athelas

“…For it has no virtue that we know of, save perhaps to sweeten a fouled air, or to drive away some passing heaviness.”

memory quilt

Filed under: Journal — January 12, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

We’ve had snow in the past couple of days, which meant Sean out there on the driveway with our big unwieldy snow-blower.   He will probably have to go out there again today.

I haven’t seen our squirrels in person recently, but I continue to put out seeds and rodent block, and when I return I see empty shells, and many delicate little footprints on the railing and below.

I poured some old lentils off the deck in late fall, and recently some deer were pawing at the snow and browsing with their noses, so apparently deer are OK with dried lentils.

Yesterday was Kieron’s birthday.  His birthday is distinctive because it is his Grandpa’s birthday and Great-Grandma’s birthday as well.   Three times in four generations, that’s an interesting statistical anomaly.   But January birthdays are over-represented in our family — there are three in our family alone, not counting Paddy, who was due on Christmas but was induced early, so he could have been a January birthday as well, though more likely not considering all but two of them were born earlier than their due date.

Last week, not much got done in the homeschooling department.  However, I still count it as a decent week because we moved back towards our normal track and there was no huge shock of transition.  By next Monday I think we can be up to normal speed IF I do my homework and get things prepared. As is traditional, Kieron got to take his birthday off.

I still am spending my leisure time (plus a bit) working on my interactive notebooking.   I think I have been operating under a creative deficit for a while and now it is catch-up time.    I am struggling not to let something which is basically a hobby take up too much of my focus; however, I can already see how having a visual/tactile hobby is making a difference in my life.    Not to mention that Aidan is having Happy Times as a result.  He wants to start his third notebook now, this one to do with phonics from Starfall.    Kieron fixed Clare’s old laptop, which Aidan has inherited, so that it works with the printer, and Aidan has been printing out phonics work-pages and filling them out.  This weekend I’m going to work with him to see how he wants to arrange them.    The thing is, for someone like Aidan, notebooking or scrapbooking can be a lifetime pursuit.  Well, indeed, I suppose, for anyone, but I think what I am trying to say is that when I visualize Aidan growing to adulthood, I want him to have enjoyable and creative ways to spend his leisure time, and if he can keep learning things into the bargain then that is a total bonus.

Kevin is coming back in the next day or two.   The original plan was that we drive up to get him, but there was too much to get caught up here to go this week, and in some ways I am glad not to have to travel, because January is my hibernation season.

I keep thinking about how last January, I was up in Alaska.    A friend of my mom’s from her church up there made a memory quilt out of some of my mom’s clothes.  It arrived last week and when I touch it I get one of those complete 5D sensory  flashbacks that’s almost more like time travel than a memory.    It’s a good thing, but almost too painful to endure.  It feels like getting a significant electric shock — the jolt makes my heart stop each time.   All in all, grief really doesn’t go away at all; in fact, because I displaced so much of it at the time, coping with the immediate needs of the moment, it is actually building in some ways rather than diminishing.  But part of grief is past joy; sorrow is the sense of the loss of a good.   So while it would be stupid to keep giving myself electrical shocks, I keep touching the quilt because the explosion gives me something back of my mom for just a second, even though it also renews the pain of loss.

Kieron and I were talking in the car about how some of the saddest things are partly happy in this way –  I think I remember Chesterton talking about Dickens, and comparing two death-bed scenes.   One way over the top –perhaps the death of Little Dorrit? and one genuinely moving and understated — maybe Peggotty’s reaction to David Copperfield’s mother’s death?   I think when you concentrate on the pathos, you are likely to go wrong, but when you concentrate on the good, on the relationship, and the bereaved ones’ remembrance of the good now lost, you don’t have to pull out all the water-works.     Even books that end happily are sort of sad, if they were really good books, because they are at an end.   My point is that sorrow isn’t so much an entity in itself as a realization of loss, privation.   So sorrow is keenest when the sense of the goodness of the original thing is keenest, not when you are thinking about sorrow and loss per se.   And it is similar with joy.

Aidan wakes up laughing every day — or literally, chortling with delight.     I can hear him chuckling happily as he loads up the microwave with whatever he is having for breakfast.     Everyone else is still asleep.

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