Welcome friends! – A Story

Welcome friends! This is the perfect time of year to begin a new journey together. Perhaps springtime seems more likely, with its riot of color and soft winds. But let me tell you a story. (And may our time together be filled with stories. Our joined stories help us not only know who we are, but also help us create who we will become)

After the glorious harvest season here in Virginia, with shades of gold, pumpkin, orange and russet slowly blooming through the mountainsides,
after The Rose Garden Harvest Festival, where we
hand ground grain for our twice-weekly baking,
cored-peeled-and sliced apples with a fabulous hand turned machine,
took apart last year’s well-worn scarecrow and laid his straw on our playground,
made a brand new scare crow to guard the porch until her next spring’s mission in the garden,
carded sheeps wool, and spun yarn for winter mittens and hats,
and shared our Circle Time with parents,
then ate the Harvest Loaf with home made apple butter from our orchard trip

After all this glory, we began working with a new quieter image:
Mother Earth is calling, calling her children home
Winter deep is coming, it’s not the time to roam.
She’s calling to the butterflies, she’s calling to the bees,
She’s calling them to come and sleep
Beneath the autumn leaves

The cold north wind is helping her,
though he’s something of a tease.
He puffs and blow and calls
the autumn leaves down from the trees!

Day by day, the leaves have been slowly filling our playground until last Saturday, all the families came and we worked together helping to put our exquisite garden to bed! With shovels, pick axes and elbow grease, we uprooted the “invader plants” (Genghis Khan of the plant world!) and put down tarps to rout them completely. While all this heavy labor went on in the garden, the children and more parents were busy raking a mountain of leaves and jumping into the fragrant billows….raking and jumping, raking and jumping! (Yesterday I trundled the leaves in wheelbarrows to cover the tarps, and the last traces of the invading hordes are swept from our garden…at least until they reappear next spring…but we will prevail in the end!) As the light faded, we returned to the playground to warm ourselves with hot cider by the campfire. While we awaited the perfect moment of twilight, we heard a story of a little child who asked Father Sun for a tiny bit of his warmth to carry through the winter.
All week long the children had been watching Rebecca and I make paper lanterns of their watercolor paintings, folding and cutting the stars so perfectly, gluing and stapling, attaching the wire handles, filling each one with a candle. Such anticipation….the Lantern Walk! Finally in the gathering dark, each little lantern was lit, their cut out stars shone bravely and the warmth of their red and gold glow gave us good cheer as we walked the woodland path. Rustling through the fallen leaves, singing through the woods, happily we trudged up and ever up the forested hillside. Round we looped, until at my long driveway’s end, the children had a thrill: if their parents agreed, they might hand the lantern to the adult, then run like the wind through the dark, all the way to the playground gate!
Like the children, we can work to create a sturdy container, then carry our light into a dark world. We can follow the thread laid out by our own heart, and lit by the heart’s light, regardless of the twisting path or depth of darkness. In the end, we run on light feet, we run toward Home! This is an image to live with, to give our children, an image to begin a new journey together.
Welcome to the journey toward Our Heaven on Earth!

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