Welcoming Autumn


It’s still hot where we live, even though autumn has arrived. Today is cooler; tomorrow it will be 96 degrees for our Michaelmas festival at school. But there are little signs that the season is turning, and frankly it’s a relief.


We had a low-key celebration for the equinox last night at home. We ate outside, in the cooling twilight. We had pizza topped in halves, salad, and a bit of apple pie. I let the grocery store prepare most of the meal. Sometimes, the best thing one can do is to take the available shortcuts that make life easier. It is often helpful and occasionally necessary. No guilt. We all have a lot on our plates.

Happy Equinox to all! Mosaic by Ian Wilson

(mosaic by Ian)

So, here we are. Poised on the edge. A season passes, another season begins. New opportunities arise and they bring new challenges and new gifts. We walk toward the light, knowing the darkness lies in the corners; we walk toward the dark, carrying with us the light of our hearts.

“what is joy without sorrow? what is success without failure? what is a win without a loss? what is health without illness? you have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. there is always going to be suffering. it’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.” —Mark Twain

These are just some of my sophomoric thoughts at this moment of turning. I strive to open my heart through it all.

Treasure: Earth Mother

I’ve discovered I like sharing our delicious children’s books, so here is another one I treasure.

Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson

Earth Mother by Ellen Jackson is the gentle story of the goddess going through her daily routine of tending to the earth and the earth’s creatures.

"She fanned sacred smoke in each of the four directions."

With dignity and great reverence, she nurtures even those things that seem insignificant, giving the beetles shiny jackets and sharpening the thorn bushes. She brings the rain and cradles the otter in a tangle of seaweed, rocking him on the waves.

"Bending low, she placed a piece of summer in a flower's seed."

“Bending low, she placed a piece of summer in a flower’s seed.”

"She spangled a tree with fireflies."

“She spangled a tree with fireflies. She spread spiderweb lace on the grass.”

I love the illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon, award-winning (Hugo Award and Caldecott Medal among others) illustrators who have been married for five decades and collaborating and making art together all that time. In this story, Earth Mother is radiant on every page; the patterns in her clothing change with every scene, sometimes they are geometric, other times feature frogs or mosquitoes or men. Flowers break out of the square frames on every page. But the real test of any picture-book illustration is whether it supports the author’s story and theme. The Dillons accomplish this brilliantly, in my opinion.

Along her way, Earth Mother meets a man, a frog, and a mosquito. Each of them complains bitterly about one of the other two, and gives thanks for the abundance of the third. Each would like her to rebalance their proportions.

“Thank you, Earth Mother,” said Frog. “Mosquito and her sisters fill my belly and give me life. But why have you sent Man to catch and eat me? Man is bad, bad, bad. Sweet, delicious Mosquito, on the other hand, makes me happy. If there were more mosquitoes and no men, this world would be perfect.”

The interconnectedness and interdependence of the three creatures is beautifully explored. All the while, Earth Mother maintains her calm serenity, simply sighing because they do not see how perfect the earth already is.

Summer, Month Three

It is now the end of Week 12 of summer vacation. Week 12. Twelve. Did you hear me? TWELVE.

One more week (and a long weekend) to go.

I think, all in all, I’m in better shape than I was this time last year. This time last year I was ready to throw myself under a bus. Seriously. It wasn’t pretty.

During this circle around the sun, we have had a good summer, a busy summer, and one with more balance. Together we have had

·         evening walks

·         feasts of summer fruits

·         barbecues

·         creek play

·         rambling in the woods

·         swimming in lakes, rivers, and backyard pools

·         a trip to San Francisco and Oakland

·         a zoo visit

·         museum visits

·         glorious day-long brunches with friends at home

I’ve had plenty work to keep me occupied; it keeps my brain from turning to mush and eases my career worries.

Lucas and Asher have been occupied more this summer, too. I adore my children and think they are brilliant and fascinating (see this blog for evidence), but I know that we all benefit from having experiences away from one another. I don’t claim to have achieved balance in parenting/work, but it is definitely a major goal. Something I continue to strive for.

Asher has made friends and looks forward to playing with his kids now at Ring-A-Rosies preschool. He has even made it through a handful of full days, when I didn’t pick him up until 4 p.m. due to serious deadlines, and he napped pretty well on a little mat like the other kids.

Lucas has had a bunch of wonderful experiences with summer day camps and other activities (like pottery and soccer). Some weren’t so great (mainly the Fair Oaks Recreation and Park District day camp due to the “Thriller” incident) and we probably won’t be trying those again. But others were awesome. He is hoping to do more of the Science Adventures camps and Aquatics camps next year. The Effie Yeaw nature camps, though only a half-day, are lots of fun and Lucas feels really comfortable there. Plus he gets to hike the trails in the American River Parkway. He has done some amazing art projects that I wouldn’t have even considered doing with him because they are outside my experience. I wish that the less expensive camps had worked out to be winners; naturally it was the more expensive camps that Lucas really took to.

Lucas holding Luke Bugwalker Closeup of Luke Bugwalker.


Next week, there is no day care. I’ll have to beg, borrow, and steal moments in which to work, when others can run herd on my little darlings. Grandma? Grandma?

I just can’t help but feel, now that kids all over town are back in school, that perhaps 13 weeks off during the summer might be a little excessive. It is very intense living with a choleric 7-year-old and a 2-and-a-half-year-old toddler!

Especially if one is just the tiniest, wee bit choleric, oneself.

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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