If we can find a way to have an afternoon free for a getaway, a favorite place of ours is Fitzpatrick Winery and Lodge. A simple ploughman's lunch becomes a work of art, especially against the canvas of a spectacular view that goes for miles. We admired the rows of vines, the changing color of the grape leaves, the last cluster of morning glories that were splashing a bush with color, and the bit of breeze that made the temperature perfect. We had many things to talk about, but they suddenly seemed less important than just soaking in the view, enjoying each other's company, and pausing to be grateful.
The serious talk about our school plans and goals, and how we can support each other as the year unfolds, all happened later over espresso closer to home, but the rejuvination from a few hours of alone time was just as valuable for our preparation. Tomorrow is Day One of our new homeschool year. We'll have a ceremonious trip to the lake where we like to walk, complete with a picnic breakfast. We hope to enjoy a jog or walk around the lake, maybe even play some volleyball, and then have a good family talk about the year. Everyone seems excited, the egg/hashbrown casserole and coffee cake are all ready to bake early in the morning, and it has all the signs of a great beginning. The big bonus is that we are starting on a public school holiday, so my husband will be here. That is important because, even though he doesn't happen to be the one looking over everyone's shoulder or snuggled up on the couch each day, he is an integral part of what happens here, and we all like to have him here for as much as possible.
I have two things in the front of my notes as I start my school year (posted with deep thanks to the lovely woman at Seasonal Soundings.)
From T. H. White's The Once and Future King:
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn... “is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, ...you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you.”
From St. Thomas Aquinas:
Creator of all things,
true source of Light and Wisdom,
lofty source of all Being,
graciously let a ray of Your Brilliance penetrate
into the darkness of my understanding
and take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
sin and ignorance.
Give me a sharp sense of understanding,
a retentive memory,
and the ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.
Grant me the talent of being exact in my explanations,
and the ability to express myself with thoroughness and charm.
Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
help in the completion.
Through Christ our Lord.
Wish us well -- another year is underway.