Advent started early this year and while it seemed so soon after the girls’ birthday and Thanksgiving, I was feeling ready ! I was eager for our weeks of increasing darkness, the traditions of Advent, the girls’ choir, a joyful Christmas and our very sweet 12 Days.
We follow a theme for each week of Advent. Here is a well-known verse among Steiner schools which we loosely follow:
The first Light of Advent It is the Light of stones:
The Light that shines in seashells In crystals and our bones.
The second Light of Advent It is the Light of plants:
Plants that reach up to the sun And in the breezes dance.
The third Light of Advent, It is the light of beasts:
The Light of faith that we may see In greatest and in least.
The fourth Light of Advent It is the Light of humankind:
The Light of hope, of thoughts and deeds,
The Light of hand, heart and mind.
I decided we would focus our first week of Advent doing what we love and found a way to work it into our main lesson block: hiking!! We explored new trails and revisited some well-loved ones all while looking at the stones that make up the corner of our world. Colorado is an incredible place for geology– from the Rocky Mountains to the high-plateau plains to the massive dunes. There are canyons that rival those in Arizona and many lovely spots in between right here in our backyard. We visited: Sanitas Mountain and Valley, Settlers’ Park, the Old Kiln Trail and a new trail (to us) in Morrison. I focused on trails that had distinctive red sandstone of the Fountain Formation so we might notice how the “same” rock can be so different. What initially looked like only brown and tan rocks, maybe some “red” here and there, became shades of purple, pink, orange, yellow, grey, and so forth. My girls loved getting down on the ground, hugging and climbing the rocks to admire, examine, and wonder. In addition to the colors of the rainbow, we discovered beautiful new vistas, fossils, lichen and incredible rock formations (like the fins at Red Rocks). In the midst of our block on John Muir, we too found ourselves being called outside to the “school of nature.” We even rode our bikes to one of the trails! I’m grateful for the reminder, I feel at peace outside. Maybe that blanket of peace and joy was needed not to pave the way for the weeks of Advent, but for the news of Wendy’s death.
Morrison Slide Trail
Old Kiln Trail
Shortly into December we received the tragic news that Stephen’s sister died. It took our breath away. We talked about our time at the beach with her this summer, the last time Stephen checked in with her– about a song they loved. Our lives are constantly uncertain. We just never know. We paused and turned inward. Within a few days we were back in North Carolina to grieve and be with family. So much to say here. Wendy here in white tank top in between Scott and myself.