I try, as Mama, to pay close attention to the delicate balance of home and outward energy that we require to keep our equilibrium both individually and as a family. We're all so different - the seven of us - with different needs and levels of interests and responsibilities in the world beyond our doorstep. Though I know that days upon days in a row of activities out and about will throw some of our balance off kilter, sometimes it just must be done. There are good and wonderful things that we are each a part of in the community, and sometimes, all those things collide into one big mass of busy days. We're coming off a stretch of weeks just like that - a midsummer flurry of fun (with a whole lot of stage time, just as my big boys like it). And with it, with our settling into home, come some transitional bumps and kinks in the flow. I anticipate these things now, a few years into this gig, and do my best to accomodate them. For me, that "I'm home now and don't know what to do with myself" feeling is best met with some time in the kitchen, my feet firmly planted on the floor there - walking familiar paths in the room, reaching in familiar places for the things I need, and making a meal for the ones I love. It's one big long exhale into home, at the end of which I am calmer, comfortable and more centered.
For the kids - for us as a family - it is, and always has been (even when we lived in town), a walk in the woods. We need not venture far. In fact, the destination here is more often than not the "fallen down tree," a mere one quarter of a mile back on our property. But oh, that one thousand feet or so are full. Full of familiar rocks to jump on; swampy places that are likely to produce frogs to catch; mysteries to solve (how did that egg get there?); holiday trees to scout; mossy forest floors to sink bare toes into; walking companion cats to spot; tracks to notice; birds to listen to; and so many diversions until we ultimately make our way to, yes, a fallen down tree in the middle of the trail. There, I sit and listen. They climb and talk. And climb some more. After a while, sometimes ten minutes, sometimes an hour, the energy has shifted. It's quieter, more focused. And slowly, sometimes even without words, we then orient ourselves home.