As the darkness of winter descends, we reflect inward and share highlights from 2013. Our homeschooling days are coming to an end; Ariela passed the GED test and received an official NYS diploma. For the moment, she is working part time at the trendy clothing store, Urban Outfitters, and learning about fashion, retail, consumer behavior and the working world.
Nancy is eagerly awaiting her retirement pension after 13 years of homeschooling!! During this transition time she is breathing deep and looking inside to nurture the seeds that will sprout into the new person she wants to become. She and Ariela continue to study spirituality, healing, and primitive skills at the Tracker School and beyond. She still runs the Coyote Tracks program in Central Park where Ariela has joined the staff as an assistant instructor. Herbal wisdom and deeper connections to the earth drive our family towards sustainable, healthy living that includes home cooked, mostly organic, gluten free foods, juicing and wild foraging.
Gary became a senior citizen in April. While figuring out how to file for Medicare, we felt the weight and anxiety that our society carries about what retirement means. In this economy, with health insurance premiums taking up more and more of our income, retirement is not a consideration. So far, the biggest perk of being 65 has been riding the subway for 1/2 price! In October he took his quartet, The Good Pennyworths, to Texas and back singing 17 concerts in 18 days. The music was wonderful and it was a treat to meet appreciative audiences in many parts of our vast country. In the coming years, Garald plans to spend more time sharing the music he loves.
This year marked the 12th bi-annual campout with our NYCHEA homeschool friends. Besides practicing fire by friction and survival activities, we delved into tanning rabbit hides procured from a local farmer. Ariela reports that she learned… courageto face the reality of life and death; deeper connection to our food sources; to challenge herself to step out of a comfort zone and further understand where our meat comes from; patience to see it through and show others how to do it; gratefulnessto the rabbits for being there and to the farmer for providing them; respectfor all animals and the gifts they provide; acceptance of the circle of life--that in order for humans to eat, living things must die; awarenessthat not all animals raised for food are killed with as much respect; and lastly appreciation for the beauty of their fur. Perhaps most importantly, we learned that no matter how prepared and enthusiastic we were, it is impossible to predict other people’s reactions. It was a deep growing experience for the whole community. We still have a few hides in the freezer if you want to give it shot.
And for most of the summer and into the Fall, all of us spent many enjoyable hours planting flowers and relaxing in our rooftop garden here on West 98th St. It is a welcome retreat in this fast paced NYC environment. All of the flower photos on our card were taken up there.