I write to you from a cool, sunny, and bright fall day here in the Finger Lakes of central NY.
I have been busy in the studio making new encaustic work, in preparation for two local shows here in the Ithaca area. The Factory, Holiday Art Market December 1-3rd. And The Little Red Wagon Artist Market December 9-10.
I had the privilege to deliver my first key note address at this year's Hope Montessori Conference in St. Louis a few weeks ago. My talk was titled Belonging and longing to be: Montessori Environments are Aspirational Microcosms.
It was such a gift to deeply immerse in this topic to prepare for the conference. In my little corner of the world here at honeypine, I spend alot of time in solitude. Just me, the trees, the pond, and the birds. It often feels like a portal to a deeper reflection. That is one of the benefits of off-grid homestead life. There are some disadvantages, of course. I'll tell you about those, too. But, the invitation to quiet contemplation is worth far more to me these days than the many small conveniences we trade for this life of beauty.
Contemplating belonging and how we as educators influence belonging forged many connections in my mind to homestead life. Nature is a perfect teacher, and I'm turning to her more and more with my questions. What is the shape of a life? What is the natural unfolding of a human consciousness? What do humans need to do to stop harming ourselves and one another?
As I tell "my" Montessori teachers in training, we have to begin where we are. In our small spheres of influence. Big change starts with tiny movements. It is easy to succumb to heartbreak when war is raging, both near and far. It is easy to tumble down, deeply into the numbing well of social media, letting the sounds and images flash by while we float in that liminal space.
But when you are ready to feel, practice feeling encouraged. You can walk through your small community and send daily small ripples of peace and compassion, that radiate out from little you. Your calm presence, your focused attention, your smile. The kindess in your eyes.
And when that feels impossible, rest. Here on the east coast, we are entering a time of dormancy as we move into the darker, shorter days. My instinct is to sleep more, read more, stay warm inside with my book more. Dormant does not mean dead...it simply means a state of rest and recovery, knowing that time will slip by and offer a new season of growth.
As you move into this quadrant of the year, what small embers can you coax into flame this winter season? What ideas have been repeatedly bumping into your consciousness, nudging you for your attention? I have been ignoring the nudge to study herbal medicine for nearly two decades. I recently enrolled in a year long, online herbal medicine course that begins in the Spring. In true Montessori fashion, I am learning from the experts that came before me.
I have a lovely stack of books in the honeybus to curl up with over the next few weeks while honeypine prepares to sleep under a blanket of snow.
What sparks your imagination this autumn?
I love to hear from you, so let me know!
With flaming imagination,