We arrived home from Nova Scotia last month to a wall of wild (ish) sunflowers on the northeast corner or our property. We did plant sunflowers somewhere, once upon a time, not fully aware of how much they tend to migrate, but we did not plant these. Usually we allow a few to pop up here and there and clear out the rest so that the garden proper can grow. In our summer long absence, they took over all of the raised beds, Jerusalem Artichoke patch and everything in between in this corner of the yard.
I was not entirely sold on their presence at first. I was happy to see something growing, since we didn’t have a garden this summer. Then I noticed the birds and honey bees coming to visit the patch throughout the day. And slowly it dawned on me that those little circles of sunlight had created a natural buffer between our porch and the street in front of our house. A little extra something to take the edge off of the traffic racing up and down the street. I can sit with my morning coffee or afternoon tea in relative privacy, which I am entirely sold on.
Not even two full weeks into the school year and I’m reminded just how much we all need a little buffer from day to day: the entire family is sick with colds. Thankfully no one seems too worse for the wear except for yours truly. Whenever I fall ill I remember that we really need to plan for this eventuality–meals in the freezer if nothing else–but then I get better and all is forgotten and somehow a belief that I don’t get sick resurfaces. Maybe it’s forgetfulness. Wishful thinking. Or maybe it’s a little big of succumbing to the world’s message to stay at home parents–that they have to be super human to make up for the fact that they “don’t work,” or having any “income.” Of course working parents are expected to be super human too because they “do work.” And then there’s the employees without families who are expected to pick up all of the slack because there’s no one waiting at home who needs help with Spanish homework.
No matter who we are, from somewhere and someone the message is always streaming towards us “there’s more you should be doing.” Thankfully, I’ve come to recognize this voice as not my own and no longer harbor guilt around moving slowly, being mindful, doing what can be done and leaving the rest for another day. But it is still hard to watch certain things in our family life come to a standstill when Mama is down for the count.
So what your buffers, my friends? What do you have in place to make life a little easier? How do you work around those days when you’re not 100% and the world expects you to be? How do you make space to protect yourself from modern life?