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Tomorrow marks the end of summer vacation. Three of five children will return to school. The oldest, Alex, will start classes at the community college in a few weeks, and McKinley is homeschooling. Because the group with which I will homeschool doesn’t start until later this month, the rascal (McKinley) and I have a chance to move into the new homeschooling pattern slowly, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. He is excited to be homeschooling. I am apprehensive and hopeful.

This summer has been no vacation. It seems that it’s just been one thing after another, starting with the very first days. There have been many fine accomplishments, most specifically in the garden, but at this point I feel–not exhausted exactly, not overhwhelmed–just sort of washed out.

Still, the threads of mystery, wonder, and guidance weave themselves into my life. The beginnings of a story that I’m writing lead me down into the fertile void of my own Underworld. The Goddess watches over my work, spinning silk from her black belly, and I’m pulling out the strings of self-denial and pulling that lustrous black silk through the empty spaces. A pattern emerges, and I step back and marvel at its unique beauty.

Last night after dinner we loaded up the Benz with seven swimmers and drove down the road to the swimming hole par excellence. With one flash light we scrambled over rocks and roots to the lip of the pool. And we slipped into the black water that mirrored the slice of moon.

There was nothing in recent memory to compare to the magic of swimming in the black waters of night, bats flitting overhead, moonlight glimmering on the surface, cool water on skin, cloud overhead. When we got home we laid blankets on the deck and listened to the swelling chant of katydids. Renee saw an elephant in the stars, and McKinley marvelled that binoculars made it possible to see even more stars.

“How many stars are there?” he asked me.

“We are still counting, McKinley. Every time we build a bigger telescope, we see farther into the Universe, and find more stars to count.”

He starts to count, “one, two, three, four…” But he stops after awhile, arrested in wonder, and we gaze into the black spaces of the sky, knowing that with the right telescope that void would fill up with stars. But we have only our eyes and our imagination. And that is enough to peer into the depths of the Universe, and be filled with fertile mystery.


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