Love Is …

Fragments of my heart

Love is …
• A friend who hauls your Country Mouse ass downtown and back every day with a smile and unflappable traffic savvy.
• A takeout sushi dinner to celebrate ch-ch-cha-cha-changes on the evening of the first day of a new job.
• Clever people who correct broken AC units (both at work and at home) and stop the sweltering; thanks for taking care of that, Ian.
• A teen who willingly goes on evening walks with his mama: “We can catch Pokémon, Mom!”
• BBQ at Papa and Grandma’s house, with swimming and all the foods.
• Chicago Fire Pizza.
• Getting to be a tourist in your home town.
• Lunchtime exercise walking at the Capitol, along with all the state workers, lawyers, and tourists.
• Hoping my feet don’t smell after my lunchtime walks.
• Finishing the third Pippi Longstocking book with Asher, who is sad there aren’t more Pippi books to enjoy.
• Discovering a neat little gizmo from the library called a Playaway, a single-audio-book device on a lanyard that runs on a AAA battery—perfect for little people who don’t have iPods or tablets to carry around everywhere.
• Getting a text that says, “When will you be home; I’ll have dinner ready.”
• My Village of helpers—Angels!—who cheerfully cart my boys hither and thither and care for them after their daily activities or even when no camp activity is available; they are amazing and wonderful.

California Capitol. Half mast. #summer #nicefrance  #thoughtsandprayersarentenough #loveinthesuburbs #lovewins #enoughisenough #wearenotafraid

Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building,  1928

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.

Autumn Signs

We live in California, so the first day of Autumn (just three days away now) only rarely looks classically Autumnal. Other states’ expatriates who come to live here sometimes complain that we Californians don’t get four seasons; we get only two, winter and summer. But those of us who’ve lived here a long time, even in the Central Valley, can spot the signs of the turning wheel.

Fringeflower Leaves Turning

Smaller Orange Pumpkin

On the Neighbor's Lawn

Mornings are cool now; my kids head out the door to school wearing sweatshirts, but not for long. Days are warm and blissfully, perfectly temperate—no longer do you walk outside at 4 p.m. and feel the uneasy sensation that the heat is cooking your brain within your skull.

First Week of School

It has been a kind of surreal week, trying to get back into our normal lives and starting school after Burning Man. We’re kind of discombobulated. We’re not used to the alarm clock or waking in the dark. We don’t know where important stuff is. The mountains of both clean and dirty laundry are huge and taking over our living room, despite the washing, folding, and putting away I’ve been doing. We need groceries. The kids need haircuts and we forgot to take the fingernail polish off them. I guess that’s what the weekend is for.

I’ve been feeling lots of various feelings this week, too: happy to be home, lazy and sleepy, creative and happy, grateful for my work but not wanting to do it. During the day I’m missing my loves and yet glad to be alone. I’ve not quite settled back into real life again; my consciousness is kind of floating on the dusty breezes still, drifting through vast azure skies.

First Day of School 9-7-2010

Lucas is very happy to be back at school. I find this quite remarkable, as he didn’t exactly have a sit-around-and-do-nothing summer vacation. He was basically booked solid with fun camps, activities, and play dates almost the entire time. I guess that final week and a half without his friends was tough. So he’s been joyfully bouncing out of the house in the morning (and getting dressed without prodding or argument). When I picked him up from school yesterday afternoon, he looked bushed. “Four classes now, Mom.” That’s because he’s hit the big time: In third grade he now has full days and doesn’t get out until 3:30.

Big Happy Grin

This week hasn’t been quite so easy for Asher, however. He’s adjusting to a new school, new teacher, and new schedule. After something like ten days with all of his family around him, he’s missing us at school. He’s been asking each morning if it’s a family day today. (“Tomorrow, dear one. Two family days in a row.”) We had a few difficult morning drop-offs, during which he was brave but oh so sad to see me go. In another week it will be different, I think. He’ll settle in soon. We are very pleased that his three buddies from his last school all landed at this one. So although there are new children to adjust to, there are old friends as well.


Asher’s school has a waterfall and small raised pond (fenced per state law), a rabbit hutch with two bunnies, chickens, a playhouse, a stage, a sandbox, an outdoor snack area, garden beds and fruit trees, swings, and stepping stones through the lawn. Indoors is a lovely, sunny playroom full of pretty Waldorf toys. There are two big cats (Matches and Barley) and one tiny dog named Poppers. This morning’s good-bye went better. I think it’s going to work out fine.

Turning of the Wheel

Late summer. Hot days, breezy nights—if we’re lucky. Even as we’re celebrating the fruits of the harvest—our glorious, ripe tomatoes, those massive zucchini squashes—we see signs of withering, of longer nights, of exhausted energy. Everything in my garden looks a little parched, a little fried, a little worn out. I don’t know about you, but for me this season is always one of change and a paradox of celebration and mourning.  It’s easy to see signs of wear and tear, of life well lived.

Canna Stripes

Striped canna leaves are looking a trifle scorched, even though this plant is largely in the shade and it has been a mild summer.

Tired Day Lilies

My day lilies have bloomed their hearts out for three solid months. Now they’re anemic. Their last, valiant effort is to produce seed pods.

Tired Hydrangea

The hydrangeas are papery and drying. They make lovely dried flowers, but I usually cannot bear to cut them.

Canna Seed Pods

My coral-colored cannas are doing a fine job of producing seed pods …

Canna Seeds

… from which these shiny, black, pea-sized seeds can be gathered. I’m hoping to propagate some this way. I’ll have to do more research.

Goldenrain Tree Seed Pods Turning Bronze

At the beginning of July, these seed “lanterns” from my goldenrain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) were a vivid chartreuse. Now they’re crackly and bronze.

Tired Roses

Rose hips are bulging in the sun. Few roses are braving the heat these days.

My Dying Birch Tree

I’m mourning the loss of three more birch tress that are slowly dying, just as three others did last year. I love these trees. They were a gift from my mother and Ian and I planted them the first year we owned this house. For a long time they were the only landscaping we could afford to do. I’ve watched these trees grow, season after season, through my bedroom window. When Asher was a tiny baby and I was sick and then recovering in bed, I watched the white branches get their leaves, which fluttered in the breeze day after day. I love the way their late-afternoon shadows dance on my window and blinds. For now, the lower branches still have leaves and from my window they’re still beautiful. They are dying from the top down.

These photos aren’t the most beautiful. They don’t show the garden in its best possible light. But I like them anyway. Change happens and the best we can ever do is to embrace it and find the beauty in it.

  • 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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