Monday, October 1, 2012

A Quiet Michaelmas

Michaelmas daisies and apples blend harvest time into the festival.
Public battleground, or coffee and and a show!

Most people have heard of Saint George and the Dragon, the story of England's patron saint. That legend is often the story we reflect on when we explain Michaelmas to young children. Essentially the festival is about defeating the dragon (lurking within and without). There are many better blogs that explain the significance of the Michaelmas celebration and some of them can be found here:

Since our town's Waldorf school is only in its second year, there is no older class to help dramatize the story of Archangel Michael defeating the dragon. We will have to wait a few years for that to happen, but over our few years of homeschooling we have celebrated Michaelmas in various ways. Last year, our co-op had a day at the arboretum full of verses, songs, and games. This year brought a different approach and I welcomed the flexibility to weave our own observance in between a teething baby's needs and naps, our Daddy's coming and going, and my own low energy level from a bit of a busier week than usual. Fairy Girl suggested a nature walk. I aimed to take that walk by 1:00pm, but we didn't leave the house until 3:00pm. That slight delay did cause some grumbling, but I never know how long it will take bread to rise and I wanted to get the dragon bread baked before we left. We left it on the counter to eat when we were home again.

It was a bright and dry day. It was also a bit breezy on the mountain but still comfortable for t-shirts. The added bonus of hiking on my friend's property was meeting her newborn after the hike.  But I digress. When I called ahead she mentioned moose out and about. That scared me just a bit, but having been recently bolstered by the stories of knights defeating dragons, I hiked on; but admittedly, talking louder than necessary. I had previously hiked this trail in a group with other mamas, so I guess I prefer people to wildlife...

Though the sky above was blue, looking out at the horizon it was smokey and the visibility was more limited than usual.  The dry month caused some fall colors to be more muted than usual and the air smelled dusty and aching for a rain. There is a seasonal spring/ stream I like to hike to but it was very dry when we got there. That made it a good turning point and time for a treat.  The kids asked about the dead standing trees and I explained how important snags are for wildlife habitat.  They decided they were high rise gnome homes.

How some gnomes get around the woods.

Feeling cleansed by some time out in nature, we headed home (after a few errands) and ate our dragon bread with some honey. We played some more bowling knights after rescuing the dragon ball from the errant path it took into the heating duct in the kitchen down into the playroom in the basement!  I then became aware of a battle reenactment going on in the living room and was happy to catch some video (that of course won't upload for me).

Stealthy dragons in years past.

Seven-headed beast from Revelation

I love this verse because I think it is a great one to teach the essence of Michaelmas to young children and enables their sense of righteousness and faith in what is good and true and beautiful.

We cuddled up later and watched the "Cave of the Yellow Dog," which is a nice slow moving docudrama about a small girl in modern Mongolia. Then this very tired mama, happy for the way the day went, put everybody to bed.  I had grateful thoughts about some very big dragons of my own from earlier in the year -that the battles they represented were resolved just in time for changing with the season. I can look into the dark winter months ahead and say."Brave and true I will be."