May Day! The first day of the season for Old World Wisconsin. We were open to the public as well as conducting school tours. In the German area, there was only one school of 68 students that came through. In the Crossroads Village, they had 3 tours with students from 4 schools, one of which was a group of 8th graders from France. I also had a single adult visitor, an adult couple, and a family with 3 children from Arizona come by. In other words….PEOPLE. Real, live people with stories and questions and backgrounds making connections. This is living history, after all. And I love it! I had so much fun with the 3 kids from Arizona who shaped dough and pounded the froe to chop kindling, and smiled and talked the whole time. They were enjoying themselves, and their parents were snapping pictures and asking questions. They were learning and engaging in a very comfortable way…they were homeschooling. I really like the small group interaction involved: 3 adults, 3 kids. Very nice. Somehow, when it’s a group of 21 kids and 3 chaperones, there’s almost more crowd control going on than learning. Or so it appears. I hope they learned something; I hope they were listening and paying attention to more than just their classmates and the instructions the chaperones were giving.
So all of that went on in about an hour…and I had several more to kill. The great thing is that I don’t feel any pressure to be super productive the whole time. I chopped wood and carried water and washed dishes and tended the fire and sewed on my pin cushion and all of that good stuff, but then I sat down on the porch and watched a thirteen-striped ground squirrel scurry around the yard near the woodpile snarfing up dandelion seeds. Just quietly, listening to the birds. Minutes went by. I felt the land around me and thought about the sense of time and energy that a tree feels when it’s “busy” growing. The woods, the fields, the garden…they are living under the sky at a pace that is so different from us movers and shakers. They feel the air, the light changes, rain falls, things happen and they respond, but they don’t “react”. I want to learn more about that way of life. How long can you “not react”? It’s like practicing meditation. Breathe and be. Light changes, form changes. Breathe and be. Everything changes. Breathe and be. I think that’s what I’m learning from nature. I am very happy to be spending more time outdoors.