Magical realism

Today was a special day, because we had a visit from some friends from a "previous life"...friends who have, suddenly and unexpectedly, moved back into our realm!
Brynn and Dave were friends of both M's and mine, separately, before we even met one another. I worked with Dave at the newspaper in Vail before he made the move into education, and M was their neighbor when all of them lived in the tiny mountain hamlet of Redcliff, high above the Vail Valley.
The last time we saw them was, I believe, at our wedding, when Guthrie, their youngest, was still a baby in a sling. Shortly thereafter, the whole family packed up and moved to Taos where they enjoyed the many wonders of life on the high plain, and raised chickens, among other things.
Dave has recently become a part of an exciting alternative educational institution called the Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, and couldn't make it today, but Brynn was sweet enough to drive down with the kids for the afternoon and give all of us a bit of a break from our routine.

Their visit gave us the opportunity to make use of our (still in-progress) playhouse. Flynn's first time!

Making a birdhouse into a working firehouse. Brynn has one of the most unique, genuine and imaginative minds I know, and I always love to see the world through her eyes. Her kids have been the benefactors of her beautiful, magical vision, and have the sense of imaginative play that we all should aspire to. She is the best kind of mother - the kind that guides gently, but lets her children find their own personas. The kind who shows them how to make the most of their inner minds, to respect life in all its forms, and to appreciate the tiny details of the natural world around them.

Even Sam got in on the act. Yes, he can climb the ladder. I've never met a dog who could climb a ladder before, and it amazes me every time. But Sam will do just about anything not to be left out.

Emmet, who is growing into a tall and handsome young man with so much of his dad in him it's amazing to see. What beautiful kids they are, both of them, with the all the grace, gentleness and individuality of their parents.

Setting off for the park. Emmett wanted to show off his skill on his very cool push bike.

Enjoying the last of the summer days at Berkeley Park. I love all of the seasons more as I age, and have come to appreciate the minutia and mood of each, and to look forward to each transition, and what the next season has to offer. There is a nostalgia to the end of each season, but I think I appreciate the in-between times most of all these days.

Life slows down when you have children. Everyone says it, but, like so many things, I never really understood exactly what that means until now. There is a profound pleasure in simple things, like a fine drizzle without any rain...like strolling with old friends.

M and Emmett ready to get the party started.

I always knew that sea monster would come in handy!

Flynn and Guthrie swinging side by side.

It's good to see other kiddos on our monster. I've grown fond of it, and it's fun to share it.

Guthrie riding the tail of the beast.

Emmett's turned into a bit of a stuntman. His mama may be used to it, but M (a new parent) was more than a tad nervous, and assigned himself Emmett's personal spotter.

Following in his brother's footsteps.

M showing off his own funky playground stylings...

Graceful Brynn, who has a style so vividly her own. I always admire her confidence in who she is.

QQ is still a fan of the woodchips. I like them too. They feel good, and they smell nice, and they're soft to fall on!

...and they don't get stuck between your toes.

A man after my own heart...

...Emmett was eager to converse with this pair of ducks. If I knew more about ducks, maybe I could tell you why, all of a sudden at the end of the season, they're all out of the water and in the grass. I'll have to look into that phenomenon.

Unfortunately, the ducks weren't interested in talking, particularly since Emmett didn't have so much as a stale breadcrumb in his pocket. So he settled in to just watch from a short distance.

QQ enjoying her daddy's arms.

This goose (which was also out on the grass) got startled out into the street. We were a bit nervous for it.

...but Brynn ran out and manged to get behind it and herd it back into the park and safety. How funny is that indignant strut?

Crossing back toward home.
Afterward, we all went for homemade icecream (and a marvelous balloon machine!) down at Little Man's Creamery...but much to my dismay I forgot my camera back at the house, so none of it was recorded for posterity. It's a little bit laughable how naked I feel without my camera. I go around snapping frames in my mind, my hands twitching...I can't get comfortable if I don't have a lens to look through. I should really work on just existing in the moment. That would be a good thing for me to meditate on.

We were having such a good time, and had so much to catch up on, that I never did look into the gift that Brynn and the boys brought with them. After we sent them on their way, I found it on the table and decided to dig in.

You might not know what this is, just to glance at it, but I did. Last year, Brynn had a beautiful header on the blog she kept from Taos. It was a seasonal diorama that she called a "nature table", and to which hers boys contributed each season. It so sparked my imagination that I wrote her a note about it. The image really stayed with me, and so it brought tears to my eyes to open this package and find the beginnings of our very own nature table inside.

I set it up very quickly...this is just its first incarnation. It has a lot of evolving to do, and Flynn and I very much look forward to many months and years of creating and re-creating our own seasonal dioramas. I don't know how Brynn knew that this was the perfect gift for us, but I am so glad she noticed and remembered.


Anonymous said...

I have a book about treehouses that I love. I want to build one someday. Kids are lucky to have a magical world to play in. It is sad that we someday lose it.

Vivian M said...

What a beautiful and full day! Is it me or has Flynn grown an inch? She looks a tad taller. Must be those yummy home made shake mixes!
Enjoy the end of summer! My favorite season is just about to start.

fourlittlehawks said...

I love the "Nature Table"! My daughter Emma (7), is VERY intrigued. How exactly does it work - do you change elements season to season while keeping the same original pieces there? Truly your friend gave you a gift from the heart, that is so neat!

Jen Hawkins

Stacie said...

I am loving this post. I have recently happened upon the Waldorf philosophy!!! Z and i had just recently started our nature table but it is not NEARLY as cool as this. Will have to take some pointers- i did order a few things from three sisters but would love to know where she found her little critters- is brynn's old blog still open?

As i read your book to z ( she loves "my mom is not tool" btw) i see your gnomes and fairies.... were you educated in a waldorf school or at home?

It just makes so much sense.

Flynn is beautiful and i am so thankful that she is so receptive to your love!