Everywhere I look, green. At every meal of the day, collard greens and mustard greens and kale greens, alongside dark green kale rapinis and light green turnip rapini. There are some purples working there way in as we harvest wild violets for fun and the sprouting broccoli from the field, and the purple cape cauliflowers are heading up nicely. But mostly, it is green, green, green.
The grass is growing–really growing–a bright and tender green. The willows have new neon looking leaves coming on and soon the other trees will start to put on their clothes too. Everything is greening up as we get so close to the spring equinox I can barely stand it; I am so excited for more sun, or daytime as it were here in the Pacific Northwest. Even though we have had snow (!) more than a few times this March, and even though spring for us means rain and rain and more rain, the changing landscape and longer days feel good. So refreshing.
And yesterday, in the midst of getting ready for a small birthday sleepover for our second boy, born on the spring equinox eight years ago, we all scrounged up something green to wear and checked our Leprechaun traps for magical creatures and treasure in honor of St. Patrick’s day.
This used to be an “enjoy a–or many depending on what age we are talking about–Guinness or other finely brewed beer” day. Now it is a fun for the small fries kind of day since they love holidays so much and in our home this usually means some kind of feast. St. Patrick’s day is the easiest, Irish fare being so simple. Some lamb maybe, or sausages. Potatoes, cabbage, onion–all good mid-March farm food. And that is usually it, our passing nod to Ireland and our own heritage (we have Irish blood on both sides).
This year, since we were having extra children over and because it was Luca’s choice, we had homemade pizza instead.
And this year, as the farmer and I start to think about studying history with the children as they get older, I was particularly struck by this article. We are finding ourselves hard pressed to keep things simple and pleasant as we delve deeper into these studies, even as we try to take things slow.
Our smallest learn history through stories. They can get an idea of how people lived in other times without too much blood to worry about. Sometimes we can investigate further and visit museums or check out other books about various time periods to extend our understanding. All in all, though, we don’t tend to get into any of the nitty gritty.
But our precocious older child, so keen on growing up faster than he needs to–once he finally reaches the level of maturity his taste for talking about current affairs and the seedier side of history necessitates, I hope to share both the good, the bad, and the ugly with him so that he can learn to critically examine the things that have happened before him in this tale of humankind so that he will then be able to critically examine the things that are going on around him.
The history of Ireland is just one of many stories that isn’t all that pretty.
And as the article points out, the great potato famine provides a pretty important lesson for today. As the genetic diversity of farmed crops and the seed banks both shrink, it doesn’t hurt to give the lumper potato and the famine in Ireland some of our time.
For the farmer and I, we find that there is still so much to be learned from the past. So much that we weren’t introduced to in our studies of history at school. So much misinformation or generalization it is maddening.
So this St. Patrick’s day we looked a little closer at this time in Irish history. When our kids get (much) older, we’ll discuss it with them too.
For now, while they are still so innocent and young, I am happy to get a pinch before I get dressed for the day when I didn’t go to bed wearing green, and to imagine that at the end of every rainbow there really is a pot of gold.
And it is both of these things that are so important to do as we live this life. We must look hard to discover both the shining gold and the smoke and ashes of our story.