Surely it doesn't matter if the ground hog saw his shadow yesterday because Spring has already arrived here, if all the mud and rain and buds on the trees are any indication. I guess it might be a bit premature to start much planting here in the North country, but there are lots of good things we are growing indoors. I'm having a good time slowly reading through this book by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community called "Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children". I stumbled on it back in November in a local bookstore, and purchased it for my birthday because I know it is one of those books I will read and use over and over again. It also comes with a CD to accompany the book with songs and a few guided meditations to accompany the activities outlined in the book. The book is about cultivating mindfulness in children, but of course that must start in ourselves, which is why the most useful chapter to me so far has been chapter 3 "Cultivating your own Mindfulness". It helps you to see how and why we can live more cooperatively and compassionately with our partners and community. If anything, the book has simply reminded me to stop and breathe whenever and where ever there is opportunity. My plan is to get through the whole book and then try to slowly introduce some of these practices to the children if they are interested. It might be better suited to them as they get a little older, but there's certainly no harm in trying. We already try to have them stop and breathe when they are angry. The other thing I love about these practices is that they help them to see how all things are connected... from the rock, to the chair, to the food on our plate. It is so important to protecting and nurturing our world to realize the connection between all things.
The little crochet wool hearts above are now finished and hanging on some branches we pruned and put in a mason jar for a Valentine's tree. I'd like to have the kids make some ornaments to hang too. The wool was a lucky find at the thrift store. All the colors above were part of the bag and they just went so perfectly together, that I had to go with the color scheme. I have more, and plan to use some of it to start a weaving project with Oona. With rain pouring down outside, we've been busily making all afternoon. Oona had a scheduled day off from school and so we've stayed in our pjs, ate some cookies and created all manner of strange things today. I had planned on having Oona make her classmates bookmarks for V-day, but she came up with something even better. I'll have to take a picture and share them after they've been delivered. It's always so wonderful to see the crazy things kids come up with, and you have to do little more than plant a seed (or hand them a tool) for their imaginations to go wild.