Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Baby

One of the things that was instilled in me from an early age is my duty to take care of all of God's creatures and adopt any stray wild ones that may cross my porch as my own. While I wasn't homeschooled, a love for nature is an essential part of Who I Am. And although we lived in the suburbs, I learned valuable lessons about wildlife at an early age.

I learned that sometimes your mother is fast and furious at making peanut butter sandwiches at 11PM because raccoons are scratching at the back door. Often this entails watching the raccoons pull the edges off the peanut butter sandwiches because "we don't liiii-iiike the ed-ges," and as a result you must stand firm in your resolve to love them nonetheless. As a homeschooling mom, that duty has been expanded to actively be aware of any and all opportunities for learning and to jump on them as "teachable moments."

If it means getting the girls out of bed in the middle of the night to have a field trip at the living room window for an impromptu lesson on nocturnal creatures, this, too, must be borne:

If it means not banging on the window when the nocturnal creature with a prehensile tail and more teeth than any other land animal (I didn't know that!) is using those sharp teeth to chew at the gourd you so carefully hollowed out to feed the pretty little wrens, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and such, then so be it.

If it means being glared at because there are no peanut butter sandwiches on hand and the handmade suet balls are secured tightly in a cage overhead, then it means you must kindly but firmly say good night and rustle your little girls into bed because, after all, then they don't need to be challenged by a pointy-nosed marsupial who was once a staple of southern cookery. This what its all about: Passing down treasured family traditions of feeding wild animals on the porch and teaching your girls essential knowledge like, for instance, that their night-time visitor gets her name from the Algonquian (Indian) word for "white dog." Sigh.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?