"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

June 14, 2012

Down on the Creek

It's not every day that a child will say, "Let's go down on the creek today." And so, after a bit of puttering about and some errands and making sure my article got to my editor after two days of no satellite internet (ergh), that's exactly what we did. Just Eli and me. 

Our youngest child has an affinity for rocks (and coins and, well, many things). His laser vision pinpoints the smallest of rocks or just for what he is looking––for a while it was geodes and now he's moved on to others. He can spend hours sorting a collection, organizing a shelf, washing and categorizing his Legos. Truly a young man after my own heart! As a younger boy he enjoyed organizing cupboards or arranging things at the holidays. He is very tactile and an inventory specialist. It will be fun to see what he will do when he grows up: Architect? Geologist? U.S. Mint? A poet-farmer like Wendell Berry? We know he will be Eli and for now he doesn't have to worry about anything else. He is still all boy.

This summer we are trying to be more in the moment when we are not busy doing farm chores. We are embracing spontaneity. Like today when I was hungry at 2:30pm and discovered that no one else had grabbed a sandwich, and suggested we all pile in the car and go get lunch in Nancy at our favorite Mom&Pop place. So we did. [I should note here that I often joke with my husband, "I married you for life, but not for lunch." It's really true: except when either of us takes the other out for lunch. Or when I feel like making it. Don't worry: no one is deprived in our house.]

After our late lunch we took a detour home to see where some new friends live (and who just had a baby) and that led to driving down roads we've never been on and then past some friends who happened to be outside and so we stopped by and had a delightful visit. Three hours after we left we were home. And I remembered Eli's plaintive request: "Let's go down on the creek today."

And so we did.

Just Eli and me. 

It was magical, quiet, and time sort of stood still for forty minutes. I realized that I need to take more one-on-one time with everyone in my family––each of my children and with my husband, too. Even myself. In a few weeks Henry and I will be heading to New England to pick up our daughter who is returning to be with us in Kentucky for a time. He and I will spend some time in New Hampshire together while Addie packs and says her goodbyes in Vermont where she has worked for the past four years. I've never taken a road trip with one of the boys before and look forward to our adventures––and then to having all of the kids home together again. It just feels right.

I like this shape of rock and seek them out.

NOTE: The spider has been enlarged from how he appeared on the rock, but I would say that paw print is about life-sized. I'm thinking a raccoon but not certain.
Thanks to a reader, I've discovered this is a Belted Kingfisher.
Here is more information about them in Kentucky. And I need a better zoom lens!

You come back when you're ready! 

Remember that it's not the destination, but the journey.


  1. That bird you have a picture of -- it lookes like a Belted Kingfisher, rather than a sapsucker. Also, it was down by a creek, in the open, rather than on a tree, you know, pecking, which is more kingfishery than sapsuckery.

  2. This is why I love you, Mom. Thank you for allowing each of us to embrace the magic of childhood, even when we try to rush through it all. I truly cherish your love, support and the wonderful memories of my youth that you have given me. Keep up the spontaneity and I can't wait to share a Kentucky summer with you, dad and the boys.

  3. Thanks for the bird update! I'd never seen one before. Beautiful. And Addie, you are most welcome. We can't wait, either.

  4. How fun - enjoy your trip to New England. I just got back, last week, from a two week visit with family and friends in NH, VT, MA & ME and I'm more homesick than I can almost bear. Those little New England villages with their sweet oval commons, oh my heart. It's the strangest thing to leave home to go home and then to leave home to come home...Destiny

  5. enjoy the your website its like looking back in the past. the log house that was where your double wide is where i was born and the house where ida lived was my grand parents walter dye. glenn dick


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