Saturday, February 11, 2012
It seems like whenever we women begin to talk about monthly cycles, the old time menstrual hut is often mentioned. Throughout history, cultures have had various traditions in dealing with a woman's monthly cycle. Some women were not able to participate in religious activities during their menses and others were sent to stay in a separate shelter during that time. In Hawai'i, this was called, Hale Pe'a. The women were allowed to have a break, being served food and water by the older women of the village. Men weren't allowed to interact with them. They were free to weave and babies were often left with another lactating woman in the village to nurse.
Always, somewhere in the conversation regarding these huts, I lament with my friends about how sad it is that things aren't like they used to be. Why can't we take a break when we have our periods and let the family wait on us, coming out of that week relaxed and even having accomplished some sort of quiet work that requires no interruption? Is that how younger women managed to weave cloth, baskets, and spin yarn? Why can't we go back to the days of the village?
How has modern American society come so far from traditions held dearly for thousands of years? I think it traces back to the way our country was founded. People came to the North American colonies for a fresh start, free from many old ways that had somehow become law. By nature, many settlers were rebels and independent thinkers, like a teenager or a toddler trying to understand their place as a person on this planet. Villages meant old ways: a new wild country meant freedom and new ways. The hard part was that in creating new ways, the wisdom hidden in the old ways was lost.
The nuclear family model of society seems to have been in part formed by the vastness of this new world. People moved to this continent alone, moved into cities alone and moved west alone. Villages based on country of origin began to form within the cities. People seem to have an inherent need for the support of of a community of people connected by some sort of common bond, with a variety of ages, skill sets and personality types to support one another.
I started thinking about social interaction in our current society. I think everything we do is really just trying to get back to the old time village. My husband loves to interact with fellow computer nerds on Google +. He calls his buddies on the cell phone when he wants to chat. I network with friends in a vast support web woven by texting, social media, phone calls, play dates for both mom and kids, church, 4H, sports and our homeschool co-op group. There are game nights and "get something done nights" hosted by a friend and by me. There are women's retreats and prayer group times.
We are created with the need for the village. We can't live in beautiful pili grass huts by the ocean, taking a break and having our mother in law bring us food in a calabash. But even if we don't have that old time Hale Pe'a, we can have a modern version of it. When I text a friend saying that Aunt Flo has come to visit and I'm ready to cry, she commiserates with me. She might offer to babysit, or better yet, offer chocolate. My husband often sees this time coming before I do, and there's this supernatural communication that happens between us when I refuse to do anything and go straight to bed, no tucking of kids. He knows it's his turn, and he's ok with it. He knows there will be a happier wife the next morning.
I think it's important to build our own village. Even if we can't live with our mom, or mother in law right next door. Even if we didn't grow up here, have no family here, or don't feel the same as anyone here. We can do it. We can find older women to mentor us. We can find people to mentor our fragile teenagers. We can find friends who will hug us when we are broken and who will listen when we want to whine. We can find the time to take a break from the insanity of our busy lives if we search for it. There is time to do those quiet and restful activities. There is time to spin yarn. The village is all around us, we just need to see it, live in it, and make use of it. Who is your village? What does it look like to you?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
|The materials you will need to float mount a photograph|
You will need:
Your photograph: I printed ours in 8x10 format with a matte finish.
1 exacto knife with new blade
A metal straight edge ruler
Spray adhesive. My brother used 3M. It was expensive, so I bought Krylon
You will also need a clean surface you can cut on. I used the old picnic table in our yard, but cardboard is what I'll use at school. You will need a clean cloth to smooth your photograph out when mounted on your foam core. You will need a clean surface, such as cardboard, on which to spray the adhesive on your foam core and photograph.
You're ready! Wash your hands well. Prepare your materials and surface. Read the instructions for your spray adhesive.
|Once all four sizes were cut at the 45 degree bevel, there were some rough edges, which we cleaned up by using the straight edge ruler to guide us.|
|Side view of the 45 degree bevel. The foam is ready to be used to mount our photograph!|
|We used a clean cloth to smooth the photograph over the foam core, ensuring a good strong mount.|
|We used blue sticky mounting putty to mount the photograph on a wall in our home. You will find this in the duct tape aisle at your local hardware store or even at Target.|
|"Voila!" You have an aesthetically pleasing float-mounted photograph that people will go nuts over!|
Last year, my friend Kari shared some pictures of a beautiful park on Camano Island, and ever since then, I've been wanting to go there. The weather has been warm and sunny here for the past few days, so I thought I'd take her up on it when she invited me and the kids to go there on Friday.
English Boom Historical park is on the north shore of Camano Island. It's one of the quickest parks to get to on the Island because of this. We went at about 4:00 in the afternoon, so because the hills block the sun, it was shady and cool, even on this sunny afternoon. It's a nature preserve and there's a wooden boardwalk type trail through the salt marshes and it's right on the mud flats of the south end of Skagit bay. In the 1920's and '30's it was the site of a log boom, one of many huge storage yards along the sound, where logging operations would store, then ship out logs to many mills around the sound.
When we arrived, just one other couple was at the tiny park. The kids and I went straight out onto the sandy mudflat because the tide was out. We explored, finding barnacles and rockweed everywhere. There were bits of very old broken pottery scattered about that we guessed were probably remnants of the days of the log boom. We were careful to leave everything we found behind and admired the picturesque beauty of this place at the end of a lovely day. We'll need to go there again and explore the trail!
|mussel shells and alder cones|
|View of the Cascades. You can see Whitehorse, Three Fingers and Pilchuck|
|barnacles on wood pilings|
|levi found a garden tool|
|signs of people|
|a tiny little pond|
|feeling the squishy muddy|
|cute little pink shells|
|God had some fun with his paintbrush|
|dusk in Stanwood|