one fine day

My son Ben is visiting during this week between graduation ceremonies and return for summer. And takes only one day to become inspired anew with an infusion of this magnificent young man’s energy…

It has become clear over the years that having a clear structure for his days serves Ben well. It is important for him to know how he will be interacting with each day. At his school, it is a consistent daily schedule of classes, lessons, work, social gatherings, outings, personal care, and designated computer time that becomes the foundation upon which he can build trust and explore what is in his heart.

I got to experience this is so many ways yesterday with him. After charting out a day together that would include some time gathering herbs in the woods, gardening, chores, individual work time, meal contents and preparation, outing destinations, movie selection, and even a hike, we proceeded out to greet the morning sun…

First on the agenda was gathering sweet woodruff from a large blanket covering the floor of the woods. P1140346 It doesn’t take long to fill the large parchment bag with snipped blossoms.  The smell is intoxicating and I love that Ben asks what they are for.  I tell him I will make a special wine and can use the fragrant dried herb for cooking too. P1140348 Next is the next task of transferring the two cubic yard mound of compost and soil just delivered for filling the raised beds. Ben is a master of working with long-handled tools (he can rake leaves for hours and says the favorite part of his job in the kitchen at school right now is mopping, smile). He expertly empties one shovelful after another into the two beds, and reminiscent of the happy dwarfs off to work in the story of Snow White, smiles his way through the activity, saying out loud that he is good at digging holes! We work through the morning, enjoy lunch together, have a successful outing to the grocery and garden stores where he makes several new friends with his outgoing and inclusive way, and arrive home to prepare for our hike.

I’m surprised at his enthusiasm for this activity, and am excited to take him on the walk up to the pond. The moment we step into the trail, he is exclaiming how much he loves this, already thanking me for bringing him here. His whole being exudes the gesture of outstretched arms saying yes! I love this! I love you! Before long I find myself telling him things, why there are so many stone walls, what they represent, the size of tree trunks, pointing out the wind patterns and reflections in the water, even about my relationship with Nora out here in the wild. It is a quiet banter, and with each offering Ben enthusiastically says thank you for telling him this history, thank you for bringing him here, thank you…

Oh, still my wildly beating heart, how I love this young man and his open happy sharing way…

We settle into the kitchen with our bottles of hard cider, our ritual now since he turned twenty-one, and begin to make pasta carbonara (with fresh Hadley asparagus!) together for dinner.  Ben chops and stirs and happily listens to my lesson on the importance of timing and process in cooking. Smile. We garnish each plateful with the beautiful tiny violets collected during our hike P1140347 and settle in to watch our movie for the night. I’m curious at his eager anticipation to watch the movie ‘Selma’ that arrived from Netflix the day before. It seems one of his teachers talked about it in class one day and so this movie already has meaning for him as something he can take back and share with his class. I’m concerned about what I know will be tough scenes of human beings hurting other human beings depicted in a graphic way but I am trusting that he wants to see this movie for a reason. As expected, the moments of non-sensical police brutality merit discussion. We talk about how fear of ‘difference’ makes some people do mean things. Ben engages with the movie on every level like he does, recognizing certain actors from other movies, noting a song to look up later, and ultimately stating the obvious. In this case, the obvious is white policemen hurting black people. The images, and the intense feelings they trigger, are just so hard to ignore. Of course, the parallel to the horrors still being perpetrated today is not lost on me. But for Ben, it becomes a simple awareness of universal fear, one he takes to sleep with him and dreams about.

He sits on the stairs this morning sharing his dream of ‘being afraid’ before giving his customary morning hug. I realize that talking this through can only get him part way back to his open heart, he needs to find a way to connect to his own experience of love vanquishing fear. I do the best I can. I trust the messages he is negotiating and ultimately, what will become truth for him in his own life, is swirling in his awareness ready to take root.

So much for one fine day. Can’t wait to see what today brings…! mom & ben

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