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wildgift

Mulberry Magazine is a beautiful publication for homeschooling families. Filled to the brim with goodness.

Here’s a little piece I wrote that is in the latest issue.

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We recently spent 5 weeks camping in Tasmania with our four children. Tasmania is the place our hearts love – every part of it holds a stunning new landscape to discover and opportunities for connecting with nature.

For us, our time together there as a family was both amazing, and occasionally hard work.

We were so lucky to have this time to spend together, something we had planned towards and dreamt about for months beforehand. Beautiful mountains and forests, beaches, caves and oceans all provided days of enjoyment. As did Tasmania’s museums, art galleries and op shops.

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And let’s be honest – at times it was also a bit exhausting. All the setting up and packing up, the six of us living in close quarters, wanting to do different things, having short tempers, getting eaten by mosquitos, getting rained out, deciding at a moment’s notice to move on ahead of severe weather, changing plans and all those sorts of things that go with being a family on holiday.

It’s funny how quickly the grumpy part of that time washes away and what’s left are the things we enjoyed, saw and experienced.

One of my strong memories that I’m left with is of our time together on Bruny Island.

We camped on The Neck, somewhere my family often camped when I was a child.

We had a great few days there – the campground to ourselves and kilometres of stunning beach on which we barely saw anyone.

It was lovely to layer these memories on top of my own childhood memories and imagine my children taking their families to Bruny in the future.

We built sand castles, moats, mermaids, raced in and out of the water, we played on the sand dunes and collected sea shells.

My eight year old daughter and I walked the length of the beach in both directions.

I admired her stamina and loved seeing her race on ahead or trail hundreds of metres behind.

The beach holds that marvelous open space where you can both see your children and allow them to have that freedom to explore by themselves.

I loved seeing her standing still staring out to sea and it was easy for me to see how she would be the one out of my four children to be captured by the moods and movements of the ocean.  Even at age eight her emotions are incredibly strong and solitary.

It was easy to feel like this beautiful and wild place gave her the space that she often needs but doesn’t always get.

The beach is an amazing place that invites mindfulness. The constant movement and noise of the sea, the placing of one foot in front of the other, or trying to place your foot in someone else’s footprints and scampering to avoid the incoming tide. These actions wipe thoughts away and all that is present is the people you are with and the environment you are in.

We’re so keen to encourage a love of nature in our children, which strongly influenced our decision to go to Tasmania and spend this time as a family in the captivating landscape that Tassie provides.

It still something that I had to remind myself of though, when I was ready to move on and continue to walk down the beach and my daughter was standing still staring out to sea. I remember that it’s important for me to stand silent alongside her.

It’s a little reward when she says of the sea, “It’s angry.”

Later my daughter offers me a ridged seashell that matches her own. We wonder together if the ridges measure years in the shell’s life or growing cycles and agree we’ll have to look into it.

These small moments are ones I’ll remember long after she has forgotten. Yet I hope that she always remembers that her childhood was filled with a great deal of time in wild and beautiful places and the feeling that being in Nature gave her. I hope that she knows that even while family holidays hold cranky moments that weren’t part of the plans and dreams, they hold love and respect, desire for connection, time for healing and space for growing.

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