Sunday, October 24, 2010

Listening to the Song of Creation

I have come, finally, to a time in my life when I can enjoy the autumn. The cooling days have always signaled to me things I would rather not endure: school, allergies, school, the cold, school, school, school. It has taken me eight years of being out of school, a lessening of my allergies, and an especially hot summer to allow me to see the beauty of falling leaves and a cool breeze.
So where does this put me now, as an adult with dishes to wash, meals to fix, and a responsibility to educate my children? It puts me directly in the position where I must find the ever-elusive balance. We started school in August, and I am inclined to keep my schedule. But nature beckons. And so I ask myself, "Is play less important than work, for a child? Is the truth of the multiplication facts in which we see the order of the created universe more noble and even more useful than the truth of a leaf, changed from green to gold, spoken into existence by the very Word and breath of God? Shall I fill their heads with knowledge and leave their spirits dry?" For surely the creation itself speaks of the glory of God, sings even, and it is a voice which I care not to ignore, for God created the beauty of the earth for the pleasure of His children and for His own magnification, that we may have but a glimpse of His beauty.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world."
~Psalm 19:1-4

So we find ways.
We must find ways.
How can we hear the voice of praise or see the declaration of God's glory? How will the knowledge be revealed to us unless we listen and look? Perhaps, if we make time, we will gain wisdom. (Or at least wonder.)

"He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon". 1 Kings 4:32-34

Charlotte Mason understood the value of experiencing God's creation. And she understood the need for books and hard work. So it is in her advice I can find some balance. Lately, we have been using the frosty mornings for study time and reading. Short lessons, narration. Time for lunch, then there's the whole day for play outside. In the sun. Feeling the breeze. Yellow leaves against a blue sky. Time to be still and know God.

On warmer days, we have found balance by bringing all our books and games, pencils and papers outside. And meals too. And play.

Then it is sometimes good to set aside a whole day, or at least half, for going on an adventure in the woods or the park or the gardens.

There are many times that what we find outside becomes our lesson. Here we found a geologic fold, an opportunity to talk about how rocks form, what moves them, and the significance of the worldwide flood. (Not the most fabulous picture, I realize. It was getting dark, and we were all getting a bit tired.)

And when I start to feel guilty for short lessons and lots of play, I remember that there will be days, seemingly interminable days, of gray and cold. Days we really will want to stay cozy in the house. And those will be the days for long lessons and intricate projects. And everything will even out, be balanced.

This is my Father's world,
and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!
~Maltbie D. Babcock

He speaks everywhere?

We just have to listen.


  1. what a beautiful post sarah, one that makes me happy i too am learning with my little ones at home. i love our time in nature, there certainly are endless lessons to be learned all around us not only in books, your right we just have to listen.

  2. Gorgeous post, Sarah. :) I just love it. xx

  3. Just stumbled upon your blog----- Lovely~ and Inspiring! Thank you for sharing parts of your world!


  4. Oh what a wonderfull beautiful post! Reading this actually made me feel very emotional Sarah...Beautiful photographs of your children...they all seem very happy!

  5. Sarah, I loved your post, the pictures. I love the good weather months when we can learn so much through nature play and enjoying God's amazing creation! Makes me want to scoop up my kids and head out for a nature walk!!!

  6. Hello Sarah, it was lovely to read. All our days are surrounded by nature, we learn so much from it and the children just love to be out and exploring. Your little puppy is so cute we also have a new little black one. Beautiful children.