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Small Things

Homeschool, tree climbing and John Tradescant.


In 2015 I home schooled my son. We set of joyfully like travellers without a map, into unknown waters. We revelled at the freedom of in being in the Autumn sunshine within school hours. I wanted him to experience something of the sense of freedom and joy that following your own creative path brings. He and I looked for it, in leaves and closely inspected insects, in treetops and empty beaches, in history and stories. Often we would sit in companionable silence he in a treetop and me on the ground. We climbed a lot of trees - almost every kind - trees that would have been acorns in the time of the Plague and the Great Fire of London, Horse Chestnut trees that would have been prized conkers in the time of John Tradescant. We imagined him setting out on his ship and then in a tiny old fashioned shop, we found a perfumier with a story of such a ship - with scents of tar and tobacco, oranges and sailcloth and salt. We were explorers and timetravellers, outside the bounds of school time.

It was by no means all easy - these were the good bits, memory is already editing out the boredom and frustration we both at times felt, the weight of responsibility and the overwhelming intensity for me of being together all the time.

But I found something I scribbled on a page at the beginning, before all of that.



Small things


your bare feet

dancing in praise

of the dew soaked grass.


The only child here

free

at 9.30am.


My gift to you.


The day unfolds with no limit on our time.

We are are at sea in a homemade boat

you are a seasoned at joy but I am adjusting

to the motion of the waves and the bright light.


Taking joy like sips of water -


We eat dry biscuits and scour the horizon for somewhere to land


leave our thoughts as prints to follow


Making the map.


There is no hoard

but tiny fragments

of gold


scatterred though every idea.


This freedom feels immense.





#homeschool #treeclimbing #johntradescant #horsechestnut

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All images and words © Jenny Arran 2020