Yesterday morning we awoke to a swirling snow, and upon awakening I recalled that in the night I’d heard the gusting wind and in the haze of half-sleep thought to myself how much sounded like a chant. Rising, falling, leaving off and rising again, the pitch changing according to the force of the air behind it.
After chores, I walked into the woods to collect what sap had flowed in the hours between yesterday’s gather and the cessation of the run. The northwesterly faces of the trees bore long stripes of caked snow, driven by the wind. The ground was soft, the snow sticky enough to not be slippery. There wasn’t much sap. Five, maybe six gallons. I hauled it home. It’s on the stove right now.
I am working on a project with Heather, about our respective experiences with home schooling. It is audio-intensive and interactive, which means it will also be about the experiences of anyone who participates. I am really enjoying the process, in part because I’m sort of fascinated by the audio component (and huge thanks to Erica for so generously sharing her Great Wisdom), and in part because I’m sort of fascinated by the conversations Heather and I are having. She is one of those people who says tremendously insightful things without even realizing she’s done so. This is a quality I deeply admire, and though I know it’s a stretch, I’m hopeful some of it will rub off on me.
So far, Heather and I have talked a lot about our respective – and remarkably divergent – paths, about socialization and community, about the challenges we’ve faced, about deschooling ourselves, and about honoring averageness in both children and adults. We’ve also tried to answer the questions Heather solicited, while acknowledging that every question has many answers, and that neither one of us has this all figured out. We’re as imperfect as anyone. In my case, at least, perhaps even more so.
It’s fun for me to be doing something new, and I’m super-excited about the possibilities. If this project is successful (admittedly, I have no idea what success looks like in this context, but I trust we’ll figure it out along the way), Heather and I have talked about tackling other subjects via this medium. I think the audio component lends a lot of warmth and spontaneity to the collaboration; our conversations thus far have not failed to take us in surprising directions. It also offers a way for folks to participate away from the screen, although to be clear, there will be an online component as well.
While I hope Heather and I will be able collaborate on more of these projects, I’m also looking forward to exploring ways I can include audio in my other work. I’m not sure yet what this will look (sound) like, but I’m enjoying how just thinking about it is impacting the way I hear the world. I think that many writers – including myself – have a tendency to focus on the visual, even as we lose sight (pun intended) of smell, touch, sound, taste, and so on. For anyone interested in improving their writing, I think it’s a great exercise to include at least one description from every one of these senses in their next piece.
It’s been a pretty good sugaring season. The bigger producers I’ve talked to are at about 3/4 of a typical crop, and there should still be a couple weeks to go. I’m glad we hung some buckets; we skipped last year in deference to our preparations for moving, then felt the absence. You do something long enough, and it sort of imprints itself on you, and you don’t even realize it’s happened until you stop.