Lines, curves and lessons
A day after a snowstorm can be such a beautiful, quiet and inspiring time to be outside. Especially when the sun shines as it did today. The snow is touched only by animal tracks here and there or where branches released their collected snow to the ground when the wind swept through. On this crisp, cold morning, we suited up in our warmest clothes (and several pairs of socks!) and took a walk outside to notice the beauty of a new day.
At first a winter walk can flood the eyes with the ever present sea of white contrasting with grey-brown colors. It can seem as if there is nothing really to see. But to experience the fullness of a winter walk, we are called to look deeper. What else is before us? What are the majestic trees teaching us in their barrenness? With the blank slate of white canvas, what are the shadows showing us?
Instantly I was taken aback by the gorgeous pattern of lines and curves everywhere I looked.
For me, the lines show strength, certainty and rootedness. Clear and direct answers. Confidence.
Then we notice that wherever we see lines, there inevitably is a curve not far away. Sometimes we have to search for it, sometimes it is right before our eyes. The curve softens our view. It allows our eyes to relax and rest in the gentleness of its contour.
Being a 'Waldorf-inspired' homeschooler, I suppose I am predisposed to seeing things as lines and curves since it is part of the introduction to form drawing that happens in first grade.
After making note of all that we saw outside through that lens, we came in and continued our search for lines and curves.
A child doesn't usually begin first grade until age seven, in the Waldorf tradition. The first seven years of life are largely all about play. About imitation. About the daily work and rhythm of the day. This girl of ours is six and a half and is itching to join along with the more 'formal' lessons of her brother and sister. While we will still mark this fall as a big deal for her - when she gets her own main lesson book (not just mommy's homemade construction paper ones!) and has special lesson time just for her - we are certainly flexible about introducing some things 'early'. She has been loving tin whistle lessons with Daddy (something that also is started in first grade with a recorder) and today seemed like the perfect day to start her on some basic form drawing (check this out to read all about -and maybe even more than you might ever wanted to know- about form drawing!).
Forms drawing begins with lines and curves. From the linked article:
"In general, angular forms are related to thinking, they have an awakened tendency, and increase alertness and concentration. Curved forms, on the other hand, call on the unconscious forces of the will, they have a relaxing effect...Designs combining straight and curved lines are more balanced, tending to neither extreme, and are related to the ebb and flow of feeling."
So a lesson for our girl and also a lesson for this mama, that at a time of either/or about so many things, that it is helpful to remember to work instead from the both/and mind, as spiritual teacher Richard Rohr calls it. And to find ways to hold both at the same time, allowing them to be as they are, while appreciating the strength and power of each.