LIVING WELL / MOTHERHOOD

content

worth getting up for

When life gets full or overwhelming, I find myself continually coming back to the simple comforts in which I find respite from the swirling life around me–watching my hands and fingers rhythmically move with a pair of needles and yarn, measuring and mixing and pouring in the kitchen, pruning and shaping the fruit trees in the orchard that have been sadly neglected by past owners of our home.

There is something special about these processes. Something unique about them. It's the starting with nothing, but a few ingredients–a favorite ball of yarn and set of worn wooden needles, a jar of flour, some spices and cream, a tired sagging tree and a pair of loppers.

It's the ability to start with nothing and produce something. That's the beauty. That's the simplicity. That's where the joy comes from. In creating. In providing. In restoring.

In creativity realizing itself in work.

Of course, you'd have to know that Wendell Berry would provide even more inspiration…from Andy Catlett:

"..the thought has come to me that the old world in which our people lived by the work of their hands, close to weather and earth, plants and animals, was the true world…"

And another that always sits somewhere closely in the back of my mind, also from Andy Catlett:

"The world I knew as a boy was flawed, surely, but it was substantial and authentic. The households of my grandparents seemed to breathe forth a sense of the real cost and worth of things. Whatever came, came by somebody’s work."

Of course there are many things I want to pass on to my children, but if mine were able to reflect upon their childhood and be struck by similar things as these, I would be content.

worth getting up for

When life gets full or overwhelming, I find myself continually coming back to the simple comforts in which I find respite from the swirling life around me–watching my hands and fingers rhythmically move with a pair of needles and yarn, measuring and mixing and pouring in the kitchen, pruning and shaping the fruit trees in the orchard that have been sadly neglected by past owners of our home.

There is something special about these processes. Something unique about them. It's the starting with nothing, but a few ingredients–a favorite ball of yarn and set of worn wooden needles, a jar of flour, some spices and cream, a tired sagging tree and a pair of loppers.

It's the ability to start with nothing and produce something. That's the beauty. That's the simplicity. That's where the joy comes from. In creating. In providing. In restoring.

In creativity realizing itself in work.

Of course, you'd have to know that Wendell Berry would provide even more inspiration…from Andy Catlett:

"..the thought has come to me that the old world in which our people lived by the work of their hands, close to weather and earth, plants and animals, was the true world…"

And another that always sits somewhere closely in the back of my mind, also from Andy Catlett:

"The world I knew as a boy was flawed, surely, but it was substantial and authentic. The households of my grandparents seemed to breathe forth a sense of the real cost and worth of things. Whatever came, came by somebody’s work."

Of course there are many things I want to pass on to my children, but if mine were able to reflect upon their childhood and be struck by similar things as these, I would be content.

29 comments on “content”

  1. Yeah for Wendell Berry! If I had to chose a single person who has had the most influence on the kind of life I want to live, WB would be on the short list. I haven’t read Andy Catlett yet, and have been looking forward to it. Thank you for whetting my appetite, and for this lovely post!

  2. Yes!I am completely with you on that Molly. I get teased alot by people in my life who say that I never sit still, that I’m always “doing”…but I feel such contentment and satisfaction through creating. Simple things like baking a loaf of bread or sewing something for the afternoon, it feels like time well spent and it feeds my soul.

  3. With you all the way.

    For me it’s in the daily washing of dishes with hand knitted dishcloth (no dishwasher),polishing school shoes the ‘old fashioned’ way with a tin of polish and a brush and reaching, without having to think, for the bowl to mix the bread. Oh and taking five minutes in the morning to brush my daughters hair and talk. Being present in the moment with her just brushing her hair is a good rhythm for the school mornings.

  4. Thank you Molly and thank you Wendell Berry for those sentiments–such lovely wishes for all our children. I have those memories–I hope my children will as well.

  5. I love this post! It rings so true. We have lost something with in the fast pace world. Feeling and memories that can only be acquired through slowing down and noticing the little things. I loved the last quote because I couldn’t have put it into better words. My grandparents house gave the same feeling. They were hard workers but never in a hurry. They seem to get so much done but always with a calm & peaceful feeling about them. Stopping to enjoy many simple things and letting us be apart of it.Thanks for sharing this little reminder of just how truly important this is, far more than getting ahead in the fast lane.

  6. Thank you for introducing me to Wendell Berry. How have I missed him and his writings?? I mean, I was so totally unaware of his existence, that when I read your post, I originally thought Andy Catlett was the name of the writer, not the title of a book.

    Now I am going to have to do two things: take a much closer look at your “Reading” section in the sidebar (in case there are other gems I am missing,) and then visit my library!

    Thanks for the lovely post. It expresses my feelings exactly. It saddens me that my children are coming up in a world that is so disconnected from…oh, from almost everything! Entertainment is instant and passive. Food comes fully prepared in paper and plastic. Clothes and household items are bought ready-made in big box stores. (((sigh))) I will stop now before my “brief” comment turns into a long rant. I can do that at my own blog! ;-P

  7. Such a simple wish, from what we call a simpler time, but it is very hard to push against the cultural de-valuing of everything, especially creativity and hard work. We have to flex our muscles.

  8. oh, so true. lovely post.i found you through molly at foothill home companion awhile back i think, and have been enjoying your blog for a while now.enjoy your day.

  9. I love that thought about the old world being the true world. I’ve blogged a lot about the New Old-Fashioned Life that I’m seeking, and I think that is exactly what he means. Thank you so much for sharing the author.

  10. I worked for an apple orchard for about 10 years, I started when I was 12. It’s at the end of our street and kind of being let go because kids don’t work the same way they used to and the owner can’t find anyone who wants to work hard. It makes me sad. It was the best job I’ve ever had, the work was tough, especially pruning during the winter, but it was sooo satisfying. I would love to buy that orchard and build a little country store on it, and be able to quit this awful unsatisfying 40hr week job.

  11. Perfect. I just brought out Brooke’s sewing today–for her to work on while I was writing an article. There is such satisfaction in creating with the hands God gave us.

    I see your Birds of Prey and Animal Tracks books on your sidebar. Tuesday morning we’re meeting another family at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in the city, and we’re using awesome Animal Track memory cards we got on etsy. SO fun–especially this time of year!

  12. ahhhhh…i know what you mean…i want my darlins to have memories of old fashioned things and being outside…not video games and tv…luckily they are 4,3 and 1, so we haven’t ran into that one yet…i just wonder what their memories will be!

  13. That photo is beautiful. When my life gets stressful and overwhelming, I always need to step back and spend some time with knitting needles or fabric and a good cup of tea.

  14. When I started to read your very first paragraph, I immediately thought “Oh, that sounds just like Wendell Berry” and then . . . Your agrarian life is beautiful, and I think that the whole purpose of the “farm life” is to enjoy hard work and the fruit of your labor. When can we come visit?! I’ll bring pear preserves. 🙂

  15. I love this, and I love that you are able to offer that lifestyle to your children. Though I would in so many ways love to get out of the city and toward a way of life more in harmony with the earth, I know that it’s not realistic given where we live, our income, and so on. (Real estate, particularly for acreage of any kind, is out of control out here. Out of control.) So, we’ll stay here in the suburbs and make the best of what we have. And it’s pretty good, mostly. 🙂

  16. Thank you, thank you, for the lovely Wendell Berry words. This is such the right time of year to remember the importance of making things by hand. I don’t know about you, but my hands have been doing nothing but slicing, stirring, filling, and scrubbing for the past two weeks. It’s canning season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.