Wonder and fear (but mostly wonder)

Maidenhair fern

Wildflower magic


May Apple flower

Maidenhair fern

Wonder and fear

Wonder and fear

Wonder and fear

Wonder and fear

Pheasant Back mushroom

Wonder and fear

Yesterday was one of those delicious days where I felt something was out of balance, decide to shift, and then felt waves of contentment and satisfaction sweeping over me.

I think the kids and I all did.

We revised our homeschooling rhythm with the current season in mind. We asked ourselves big questions about he skills we'd like to gain, about what really matters, about how we want to spend our time and energy.

We got honest with one another about what was working and what wasn't, where we all were falling short.

And we re-prioritized.

And among other goals and dreams, we kept circling back to one simple idea: "Spend more time in the woods."

I heard us saying it again and again.

And so we did. We threw a pitiful little picnic into a backpack and called it good enough. I muttered something about "no bad weather, only bad clothing" as we grabbed our rain pants and raincoats and tromped off across the field in the drizzle.

By the time we got to the woods the sun was shining and the forest was vibrantly, brilliantly alive.

We spent the afternoon marveling at how much had changed since our last visit, and I applied every ounce of my spirit to two just goals: experience wonder and find freedom from fear.

Wonder at this beautiful place that is the natural world. Wonder at each flower and leaf, each wild edible plant, each brilliant expression of life. Wonder at my children, myself, the weather, the Earth.

And freedom from fear because – of course – of Lyme. We always circle back to Lyme. How could we not? If I'm honest with myself I know what's keeping us out of the woods. Only one thing.

But at what cost?

So as I crawled through the brushy spots, seeking out whispers of magic, I breathed in peace and breathed out fear. When we came home we would do a thorough tick check, that I knew. Let it go. Be here. Drink it in.

And so I did.


And then, as we headed up a favorite trail, playing a make-believe game about being travelers lost in the forest, Lupine sank to the ground.

Her voice was sad.

"Oh, no…"

She reached out and began systematically pulling plants she saw growing alongside the trail.

"How about in the game, mama, we're people who really love the forest. And we don't want it to get taken over by garlic mustard." (…pull, pull, pull…)

And so we did.

Wonder and fear

Invasive garlic mustard

Invasive garlic mustard

Invasive garlic mustard

Invasive garlic mustard

We pulled invasive garlic mustard until our arms were full, and carried them out of the woods to prevent them from setting seed.

As it turns out the forest needs us as much as we need her. It's time we start showing up again. And often.

Because in the game we love the forest.

And you know, this game looks a lot like real life.


13 thoughts on “Wonder and fear (but mostly wonder)

  1. Robin says:

    That was such a perfect story with a fabulous ending! and in real life you all are wonderful stewards of the woods you call home. We also have made a promise to get into the woods more, they are magical, welcoming, and oh my do they need love the same way we do. The smells, tastes, feels, and emotions that a forest creates teaches us all so much, including just slowing down, exploring and loving whats around you, and really seeing it.
    Never commented here before but this post hit me hard, thank you for that! Enjoy those kids of yours (and woods) and keep teaching them goodness!

  2. Megan says:

    Your blog has been such an encouragement to me through our journey – we just moved to a rental in the country and there is much fear mixed with an awe of the blessings around us. I will continue to come here! 🙂

  3. Michelle says:

    Love this. Queastion- what do you do about poison ivy/oak/etc? We seem to get it so easily. I enjopy exploring the woods, but have been leery this year. Thanks!

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    Its all about keeping your eyes open! For these really we just go with the eagle eye approach. ID and avoid. But if its hard for you to spot, socks over pants can help, too. Just wash everything right away when you get back, including shoes if youre unsure.

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