It was a Wednesday after an unseasonably cold wintry November week. Just 30-seconds off the bus after school and I can already tell my son is "off". My normally steady first-grader is a baggage of emotions -- from teary-eyed to grumpy tyrant. He is distraught to the point of tears that the weather has warmed up just enough to melt most of the snow. He doesn't want to go to violin tonight. He demands to play video games knowing full well they are not allowed after school. He just wants to be grumpy.
With my mother's-eye-crystal-ball I drive back home envisioning all the drama of wills and emotions that will play out once we get inside and collide with the other members of the family. It does not look good for anyone.
I park the car at home and jump out the car. I feel bad for him. I give him a big squeeze hoping he can feel my mother's love all the way through our thick winter gear. "I know what you need!" I say. "Let's go on an adventure!" So we drop our bags in the door, then set off, snow pants swooshing, into the back yard.
But we didn't play in the hilly grass backyard as usual. We went back, way back to the deep steep forested gorge the kids aren't usually allowed to go near.
|Climbed down into the gorge. The greenery in the background|
are the trees in our front yard.
We spent the next 20 or 30 minutes sliding down and climbing up icy muddy banks. I let him lead and take risks. After so many days of deep freeze, it felt wonderful to get out in fresh air and use our bodies in ways that challenged our balance, coordination and muscles.
It is such a healing power that nature has when you allow yourself to be swallowed up by it. I breathed in mother nature's hug as we stood there looking up at the sky full over with bare bone branch trees. I am in awe at how utterly tall the trees are, the tulip poplars and sycamore trees have to be over a hundred years old. It is so nice to set aside personal worries and be tiny and insignificant for a moment. Then at the same time open up to something bigger.
A strange flash of reality hits that sends me texting my husband to please put the dish in the oven at 350 degrees. Blamb, I am back in the year 2014.
|Can you make out our house through the trees?|
I find it odd that I have waited until this very moment to explore our backyard gorge with my son, and introduce to him the immense power it holds. We've lived here for over four years. Perhaps I waiting for him to be strong enough. Perhaps I was waiting for the right moment.
Both of us arrived home red-cheeked and feeling much more centered and peaceful. We had a nice dinner than headed to violin practice as usual, without any more fuss.
On this month that I have personally dedicated to deepen my gratefulness in my daily life and in my teachings, I can't help but to be grateful for little moments like these where I can walk into my backyard and find peace, humility, health and connection. I can't help but to think of all the children living in cities that may never experience the feeling of transcendence while in nature. Or all the children who regularly ignore their backyard in lieu of video games.
Today I am also grateful of the opportunity to be clear-headed enough to see what my son needed when he got home, and am so thankful of our connection and relationship built on love and trust. I know things change and change and change. So I am thankful for this moment. Now.
The Domestic Yogi