This evening, we decided that the Math Gnomes are actually Element Gnomes, representing Earth, Air, Water and Fire, as well as the four operations. The Equals Gnome has always been the Queen of the Gnomes, so that remains her character. I was playing with a sixth gnome in a sort of shaggy green robe, and I decided to call her the Swamp Gnome, and in our Gnome Convocation this evening, the Swamp Gnome was responsible for the coming together of all the elements. I thought this was a brilliant way to represent the spirit at the center of the circle–Swamp Gnome, the eldest of the gnomes, brings them all together. My elder son, ever the thinker, was really uncomfortable with this: “Mom, there is no Fire in a swamp! Swamps are really a combination of Water and Earth.” I thought that the will-o’-the-wisp would qualify, but he said that will-o’-the-wisp is extremely rare, so it hardly gives Fire an equal place. He’s right, of course, so I said that perhaps the Fire part of the swamp is the life force in the plants and trees, but he thinks that’s the realm of Earth, and it is a strong argument. “And anyway,” he said, “You have the Queen over here, and she is really the center, the place where all the Elements come together.” When did he get so wise? And I am in awe, having spent part of my evening discussing the philosophy of the Deep Nature of Things with my son.
I feel a need of a caveat, just to make it clear: I do not always feel like a success at this parenting business. I yell and ignore and belittle and cave in way too often. That is one of the reasons moments like this one are so sweet–it reminds me that I can mess up regularly, but these people are going to grow into themselves despite my messy momming.
Oh, and there was this, too: He was actually playing on the iPod while the younger one and I were playing with the gnomes. My gnomes were having a meeting, and the Queen was checking in with each of her helpers. At one point, he stopped his game and looked over at me: “I think your gnomes are having a formal meeting, Mom, using formal language. They probably should not be using contractions.” Indeed. Ahem.
Fred the Dragon captures the Queen.
How did Mystery encounter you today?
In thoughtful conversation with a child on the nature of things.
What awakened you?
The breeze in the evening as the sun was setting out of Skunk Hollow. The cool of the day.
What nudged you forward?
The singing group kith+kin, whom I just now discovered when I was looking for a version of the song “The Cool of the Day.” Sublime.
Also, working in my classroom today.
What sits in your heart?
Satisfaction, delight, quiet care, tending the spirit, peacefulness.
Some deep sadness remains–there is always an undercurrent of deep sadness, no matter how content and joyful my own place is. Someone is always suffering. While I can keep that ocean of sadness outside the door most days, I know it is there, and some days it wants to be acknowledged.
What do you take deeper?
My children. Mothering. Preparing the space for my students.
What do you offer tomorrow?
Intention. I will be present to my moments.
May we walk in Beauty!