The Weather

Come up from the fields, father, here’s a letter from our Pete;

And come to the front door, mother-here’s a letter from thy dear son.

Lo, ‘tis autumn;
Lo, where the trees, deeper green, yellower and redder,
Cool and sweeten Ohio’s villages, with leaves fluttering in the moderate wind;
Where apples ripe n the orchards hang, and grapes on the trellis’d vines;
(Smell you the smell of the grapes on the vines?
Smell you the buckwheat, where the bees were lately buzzing?)
Above all, lo, the sky, so calm, so transparent after the rain, and with wondrous clouds;
Below, too, all calm, all vital and beautiful – and the farm prospers well.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) Leaves of Grass. 1900

This term in Kindergarten we’ve been learning about The Weather. We’ve walked through the school ovals, watched the leaves change colour, we’ve stamped on them as they fell to the ground enjoying the crispness of their texture under our feet. We’ve done experiments with rocks that are white and black, positioning them in the Autumn sun, we’ve predicted which would hold the heat and then we’ve had long discussions about what clothes we should wear considering the discoveries we’ve made.

We’ve collected rain in an old coke bottle that we transformed into a weather catcher, we’ve learned “Happiness” by A.A. Milne as we’ve coloured cut out dolls in crayons and dressed them in a yellow mackintosh and great big waterproof boots. Our classroom is alive with laughter and primary colours while the rain comes down from black clouds outside where all looks bleak.

We’ve studied the clouds and I’ve validated all the suggestions they’ve given me for what they are made of. Some children say they are wool, or fluff, others say rain, still others know that the water rises off the rivers and streams in tiny droplets that you can’t see. They tell me they gather together going up and up until they become the clouds and they are so heavy they just have to rain.

We’ve tried to create word connections to help us remember the names of the clouds. The stratus is kind of straight, the cirrus is high like a circus tent, the nimbus sounds like a bus, so it could be full (of rain) but we fail to come up with an image to lock the names of the other clouds into our memory. Instead we move on and they want to tell me about the rainbow.

Great joy is encountered when working with children. It’s impossible to be sad for long around their contagious, wide-eyed wonder that convinces me that all is well with the world. The other day we read a book about thunder and lightning and the author wrote that ‘thunder and lightning showed the power of the weather…’ and ‘the power of God’ said a boy on the floor without even raising his hand. ‘It’s true,’ I told him, not reprimanding him for calling out and in that moment I remembered again that nothing is impossible with God.

Sometimes the rain falls so hard against our house we fail to remember the warmth of the sun. Grief chills us, fear rattles us and the despair of unresolved circumstances fill our rooms with darkness. Sometimes the dark cloud just hangs over our house while over the fence we notice sunshine. It was this way for Mr Wintergarten before he met Rose. He lived in a magnificent old house but he was alone. No one had visited him in years. Rumour had it, he was mean, and horrible, and had a dog like a wolf and a saltwater crocodile. So if your ball went over his fence you just had to forget it.

Apart from the weather we’ve been reading Bob Graham this week and if you are not familiar with his writing perhaps now is the time to acquaint yourself. Much truth is discovered in children’s literature and I have found myself in Mr Wintergarten’s house in the cool of the night when my rational thoughts are missing. I have entered the sadness zone, wondering at times where everybody went, what happened to my life and my daughter and our dreams.

Bad things happen to good people but we don’t like to admit that. We want things to go well for us, we want miracles, we want it to be over yet God in His sovereignty allows us to be right were we are. We find ourselves again in the season of changing colours transferring into the dark of yet another winter and we wonder how long?

Sometimes God doesn’t send healing, or strategy, or answers. Sometimes he sends a girl who is brave and doesn’t believe that you should give up on your ball. She leans on the gate that hangs on rusty hinges until it opens, she is determined, she comes knocking at the enormous door and though she nervously twists her fingers in her handkerchief she tells you she’s brought some flowers, and hot fairy cakes. She brings friendship and with it there is new hope.

