Our house is filled with so much more sunlight in the morning and the afternoon, hinting at spring, though winter is no where near over. After a long slow first month of the year, the calendar shows Ray’s busy travel season approaching, then spring and summer and the year slips away. But when I pull back to today, I am here chipping away at a project I am excited about, making small steps daily, weekly. I’ve been slowly dreaming and planning a permaculture design for our property, getting ready to make my tiny farm dreams even more real. In the midst of slow and, just barely, steady creative work, chaotic and messy family dinners, playing and reading and walking and making with Amos and Eowyn, and finding the tiny beginnings of turning this little house and bit of land into something all our own, I realize that these are the good old days. They are not always easy and I am usually tired but I know it will only be a short time before I look back on this time with fondness and longing.

It is a time of tending. Going beyond just dreaming and imagining and giving time and energy to make ideas into something real. Giving hugs and kisses, cups of milk and snacks and a 9th helping of frozen corn; listening, watching, trying not to get frustrated; nurturing the seeds of what things will become. Planting a seed in the ground, watching a child run away from you, putting your creations out into the world: there is so little you can control. Even with the perfect soil, water, sunlight, patience and love, you can’t be sure quite how things will go. So you pull back a little and look at what surrounds you in this very moment, this time in which you are living. This is it.

The washer and dryer are almost always running, the kitchen floor is littered with crumbs, pillow forts clutter the living room. The past week included an epic screaming melt down in ice skates, feeling like I never respond the right way, times when I just want to cook dinner without interruption, or at the very least not have to deal with children hitting each other while I am trying to chop onions. No matter what I feel in the moment, deep down I know I am lucky to have each and every mess. In the midst of all of it I wonder how I can capture this time that feels endless and fleeting. I know the little things, like Eowyn practicing jumping and sometimes calling Amos “brother” will constantly change and be replaced by other things that I won’t want to forget either. But at the end of the day I’m tired, full and empty. And we start again tomorrow.