A Day Away from Gadgets

When I was a girl growing up on the wild edges of a civilized town on Connecticut, I roamed the outdoors a lot. My Dad is Remington man and gave us a wholesome appreciation for creation, whether flora or fauna. It was no surprise to anyone that I married a forester and helped him build this house in Vermont. What is a surprise is that our kids are glued to their computer screens and some consider going outside akin to going to the dentist. In the fleeting beauty of this fabulously gorgeous day, I determined to make memories.

Sunlight, trees, and sky have our complete attention.

Sunlight, trees, and sky have our complete attention.

We spent the afternoon along the Connecticut River with a picnic lunch.

Picnic basket and cider

Pulled pork on bulkie rolls, coleslaw, and fresh unpasteurized apple cider.

After we had our late lunch, Robbo put the canoe in the river and fished, Sylvia worked on her art assignments in the car, the boys toasted marshmallows, and I sketched in my nature journal.

2014-10-05 16.48.31

The Connecticut River setback, where in early morning Robbo hunts waterfowl.

Buckthorn

Buckthorn

What a perfect choice that turned out to be!  We came back refreshed and energized. Screens suck life from us; nature nurtures us back to life.

It really is beautiful in Vermont right now and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, of course, but fall is bittersweet, like the family feast after a funeral, followed by the widow’s desolation. Winter comes. From mid-January to April some of us will be miserable. Against the dark and the raw cold all we can do is hunker down and endure. I do confess, those are dark times for me.

But fall’s sweetness is in its fires. It is chilly, so my husband makes a cheery fire in the stove. Fall exhilarates me (aren’t we funny creatures!) because its minor chill threatens our comfort and we feel so strong and wise as we fight back with heat. Add to that the thick, aromatic soups and breads–and fresh apples–and fall makes us feel like a hardy race.

My first fall in Vermont, after having lived in Maryland for six years, came too soon, and I panicked. Not winter again! That year I started a list of the benefits of winter and discovered many. I realized until Christmas all is well. (Winter kicks in mid-January and doesn’t let up until near the end of April. Fresh green leaves appear the first week of May in my valley.) No bugs. No garden chores. Good food (maybe too much of it…) and time for social visits. In the long dark evenings we read aloud to the family.

My ideal winter would include daily adventures and broken gadgets. How do you handle the lure of the internet in your home?

About lettersfromheartscontent

Mother of six, homeschool teacher, tutor with Classical Conversations, wife to a forester and educator. I tend a perennial garden with a riot of blossoms, ride my bicycle in and out of the watershed, play ocarina and a boom-chick accompaniment when my kids feel like playing contradance music. I love being home, but I love an open road and adventure, too. Classical Conversations' Writers Circle carries my article on some aspect of classical education once a month.
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