An illness like cancer has so many complications attached to it and as a mum there are times when you forget how to breathe. Like the Walt Whitman poem at the beginning of this post I often find myself running to the door constantly on edge. The letter (or the phone call) does not always bring good news but as I step outside I find myself looking up.

Like Abraham, I count the stars. I remember the promises. In class I hear faith in the voices of the children, I remember the rainbow and the power of God. I read Bob Graham and I see that I have a Rose and I remember I am not alone. I open the curtains and the sun comes in.

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9 Comments

Filed under Life

9 responses to “The Weather

  1. Ange Callebaut

    Dear Clare,
    Honey this is why you are doing what you do…so it’s those very ones you sow love and laughter into Monday-Friday that can incidentally remind you of the simplicity and joy of delight and child-like faith and gratitude for the things we do have. ‘Aaah’ is what I read tonight. Be blessed with sleep! xxx

  2. Deborah Cohen

    Dear Clare
    Here in Tasmania, the Autumn has been spectacular. Vibrant, crimson, orange and chocolaty leaves gently falling to the frosty ground. Tall, stoic poplars gracefully losing their foliage. I think it was Albert Camus (must look it up) who said “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. I think you have the capacity to see Spring (rebirth, renewal) in every Autumn and Winter experience. Thoughts and prayers for you, Samantha and the whole Froggatt family…. as always. Love from
    Deb (and, of course, Jasper!) xxx

  3. jo peacock

    Dads response to” Weather “

    Dear Clare, you continue to inspire and keep us in your dept in showing us what it means to be an over comer. Your blog “Weather” reminds me of the resolve, “ We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather ,whether we like it or not”
    The specific weather you presently encounter is wintry. Charles Swindoll wrote of Growing strong in “The Seasons of Life !In the section of Winter which he begins his book he borrows a word made up by another Christian teacher, Dr De Haan –‘gimper’ defined as “someone committed to the core –whose roots of dedication result in the rich fruit of determination,excellence,and achievement” First Chron. 4: 9-10 records the compelling prayer of a unique man who refused to be satisfied with an ordinary brand x milk-toast life. You’d never catch Jabez praying “Dear God, help me to balance my status with my quo. Keep me satisfied in Dullsville” Not a chance he pleaded with the Lord to bless him. indeed— to enlarge the borders of his perspective—- and GOD did just that Clare you are not a wimp you are a gimper.
    Our prayer for you is the time will soon come{ Song of Songs 2;11.) See! The Winter is Past ; The rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; The season of singing has come . with love from dadxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Wendy Gilbert

    The best thing about seasons, is that they never stay the same. I was thinking how they creep up on us almost unexpectedly. It is winter. You get used to wearing boots everyday. Almost unnoticed little sprinkles of warmth begin to break through, before you know it is spring. You put away the boots. That is what it is going to be like for all the Froggatts! You have had a very, very long winter, but gradually the warmth will begin peaking around the corner, it will almost catch you by surprise. Spring will come, full of new things, new life and hope. Lots of Love Wendy

  5. thank you for sharing your school experiences here. So precious. I have so many fb friends in the opposite season thta God really spoke of the joy that comes after winter. I am seeking to remember that the resting time is also a growth time. I love how Corrie ten Boom reaponded to people who said that God would not give her more than she could handle. Sometimes we say along with her – I wish God didn’t trust me so much!! We need to go back to her aid/poem – my life is but a weaving…

  6. i just wanted to let you know that you were to teach my son last year and that we prayed for you and your family.
    my kids prayed you would all “feel better” and that you “remember you get to be with God forever” i honestly cant remember us praying about healing from disease although i”m sure we must of…

    *also* often your words help me to greive my own pain thank-you for sharing your journey.
    it starts with tears for you, becomes tears with you and morphs into empathy for somebody

    • Clare Froggatt

      Thankyou for your prayers. Thankyou also for encouraging me to keep writing…My goal is that it ceases to be about me and morphs into tears for someone else. So many people face great battles. I write to keep going and to hopefully encourage others to keep going as well.

  7. Such a beautiful post. And so timely, given the events of the past few weeks.

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro. 🙂

  8. Pingback: The Rope Holder | Girl on a swing

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