizable comforts of home, exactly the way I'd left them. I left more weeks ago than I can vividly remember, on a train ride that now resembles only the initial and novel adventurous memories of 12 hours of riding straight up through the central north island of New Zealand, on to Auckland, and then somewhere out into the sky.

I've now been home longer than I was away and all I have left of the actual journey to England itself are a few interesting items I collected along the way, a handful of enthusiastic memories and a collection of photo's that will always remind me of the places I've been to, the people I met and the little friends I made...

the furry ones too..

It was certainly an experience, one that has altered my perspective of this big ole world. But the longer I'm home the less I feel the literal experiences of the trip have impacted on me.

Although at the time, between flights and train rides, the wonderful people I encountered and the magnificent sights that I greatly appreciate my cameras accompaniment to have captured, I really felt that this new and unusual sense of freedom beneath my freshly spread wings was exactly what I wanted to grasp onto tightly and not let go.

Wandering amongst enormous cities full of centuries of history and intrigue was so far away from my normality that I found myself lost in the novelty. But amongst the sea of people who barely notice you're there, in a world so full of busyness, I couldn't help but stop and considered my own significance in the greater scheme of things.

So instead I let myself be carried off by the breeze to where ever it wished to take me... and it was upon hilltops and beyond grassy fields that I found a peacefulness in just appreciating the unknown skylines beyond my sight, and the unfamiliar pathways beneath my feet.

Despite the disorientation of the inevitable returning home, the returning to what I was anticipating would be a concoction of uncertainty and the dreary monotony of real life compared to the vastness and colourful excitement of what I had just experienced... was in fact returning to my little sanctuary on the edge of the world; to my little boy, to whom I mean the world; to a community where each day I find increasing significance in my participation with my very own people, and places, and clouds, and hills, and trees. Maybe I needed to leave this place not to discover how much I love my home and that this land of the long white cloud will forever be that place; but it was to realise where I've buried my roots, where it is I grow best; where I feel an immense belonging.

My world got bigger having left, although it was not in the leaving that it was significant, but in the returning home. Yet not only did my world get bigger, but so too did my hopes and dreams and ambitions to flourish in the fertile soil of my life, to continue to find within myself a significance in the choices I make, within the community I am already part of, in the adventures I have right here at home - as a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a student, a foodie, a gardener, an artist, a musician... to be purposeful simply in who I am as me...

In the life I create daily just by living...
In our house on the edge of our hill.