'sploring 'n' stuff

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a very dear friend once gave me some wise advice when i asked if she had some words of wisdom for me going into motherhood while pregnant with isaac... even though she is not a mother herself, i knew she'd have something sage to say.

it was sage, because she knew what was applicable to say to me.

her advice was simple. i'll paraphrase, as i don't remember the exact words she used. something like "don't raise isaac to believe that he can't explore the world, just because you guys don't have the money to travel." actually, her original wording was a bit more vague, but upon expounding in an effort to make me better understand, that was what i got out of what was said... in so many words or less.

in other words, she encouraged me not to let on to isaac that we don't have much money, or that that is why we aren't able to travel a lot with him... on vacations and such.

it applies to us, quite simply, because we will never be that family that goes on a vacation every year.  certainly not one that "sees the world". and that is not a complaint. not going on vacation doesn't feel like being jipped by life at all. {though we think it would be nice to be able to travel and get away, we feel blessed with far more than we ever thought we'd have.} it's just how it is. at least right now.

i'll never forget her advice, and i easily took it to heart.

it wasn't difficult, because i'm one of those people that loves to travel, but doesn't need it to be filled up {though i have no problem whatsoever with people who do need it to fill up, because that's just their thing... like taking pictures or listening to music is mine}.

i don't think she was advising me to be that way so much. if she knows me as well as i think she does, then she knows i am already content... not feeling an ache or need to travel in order to feel fulfilled. she knows i am already the sort of person that can find wonder and beauty right where i am if i'm really trying to see it.

i think her advice was more about telling me to make sure i pass this outlook i have on to isaac, and protecting him from a mindset that says "we're too poor to travel". so i did today with him what i'd do with myself on such a lovely {finally} warm spring day. i took him out in the yard and made him encouraged him to feel that we were on a grand exploration. not that almost-two-year-olds need a lot of help in that department... especially boys who like dirt and rocks and twigs and such. especially little boys who have changed so very much in the short three months that they have lived in a new house... and who've been cooped up inside all winter. everything is new and exciting by the nature of their spongey, developing minds.

so we 'splored {as mr. b calls it} out in the back yard. and the side. and the front. and we played with a blue ball. and we climbed through the overgrown bushes that i have started to trim back. and we asked questions like "what's this?" and answered with responses like "it's a twig."

and we sat in the light. the longed-for light and warmth that we knew would tag along with it.

we ran. chased.

we trampled over beds of brown pine needles, underneath the still dangling green.

we got covered head-to-toe in burrs.

i don't just mean exploring for isaac... though for him, it was much more of an adventure. {i imagine the yard seems ten times bigger to him than it does to us, simply because i remember how much larger places seemed to me at a young age than they seemed when i returned years later. our small yard must have felt like a sprawling ten-acre farm to him.}

no, this wasn't just for the little guy's pleasure. us grown-ups, we explored too. {moving in january does not afford many nice days to check out the property, remember... so this was a first for us, too.}

my favorite find? the prettiest soft- and long-needled evergreen. i knew it was there since the day we came to see the house with our realtor. but i had never explored it until today.

two big kids went out there to play with one little one. but we had another goal besides just playing in mind... to start fixing up the yard in any cost-free ways we can until we can have money to do the big stuff. {like adding an enclosing fence, new trees for privacy, deck furniture, landscaping plans, etc.}.

walking around with hopes of beautifying our property brought a quote i love to mind... one that i often think about.
instead of wondering where your next vacation is, maybe you need to set up a life you don't need to escape from. ~seth godin
i think the biggest reason i've never made traveling a huge priority is because i've never really felt a need to escape my world. it might be "aiming low" to others. but to me, i've just never really had the itch to get away. i've always really liked where i am... not just where i am on the map, but in life too. often, i find i don't have enough time or resources to enjoy my immediate surroundings as it is, without the added pressure of trying to enjoy other places too.

so i felt today like we did just what i was advised to by my friend that day. i wonder how many times we, as busy... way too busy... people, actually go out and discover our immediate surroundings. the things we pass every day without notice. my backyard will never strike in another person or myself the awe that the grand canyon can. but it's also a place like no other on earth. it's our little slice of the pie, and it's ours to do with what we want. that alone is sort of awe-inspiring. whether it's our little rented apartments that we can make into our own, or our 500-acre farms. everywhere is a place to be known. starting in our own backyard, i hope to help isaac realize that every bit of ground he treads holds treasure and mystery and something to be discovered, admired, manicured or protected.
the earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. ~psalm 24:1
i'm not even sure if i captured every thought i had for this post. it's late and i'm tired.

but the one thing i wanted to make sure to include and share was this... the pure delight i had in watching my son today... seeing the excitement that burst out of him as he trekked around this new world that opened up when spring did.

it's the reason i included that first photo {why i took it in the first place} and typed "brought to you by the letter T next to it.

you see, that there T made out of two pieces of wood is something that sticks out of the ground at the far end of our deck. we can't be certain what it was put there for, but we have come to the conclusion that it was probably used to hang clothesline rope from.

every time i've ever seen those two pieces of wood, i saw them as just that... two pieces of wood and nothing more. anything i saw beyond that was wrapped up in questioning what it's for or the speculation that it is likely a post for a clothesline... the very kind of concrete thinking like i am prone to.

but isaac does't know what a clothesline is. however, he is learning to read. and in his wonderfully abstract thinking, he has been learning to find letters in all places... in all things {thank you, sesame street!}. so when we first walked out onto the deck today, he saw the post and ran toward it with enthusiasm and a smile and gleefully squealed "the letter teeeeee!" {T}

and my heart melted.

yes, baby boy. that is, in fact, a letter T. and you are my wonderfully abstract thinker.

as if that wasn't enough, he did the same exact thing minutes later when i walked him over to the side of the house where mr. b was cleaning gutters while standing on a ladder. this time, it was "the letter aaaaaye!" {A} he exclaimed as he pointed up at the ladder.

i beamed. and grinned. and told him what a smart boy he is. you'd think two was it for the day. a T in a clothesline post and an A in the ladder. but no. there was to be a D in the onion slice that was on my plate at dinner, too. {we made turkey burgers on the grill in honor of the first really nice day, and onion for the burgers would be the third place that isaac would find a letter i'd not have seen without him.}

i love this, because it illustrates what i am trying to get at. if we are as wide-eyed and wonderment-filled as children tend to be, might we find so many things all around us worth being amazed and excited about... without having to travel far... or even at all?

there will come a day when all three of us have discovered all that there is to discover on our little piece of land. but people don't always travel back to a certain spot solely to keep on discovering new things. sometimes,  rather, it's merely because they love the place they've found and they feel right at home there.

that sounds familiar. though a permanent dwelling and not a vacation home, we love the place we've found.

and we feel right at home.


Kathy McB said...

Love those eyes on the little guy :)

georgia b. said...

thanks, kathy. =)

Mr. & Mrs. P said...

Beautiful photos!!! Thanks for sharing!

Mr. & Mrs. P

georgia b. said...