Wonder Round (Sept. 16-- 22, 2018) / by Hayden Michelle

As I am late in sharing a recap of this week, I realize that several of these entries are about the passage of time, which seems to go by all too quickly. I am hoping to get back into the flow of a slightly slower pace, and wish you all space and rhythm, as well…

(“This morning I awakened with a smile on my face, feeling deep gratitude for my nephew’s wedding. The word his mama used when we were leaving last night, 
was “full”. My heart is wide open, having witnessed the deep love, joy, celebration, connection, and beautiful and moving expression of emotion... reminders of these powerful elements of life.”)

(“As we begin yet another chock-full week, I am noticing a desire to check and recheck my daily planner, making sure not to miss what is scheduled as one day unfolds into the next. I realize it is also taking me out of the present moment, which offers the chance to be grounded in what is happening in front of and within me. Hopefully, this bit of awareness will carry over into increased frequency of stopping to breathe, feeling my feet on the earth, noticing who and what beauty is surrounding me, and centering in the gratitude of each moment, as that is truly all we are ever sure of experiencing. Wishing you all peace and centering as you enter what lies ahead in your week...”)

(“Although I have been up working on art since 4:30a, it has not been on this circle... I spent it preparing sculptures for juried review, which will be transported after I finish this post. As my body was trucking through the room towards the car, feeling I did not have enough time to paint, I decided to give myself 15 minutes to put pigment to paper, and call it a day. It is surprising how even taking a few moments to create can bring some relief, as well as some outward expression of what we are feeling inside. Onward!”)

(“The open cavities within this circle remind me of doors, and how difficult it can be to decide which one to enter. Having choices helps, as does making space to discern what is best for us in the moment and in the long run. Sometimes I wish we could magically create these for each other when in need...”)

(“Finally, we are heading into the fields and woods today, after way too many hours in the car and buildings in the recent stretch of days. I have realized how much I am missing the feel of fresh air on my skin, the sounds of the breeze and birds, the hum of insects that sing autumn in... so grateful to meet up with Red Oaks Center for Nature and Arts pals, and to soak up some warmth from the sun (plenty— hot one ahead!), watch the kids run through flower-filled fields, and engage in lots of romping in the cool and welcoming creek that awaits. Hoping everyone can find access to whatever bits of nature you can find, and soak up some of the replenishment, solace, and joy that is offered there...”)

(“As we spent hours creekside yesterday, it was so interesting to watch the kids play, from ages 2-15, and to watch the adults join in, one by one in various engagements, until there was no distinction between the two. Delight was evident in the satisfying work of building impressive dams using rocks washed in from recent flooding, sculptures built on the sand and on top of a very long thick root that had washed up, silhouetted by a series of hand-rolled grey clay spheres using clay mined from the hillside that had eroded and been left bare, tunnels carved into the same hillside (hoping to “reach water”), trains and pretend snakes built out of rocks that were pushed into the wet sand. Others discovered a fallen tree that became an amazingly bouncy seesaw that had the benefit of plunging into water on the descent (offering relief from the 90 degree temperatures), and many found secret hiding spots that had been formed by nests of branches and trees and new currents of water, offering refuge for their pretend worlds.

It was so lovely to see the release from daily worries and routines as minds opened to sink into the natural elements in this magical place— a reminder that play is easier than we think, if we pause but for a few moments and engage with what is around us. These were such gifts from a few hours of slowing down and being with beauty and creative energy, led by the modeling of our children. I feel deep gratitude for all those who work tirelessly to create these experiences for our children (and us!) in nature, while remaining dedicated to home educating their own—a huge thank you, committed leaders at Red Oaks Center for Nature and the Arts (@redoakscna).

(“Some may find these dark colors depressing, but I find them soothing and reflective, and often, I gravitate towards them. Sinking into their depths, I find quiet, and often, beauty, as the pigment is rich and generous, blending outward with luminosity, despite the dark... The motion in this space became complex and interwoven, and brought to mind how this mirrors our lives, filled with experiences that are minutes or years in the making. I continue to both struggle with and embrace that which has gone into the fabric of my being, knowing deep down there is no other way to be me. We are all works in progress (thankfully), and will continue to grow within the weave of these same threads, adding new color, thickness, texture, and pattern along the way.”)