Monday, 23 September 2013

Growing - Part 1

This year's spring and summer have been so very full that when I started to look through my photographs I was a little overwhelmed at the prospect of narrowing them down to a select few to post here. This summer's weather has perhaps been the best that I can remember for a long time which has been a true blessing for the family that spends a good deal of its time outdoors. Browsing through these pictures I see that we have certainly made the very most of those long, largely sun-filled days. We have walked, played in and explored more corners of this special place than ever before - particularly enjoying the good number of swimming and paddling spots in these valleys. Lumb falls, Blake Dene, Jack Bridge - we've done them all, complete with neon-orange arm bands which seemed to glow in the dark of those shady brown pools. We even found the almost mythical Gadding's Dam - a reservoir high up on the moors with its own little sandy beach.


As well as the paddling, there's been horse riding and bike riding, running and climbing, building and gathering, and watching our allotment grow and produce. The more we've been outside, the more at ease I have watched my children become, hair increasingly tangled and streaked with blonde; skin darkening and gathering scrapes and scratches, each telling a tale of an act of bravery or folly. They have grown alongside the vegetation they crawl through, becoming more sure-footed, more confident in their bodies with each passing adventure. They have discovered more by observing more - spotting bugs, birds and berries with the excitement of growing familiarity and knowledge. My own looking and understanding has been stretched with their help, their constant questioning and enthusiasm pushing us all to discover more, love more deeply.


I have realised too that we are shifting out of the little years; I am gratefully aware that I can now shower whilst the boys are awake - something I feared may never happen - and there are short fleetingly precious moments when I'm not immediately required and am able to daydream a little; creating tiny bubbles of sweet space for my weary brain. They are growing up I notice, and I am caught between wonder at the independent boys they are becoming and sadness for the babies they no longer are. I try hard to keep in mind that they grow lean but no less loving, they talk with more knowingness but make me laugh more and, perhaps the most beautiful thing for a mother, they grow better friends with each passing season. Of course they still bicker and fight (a lot!) but they've also become co-conspirators, accomplices, comrades. They pore over books together: imagine worlds and hilarious far-fetched scenarios; help each other when they're hurt and come running for me when one or the other gets stuck up a tree. Like peas in a pod, where you find one you'll invariably find the other: my little adventurers - curious, kind and always together.



Ian Hill said...

Hi Selina

This is a beautiful celebration of all that is wonderful about home educating. At times of doubt, remember the freedom of those summer days, the inquisitiveness of young minds not inured to the deprivations of school. As my oldest son approaches 16 and the other end of a home-educating career, it is good to be reminded of the value of conviction.

all best wishes


Rob_Shaw said...

I am those boys' dad. It's an inspiration to see the human beings they are turning into under Selina's stewardship and nurturing. I am so proud of them - and her.

Alice ~ Wandering Writer said...

what a beautiful summer you have had... I am sorry we didn't yet get to meet, but I am sure we will. It warms my heart to see your boys in these photos, i see my girl in many of the same and deep in my heart I know they are all truly blessed to be experiencing such a free and wild childhood. x

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful celebration, Selina. It took me back immediately to those childhood summers of my own, and it reminded me that these experiences you describe are becoming rarer in children's lives. Your sons are all the more richer for it.

"...they grow lean but no less loving." Beautiful. And thanks for the lovely images from the moors and pools around Hebden that I remember so fondly.

Best wishes,


Selina Gough said...

Thanks Julian, Alice and Ian - oh and Rob! I feel very lucky to be able to live the way we do and see how it benefits the boys.

Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Ah Selina, there's something about your view of the world that touches the very core of me. It's not just that we have walked the same hills, or have the same love of the moors and becks... It's as if you dip your pen in the well of my childhood, to write about the adventure of growing up, the undimmed hope of youth. You are a mirror for me of some of my foundation experiences, some things I had not thought to see again, reflected in your prose and photos. So I thank you once more for this gift, most especially now as I am leaving these shores, and my future lies on distant hills, under different stars. Maybe my life will be more spacious, with more time for poetry and more time to post. Blessings on you and your boys. Grow well.