Thoughts on Home

About Last Weekend

Thoughts on Home

Last week, I chaperoned a field trip to the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth with a group of first- and second-graders. We used nets to scoop up fish, tadpoles, and algae (or “allergy” as my kids call it), and talked about the pond ecosystem, but it was an improvised activity that has stuck with me. While we were waiting for our turn to study aquatic creatures arrayed in buckets under a tent, the instructor asked us to close our eyes for one minute, listen, and report what we heard. After the brief silence, the hands shot up: “I heard an acorn dropping.” “Crickets!” “The wind whooshing.” “A butterfly’s wings moving.” Noticing things came so easily to these kids; meantime, I burned through most of the pause thinking about my afternoon to-do list. Over the busy weekend that followed, though — in which we shuttled kids to soccer, hosted a pre-school potluck, picked apples, and celebrated my dad’s birthday on his beautiful property in Baldwin — I tried to put the exercise into practice, paying attention not only to sounds, but sights and smells as well. I didn’t pick up on any wing-flapping, but I did revel in the way our boys clamber to be close to their grandpa and the heavenly scent kids acquire when they’ve been running around in crisp fresh air.

Maine Apple-Picking

Stopping to appreciate little things like these feels even more imperative in light of the recent natural disasters and Sunday’s tragedy in Las Vegas. Looking at these photos from just a few days ago, I’m wishing we could all go back and live forever in the time before that horror happened. I’d be sure to roll down the windows and blast some Tom Petty songs, too.

How do you stay present in these challenging times? Please share your thoughts.


  1. Greg DeSart

    I was born and raised in Las Vegas, and still call Las Vegas home. I also spend 3 weeks every summer in Northport, Maine. Here’s the 3 ways I choose to view natural and man-made tragedies:
    – Continue to live our lives with courage and joy
    – Come together and gather as Family and Friends as often as possible
    – Celebrate often and have pride in our communities

    • Sarah Stebbins

      This is such a lovely perspective, Greg. Thank you so much for sharing and I’m so sorry for the senseless tragedy in your hometown. I am going to try harder to live the way you do. <3

  2. Carolyn bower

    Your words were very touching to me because in the challenging times I have had recently, I’ve not been staying present. What you wrote and the lovely comment afterward by the person named Greg sharply reminded me of how we are supposed to be while we are on this earth. I hope I can hold on to that thought and remember all the reasons I have to be grateful, and then feel that joy.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Me too, Carolyn. Hang in there. xo

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