Back in Auburn, Juliana has been working really hard in her gardens. We all spent the day there with her in celebration of her birthday. The gardens are looking amazing and she has begun some of her spring harvesting.
I've been working on some small projects that have been on "the list" for a long time. These include backsplashes for the kitchen and bathroom (using some tiles painted by Sophia and Grace), pictured below.
Juliana and I also created a screen for the skylight so it could be open on hot nights without bugs coming in. As is often the case with a round building, it was a bit of a challenge. We were able to work something out with Juliana's fine sewing skills and some strong magnets.
As our time living here full-time runs short, I have been looking around for what needs to be done. It will be a lot harder to complete projects when our presence is sporadic. Conversely, I also feel like I need to make the most of my last days of "chillin' out"! I think I have entered a wrapping-it-up phase: I have visited Redwood and picked up curriculum I need to review for my teaching assignment next year, we have set a return date to San Rafael, we are starting to plan move-in work we need to do there, we are finding homes for the animals that won't return with us. Instead of signing the kids up for Auburn activities, we are looking to Marin recreation departments. The light at the end of the tunnel for the homeschooling assignments brightens and our end of the school year events--a trip to the East Coast and a week of backpacking in the Sierras--approach quickly.
I've deeply enjoyed this past year and found much meaning in it. I feel rejuvenated. We made a wise choice. I have been feeling so happy here and relaxed and together with my family. But could I do this indefinitely? Maybe not. Perhaps part of what has made it special is that it is temporary. I am isolated. I know my children feel that way some. I miss doing my work in society (of course the time with family is significant, too). I miss riding my bike to work. I miss my people. And being the dad, teacher, principal, counselor, truant officer, event planner and organizer, house builder, landscape developer, maid, and herder of children 24/7 is tiring.
As I start to move back mentally, I am reminded that I enjoy the challenges and rewards of my "regular" job. Also, our recent visits remind me of how rich I feel to be surrounded by the community of friends and family we love.
Still, being back at work and having so much less space and quiet will be an adjustment. It feels unsettling right now and probably will continue to for a while. Have I made enough of this year? Am I making enough of my last months? How will the return be? My goal is to find a place where I can remember the peace, fun, and togetherness I have felt here and bring it with me to the rest of my life. Part of that memory needs to be that even "living the dream" involves living--in all of its messiness and imperfection. Gladly, both of our places will continue to be our homes and we will be able to merge them experientially and not just from memory.
I've been reading a book (Hot, Mark Hertsgaard) that considers how the world will look in 2050 due to climate change. It is pretty heavy, but I really liked this quote of Charles Darwin's that Hertsgaard
shared: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
The Stewarts have made some significant (in some ways, temporary) life changes this year and will be making some more in the months to come. How will we respond?