Monday, September 5, 2011
Creating the World
Autumn. It's almost here and I cannot wait. I'm always going on about how important it is to be present -- to enjoy the moment... but this summer cannot end fast enough for me.
Some of my restlessness is the heat. We live in a pretty rural area and there is not much to do to escape the high temperatures. Some of my restlessness is my grief, I'm sure. I want to get on with things and leave this summer behind. I'm eager to shake off all of the funk and crust and emotions that are no longer serving me... and move forward into the cool, dark half of the year.
It's interesting how autumn, which is really and ending, is also the beginning. It feels like the right time for starting school, for getting back to the books. As the days grow shorter, our minds turn inward. As the nights grow longer, a deeper stillness settles within us. It's the time of year of introspection and rich, warm soup.
(Funny how this continuum of beginnings and endings seems to be a topic to which I keep returning. See: What Are the "Two Simple Happenings?")
We've been easing back into the school-year with half-days and will begin our full schedule September 12th with the full Harvest Moon. I like working with nature's rhythms like this. When we're tuned into our natural environment, we're more likely to also notice our changing inner-seasons.
We're trying on some unit studies this year and our first area of interest is mythology. I'm calling the lesson block, "Creating the World," and plan to look at cosmogonic myths from around the world and stories that illustrate our shared heritage as human beings. I have plenty of books on hand and we've checked out quite an assortment from the library --- as well as several audio books and DVDs.
We'll also look at some historical figures who have overcome hardship and/or helped shape the world as we know it -- people like Marie Curie, John Muir, Rachel Carson, Hellen Keller and Thurgood Marshall -- and explore how real-life heroes resemble the heroes of mythology. And, of course, we'll explore how each and every one of us is the author of our own story, creating our world each day with the choices that we make.
After everything my family has been through, I think looking at the hero's journey will help remind us that, while life is full of darkness, it is also full of finding the light.