‘On my table’

Linking up with Amanda at Habit of Being – November prompt-a-day

I tried to have a seasonal nature table. Honestly, I did. You know, those little sacred spaces in people’s homes, usually covered with items like acorns, pumpkins and gourds, maybe an autumn leaf or two. There’s almost always a little Waldorf-inspired felt gnome and maybe even a red and white spotted toadstool.

For years I have walked into friends’ houses and admired their little gnomes, all white fluffy beards and pointy hats crouching wisely beside those Fly Agaric toadstools. Little felt leaves with white-stitched veins, maybe a felted acorn, possibly a wee wooden house for Mr Gnome to retreat to in the evenings (no doubt with a fireplace and a cup of cocoa). Ahhh, so gorgeous, so homely, so tidy.

Yes, I tried. I cleared a side table, lovingly draped it with a golden piece of cloth and suggested that we go on a nature walk. The children and I spend a lot of time outdoors together. We cycle, walk, meander, stomp and stroll. We crunch through autumn leaves and slide across icy puddles. We take our penknives and make walking sticks, leaf crowns and flower garlands. We toss pebbles into streams and float leaf-and-stick boats on puddles. We take the camera everywhere so we will remember our adventures. A nature walk is a Thing I Can Do.

nature walk

When we got home, my rosy-cheeked children stripped off their coats and boots. Then they each upended the contents of their bags onto the proposed ‘nature table.’ There were conkers, a morass of leaves, handfuls of moss, acorns scattered on table and floor, a mini-bonfire of lichen-covered sticks. No fluffy gnomes. No adorable poisonous fungi. It looked more like a compost heap than a nature table.

The children loved it. “It looks great!” they chimed. I nodded and smiled a slightly less enthusiastic smile. But I had to admit it did look rather wonderful: all this lovely stuff accumulated indoors, a sort of tangled mass of outdoor family exuberance.

The nature table stayed this way for weeks. Sadly, no gnomes moved in. They’d come to view the property, complain about the lack of cocoa and an en-suite bathroom, and never return. We were even shunned by the gourds and pumpkins (“We’d rather be in soup!”). But it was our nature table, unique to our family, and probably much more like our tousled-hair family than a tidy, homely tableau of nature’s bounty. And most important to me, it was kid-made and kid-loved.

Since the inception of the nature table, our walks always produce new finds. The four year old skips over to me me with broken poo-encrusted feathers or slug-slimy wet leaves and shouts joyfully, “We could put this on our nature table!” And I smile and say, “Wonderful! You can carry that!”

©Lisa Hassan Scott 2013.

Many thanks to Amanda for providing short daily prompts for writing and sharing them on Twitter with #writealm and on her WriteAlm Facebook page.



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