Russ and I are up a little before seven; it is raining and we are drinking coffee. The kids are in various stages of waking up, but for now there is mostly quiet. We are talking about our search for meaning, how we want to find who we are and what we were really meant to do on this earth, in this life. I don't want to go to the grave with nothing more but good intentions. We talk about our quest for the direct spiritual experience. Some people seem to find great meaning in going to church services, but that has never done it for either of us. We think what it would be like to belong to a true community of believers, who did not follow any one scripture word for word but opened ourselves to receive the spirit directly. And we would have some incredible bluegrass gospel music at every service.
We talk about how our closest spiritual experiences have been in nature, particularly on beaches. We recall one beach in Mendocino County, California, where we spent a totally unprogrammed day listening to the waves, building driftwood sculptures and using driftwood sticks to drum on the bigger logs. It seems we felt close to God then. We talk about other places, other beaches: Edisto Island in South Carolina, Park Point in Duluth. We talk about our childhood memories of beaches and wild places, Russ in the coastal lowlands of South Carolina at his grandmother's house, I at my grandpa's place on the St. John's River in Florida. I used to walk out on my grandpa's long dock and watch herons, egrets, anhingas, snakes, crabs, and other creatures at the water's edge. The best times were when we would take the boat out; we even saw manatees out in the river.
We talk about fishing, how Russ took it for granted that everyone had a mile long pier on Lake Erie to fish from as a child. He and his buddy used to go out every day and fish for perch; it was within walking distance from their houses. They didn't need an adult to drive them, and it was totally unprogrammed, not "soccer practice at 6 at the humongous complex ten miles away from home".
We talked about travel, how we long to go back to some of these places in our childhood and discover new places. Public schools make it difficult; travel must be planned during school breaks, although it can be done during the school year the administrators make you feel like you are breaking the law and disrupting your child's learning process if you want to take them out for a week or two.
Lately we have been discussing the need to preserve folk knowledge, of building techniques, cooking, canning, sewing, and knitting. I don't know how to knit; I learned to crochet as a teenager and made one afghan, but I am curious about knitting. I want to spin wool and make wool socks and sweaters. We look through the course catalog from North House Folk School in Grand Marais; here they teach everything from knitting to boat building. Perhaps I can revive some of my Scandinavian heritage through knitting.
Just some rambling thoughts on a rainy June morning.