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by Rachael on March 10, 2015

World of upside-down trees

We are not quite “in,” but with the return of Daylight Saving Time, warmer weather has come, and with it, many puddles.

L and the Gnome do so love the puddles, but for some reason the uck of mud troubles L.

As for me, I love the squash of luscious mud underfoot and to gaze through the puddles at the world of upside-down trees.

And you?


The Pleasures of Childhood

by Rachael on March 3, 2015

Getting to work

The pleasures of childhood should in the main be such as the child extracts from his environment by means of some effort and inventiveness. Pleasures which are exciting and at the same time involve no physical exertion, such, for example, as the theatre, should occur very rarely. The excitement is in the nature of a drug, of which more and more will come to be required, and the physical passivity during the excitement is contrary to instinct. A child develops best when, like a young plant, he is left undisturbed in the same soil. Too much travel, too much variety of impressions, are not good for the young, and cause them as they grow up to become incapable of enduring fruitful monotony.

I do not mean that monotony has any merits of its own; I mean only that certain good things are not possible except where there is a certain degree of monotony. . . . A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow processes of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers, as though they were cut flowers in a vase.

— Bertrand Russell, via Brain Pickings

It has been cold here: day after day of temperatures below freezing, which has not been typical for a New York winter but perhaps may be becoming so. I’ve been on deadline, and I’m tired. So we have not been out and about very much the past couple months. We did go to MoMA to see the Matisse cutouts. But I don’t think we’ve even been to the park since New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, the kids are all right. We did nothing special over the course of the week-long February break, and (per L’s report) the boys enjoyed themselves. Though there was (and continues to be) plenty of bickering, they did (and continue to) extract more than enough pleasure from their environment.

Despite my firm belief in the necessity of boredom, I do feel guilt from time to time about the overall sameness to our days and weeks. So I like having at least one philosopher on my side.



December 25, 2014

It’s been a difficult December, and difficult for reasons other than the usual holiday madness, though truthfully the madness felt even more maddening than usual this year. But yesterday I thought, for perhaps the millionth time so far in my lifetime, at least I have poetry, and language. And, of course, these guys. Many blessings […]

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Don’t Steel Yourself

December 18, 2014

On the day my mother died, one of my cousins drove my sister and me from New Haven to the house where we grew up. “Don’t steel yourself,” he told us that night. I don’t remember anything else he said then, but that one sentence has been a mantra for me in times of sorrow. […]

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The Process

December 11, 2014

Everything changed this fall. In September the Gnome started preschool, where his schedule more or less matches L’s at the public elementary school. For the first time since I became a mother, I have all the weekdays to myself, at least when there’s school, and at least until about 2:30 (when I really ought to […]

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{this moment}

August 29, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama …

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August 26, 2014

It was about four years ago that, in reference to the lake, he said his first sentence: “No like it.” Thus it was to my great surprise yesterday that he said, “I love to swim!” Never mind that he wasn’t actually swimming. He was in the water, and he was smiling: close enough.

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{this moment}

August 15, 2014

A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama …

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Better Late

August 13, 2014

The bluebells bloomed later than usual this year, a week or so after my birthday. As usual, I made sure to go see them, and as usual, I took photographs. For nearly three months now, the photographs have been sitting in my camera, unseen. I have thought of them often, intending to upload and post […]

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August 7, 2014

One afternoon last week, I decided to take L to Coney Island so that we could put our feet in the water. We brought beach toys, but we didn’t even wear our bathing suits. As it turned out, the beach satisfied a longing I didn’t even know that I had, for the open sky and […]

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