Springtime at Home: The unearthly quiet, rabbit clouds and bare feet

We have spent the last week preparing for the shut down that we knew would be coming. It started fully today. Our business is now on hold and the charity library where I am a trustee has shut its doors on government orders. Even though we already worked from home whilst educating our five children, there is an absence of emails and phone calls that will take some getting used to.

Our friends and family have so far stayed healthy and we are in constant contact over text and Skype. Our children send drawings and letters to their grandparents over email.

I am glad it is spring and very grateful we have a little garden.

We cannot explain to our two autistic sons or little daughter what is happening in the world but this has turned out to have a happy side effect. The fact that they live completely for the present moment is teaching me how to do so too.

Today our daughter spent time just watching the clouds go by. Every time she spots a cloud that she thinks looks like a rabbit, she squeals, runs over to me, grabs my hand and pulls me over to see.

Our second son’s apple tree, planted last autumn, has leaves forming. He knows that insects help pollinate flowers and I found him carefully moving spiders from the bark to other areas of the garden, so that their webs did not catch any of the bees by mistake.

The ground has dried out enough in the spring sunshine for us to go barefoot. This is our daughter’s first spring where she can walk and run about (she was just learning to crawl this time last year) and she likes to scrunch her toes in the grass.

Each morning I hide little fir cones around the garden for her to find. She darts all over searching for them, handing them to me as she runs by.

I notice the unearthly quiet of a busy world ground to a stop. Usually there is a constant distant hum of traffic from the city outskirts and a nearby lane. Now I can only hear birdsong, the sound of children playing in gardens nearby and the ripple of our garden stream.

The bright sunlight this morning showed up my younger children’s fingerprints on the windows, and as I was polishing the glass in a bedroom that overlooks the green, I could see other people doing the same. Soon, many neighbours had flung their windows open and we all waved at each other, shouted hellos and gave a thumbs up.

The seasons keep on moving, even though we have all paused. As we come out of winter, my family naturally begin to change the rhythm of our days. Our school lessons move out into the garden, or at the very least we have the doors next to the kitchen table thrown open, and the breeze coming in. The house feels airy and fresh, no need for scented candles or oil burners when the real smell of grass and blossom is drifting in.

Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.

30 Comments

  1. I live near a school, so very very quiet without the children, the doors banging, the bells, cars, no church bells yesterday. As Joni Mitchell once sang You don’t know what you got till its gone. Stay well.

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  2. This is a beautiful result of a scary time. Thank you for sharing. I know I am enjoying the little moments I am getting with my children. With a teen daughter a pre-teen son a 9yr old who thinks everyone is boring and a 4yr old who needs to go, go, go, I am enjoying the time with them on a different level. I am amazed daily by their resilience and acceptance of what can’t be avoided. Sending prayers and hugs for your beautiful family. Stay safe and enjoy them while they will let you.

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    1. Thank you very much for leaving such a kind comment. I find that I am appreciating the smaller moments more and more. I hope you and your family are all keeping well, sending lots of warm wishes in return from our family to yours x

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    1. Thank you Laurie x We’re really lucky that our neighbours are all lovely – there’s roughly 25 houses, all around a central green with a maple tree in the centre, so we all look out at each other 🙂 Hope all is okay over in Maine xxx

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  3. Without detracting from the seriousness of the supervirus today, I’d like to think this ‘at home’ time will give some superbusy folk the opportunity to spend some quality time with their children as you do.

    The joy and innocence young children bring to the world is such a delight and your children are prime examples of that expression.

    They remind us to live Mindfully each day and concentrate on the simple pleasures of just being in the moment.

    Keep safe and well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true – and I find it helpful to be a little more in the moment and keep centred when we’re currently unable to plan or even know what will happen within a few days. I hope everything is okay where you are, and that you are keeping safe and well too xxx

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    1. Thank you very much x Very true – my 10 year old spent an hour yesterday just watching the river in the garden and I really wish I could give myself the time to do such a thing. I’m working on it! I hope you are keeping well and safe x

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  4. Warm and peaceful… I love how poetry is incarnate in your family life. A stark contrast with my household where everything is completely hectic whilst I answer my pupils’ many questions (the answers to which could be found in the previous emails I sent them), mark frantically and tell my own kids to leave me alone and do their own work. 😅But in truth I am a teacher at heart and find meaning in trying to keep learning going, as normally as possible. It’s my way of holding my pupils’ hands.

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    1. Thank you very much. I have just found your wonderful blog and am reviving my rusty French to read parts of it, whilst I’ve also loved the gardening section too. I admire everything you are doing to support your pupils 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much – it took me half a decade to decide what to do with the small space – I should find all the scrappy drawings and plans and drafts from over the years and publish them here 🙂 I hope you get to garden soon, it is really helping me to keep sane and busy in the lock down to have the garden to work on! Stay safe and well too, warm wishes from my family to yours x

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  5. Isn’t the quiet wonderful? I’m hearing no air traffic and very little car noise. I’m drinking the quiet in as I listen with at times eyes closed, bird songs. The other day in a park there was a symphony of frogs and it was just so soul stirring I stood in place with my eyes closed, just listening to the heavenly music. A man with his two small children actually waited until I was ready to continue to walk on for he and his two kids to walk again on the trail. I’m seeing some incredibly beautiful things concerning some people. No cellphones in sight either. TALKING is the word of the day. Wow!! LOVED your post!! Oh yes we can learn from children …. we have cats and they are like small kids who only know the moment. I learn from them all the time!! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We keep telling our children that *this* is what villages looked and sounded like when we were growing up. We would cross the road with care, but pretty much knew there would never be a car. I remember playing tennis in the road with my friends. I’m noticing people talking more too – and because of the social distancing, everyone is very mindful of others, stepping aside, sharing a word or too x

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