Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!


Bolt and bar the front door,
Draw the curtains tight;
Wise folk are in before
Moon-rise to-night.

Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en,
Chestnuts to roast, 
A gift for the fairy,
A prayer for the ghost.

Who will have their fate told,
This night is known,
Whose hand is full of gold,
Who goes alone.

Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en,
Snapdragon blue,
A lover for me
And a fortune for you

Stars shiver blue and green,
Moon's wide and white;
There, tattered clouds between,
Witches take flight.

Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en,
Apples a-bob,
Elves at the key-hole
And imps on the hob.

"Twelve," calls the deep bell
To the hollow night.
"Twelve," whisper steeple tops
Far out of sight.

Hallowe'en, Hallowe'en,
Fires burn high.
Who shall say certainly,
Who can tell truthfully,
What solemn company
Passes through the sky?

-Molly Capes

Friday, October 18, 2013

Kickstarter- Take Your Time Loving Me

That was motherhood, thought the squire, snipping at the stalks.  Casual encounters about the garden and the house, with those on happy, secret errands.  Glint in the eye, indication of a destination, feet running, a voice calling, a group loose-knit and close-knit, running at the end of faint elastic ropes, but tied still to her navel.  

That was part of motherhood.  Other landscapes to come, unseen, the blocked, silent future that made her wince.  Ah, if she could carry this bundle of children with her into eternity, clutched to her breast, with iron arms like God's.  "But the navel strings will wear fine and break and each will go out to found its family and sow it's seed."  What is personality, where does it go?  So childish, so fundamental, so useless, so wild a question.

In Enid Bagnold's "The Squire" (my very favorite book), she writes of motherhood, birth, life, children, identity, mortality.  She muses on her changing self and her growing children.

How short a time ago was it that she had cried, "My life!  My life!  stretching her arms and her young body, fierce, alone, adventurous, - and now a mother five times!

Life was no longer altogether hers, the body already a little threadbare, worn in indescribable yet noted ways.  Since these essential acts of birth had occurred she knew that there was something in which she now aquiesced, a calm, a stoic pleasure in procession.  "To give birth, to bring up the young, to die" thought the squire, and for the first time saw her own end as endurable.  "I was solid and I was myself.  But now I am a pipe through which the generations pass."

Recently a project has been stirring with my dear friend, Margaux- an artist, and mother.  We've often talked about it over coffee at my kitchen table- what this life of motherhood means, how it feels to watch the time pass through your children, how your heart swells and breaks, and bursts with love for them.  How you are no longer the "you" you thought you were, the changes that are unavoidable.  For Margaux this reconciling will take place through a multifaceted project she is funding through Kickstarter, "Take Your Time Loving Me."

I see her project as two parts that are threaded together:  how being a mother is changing her- her life no longer being made of solitary travel and exploration (as it was when I first met her), but now an adventure of a different sort.    And with all things, that sharp twinge of the passage of time, the clutch of your throat when you realize your children are growing up.  I've mentioned it before (see Roxaboxen, Someday, How Does It Feel to be Old) but I wonder do we ever get over that feeling?  Even my husband, who is hardly the emotional, self-reflective type, will get melancholy when he realizes how our teenagers are reaching closer to adulthood and sliding away from being children.  When you become a parent time starts to pass at break-neck speed!  Years ago at my father-in-law's retirement party, his 90 year old mother was there and I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to see your son grown, retired, and with grandchildren of his own.    

Please consider supporting Margaux's project as she fleshes out these thoughts and experiences.  She has made some beautiful donation rewards that capture the sentiments of her project. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013


Elizabeth Orton Jones 
This was our bedtime reading chapter book all summer long.  I could tell Charlotte liked it when she asked if we could read more about "Stick" (!).

The writing at times feels very vintage but the story is cute.  A little girl named "Twig" shrinks down in size and befriends an elf.  She sets up house for them in an old can though elf proves to be a mischievous fellow.  They take turns watching Mrs. Sparrow's eggs and meet the Fairy Queen (who wears an adorable caterpillar as a "fur" around her neck).  These kinds of chapter books seem to be hard to come by today.  The stories are simple but well-written, the characters are sweet and innocent but still interesting.  It's nice to be able to read something wholesome to your kids at bedtime.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Day the Crayons Quit

Silly/funny books are always a big hit in my house (especially with Charlotte and Henry).  This one cracks us up.  All the crayons in the crayon box have written letters to Duncan, voicing their discontent.  Blue and Grey crayon are tired of coloring so much, Pink would like to be used more often for things like dinosaurs and cowboys, and Yellow and Orange are fighting over who should color the sun.  The funniest letter is from Peach crayon who has had his wrapper stripped off and doesn't appreciate being naked in the crayon box!  Oliver Jeffers' illustrations once again combine drawing and real life objects in a neat way.

Drew Daywalt
illustrated by Oliver Jeffers 2013

Other books illustrated by Oliver Jeffers: