Thursday, November 10, 2005

Leaves and 10,000 Villages

This morning I noticed that the leaves lying on the ground are spectacular this year. Some of them seem to have borders around them of differing shades, and leaves from the same tree have varying intensities and colors. I think that the long summer drought, followed by a good amount of rain just prior to the end of the growing season may have contributed to this. In any case the last two weeks or so have been very colorful.
Its made me think while I drive lately.
So often I've credited my grandfather with my love for nature. Yesterday I was thinking about how my grandmother would exclaim every season, "This is my favorite time of year!", and would then go on to talk about whatever made her feel that way at that particular moment. She would point things out from the car, and then say, "don't you look Fred! You're driving". We kids would sit in the back and laugh, enjoying the view, and the predictable banter. Another thing that Mimi (my grandmother) would often exclaim was, "I just love life." This would come at unexpected moments, and in her 80's and 90's she rarely complained, instead telling us that old age certainly "beat the alternative". Mimi was a difficult, high-strung woman. She was born too soon to fully appreciate her independent nature. Although she's been dead for several years, this is the first time I've understood how much she contributed to my nature.
Today there was no school. Instead of continuing to get the shop ready for the upcoming season, we had a girl's day out. My daughter, sister and I went to a shop in the next town over called 10,000 Villages. The shop itself is run by the Mennonite Central Committee. They travel the world and purchase crafts from tiny villages, paying a fair amount and providing those things to us here. They've been doing this for at least 30 years, and the things in that shop are just fabulous. There is a huge room full of beautiful rugs that kept my sister occupied for quite a while. There are carved wood room dividers and furniture... all sorts of textiles and clothing, accessories, soapstone dinnerware and sculpture, pottery, jewelry, home decor, hand made musical instuments, and the most wonderful tree ornaments imaginable.
Additionally, they have a tea room where they serve authentic foods from a different country or region each week. We don't go often enough, but just love being able to step into another culture for a little while from time to time. The country chosen is represented with special beverages, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. It's really wonderful, and a great way to spend an afternoon when there is no school.

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