I'm learning, slowly, about the dance of push and pull that comes with parenting teenagers. I'm learning, as they teach me about just when to let them go a little bit, and then observing closely for the sign of when I think a push is required. And I'm learning, as I watch them, about how moving away from something is sometimes the only way to come back to it. And that at the age of 10, 12, 14 or whatever it may be - that 'rejecting' something - an idea, a lifestyle, an activity, a hobby - does not mean shutting it out forever. Especially if we (as the parents) can get out of the way and let go in time, there leaves an open and welcoming door for coming back in when and if the time is right once again.
To that note, and with a few years since he himself has attended any wilderness skills classes or expressing much interest in that regard, Ezra recently - quite out of the blue - mentioned that it had been a while since he had seen our friends the Knapps. He wondered aloud what they were up to as we filled him in, and then declared sincerely, "I'd really like to spend some time with them." And ever so casually - as casually as I could manage - my heart leapt a little bit and I said I'd reach out and see what they had coming up that might be suitable for joining in on. (And then of course I ran right to the phone and signed us up instantly for the next class. But he needn't know that part. Though I'm sure he knows.)
There was then, a serious drawing-of-straws to be had between Steve and I, as of course we both wanted to join him. But with Papa's weeklong summer river trip with the boys still fresh on the calendar, I won out on this one (sorry, Steve!).
(The classroom building, the root cellar, the cutest double-seater outhouse there ever was, and the earthlodge - our accommodations for the weekend.)
Over the years, I've shared with you here often about various times we've spent at Koviashuvik Local Living School (here and here I wrote about our Family Sustainability Stay, and Papa wrote about them here, featuring the short film they shot for Taproot, where in the pages of various issues you can also find the writing of Chris and Ashirah, the creators and teachers of Koviashuvik). It's such an important place for our family, and one where we are always inspired, and reconnected to friends and the earth both. I always leave our time there breathing a whole lot easier and more clear and dedicated to my path, whatever that may be.
It's been a few years since Ezra had been there, and I was eager to share with him - and to see for myself since my last visit - the changes that have been made. You know I love makers, and I particularly love seeing people make their dreams and visions a reality - whether it be in the form of a garment or a building! There is now, at Koviashuvik, an amazingly beautiful and incredibly useful classroom. A real place in which folks can gather to learn and create and share. What a blessing it was to spend our weekend days doing just that, at the helm of two great teachers.
And so, from brown ash tree in the forest to finished basket, we were gently guided through the weekend, with breaks for delicious food and good visiting. What a beautiful and fun process! And so much harder than I thought - my fingers are sore and my basket is flawed, but oh, we love them so much! We will oil them with a bit of linseed oil in the coming days, but other than that - they are ready for use. I envision mine being used especially in the garden for hauling in the harvest. And Ezra says he'll use his for long days in the city at theater or visiting friends in place of his back pack, and says that it will be perfect for the next time he spends some time in the woods at Koviashuvik or goes on an expedition with Krokka or someplace else like that (did you hear that? Mama did!).
As if learning alongside one of my children wasn't fun enough, there are all the moments of time in between that we shared. Because what exactly do two night owls do past dark where they're off-grid and alone in the comfort of pine boughs in a cozy earth lodge? Why they stay up talking, of course. A dream weekend all around, I tell you...one that I know we'll both treasure and hopefully repeat again so very soon. He's got the love for it, and now we've got the packs for it!
(If you'd like to learn more about Koviashuvik, check out their website and join their mailing list. They'll be announcing 2017 classes in the coming month. And in case you can't tell from my words, I recommend their offerings wholeheartedly!)