Wandering the Meadows

Wandering the Meadows

I’m feeling a little like Jane Fairfax today. Remember the scene at the end of Emma when Miss Bates explains Jane’s feelings about becoming a governess?

“When one is in great pain, you know one cannot feel any blessing quite as it may deserve. She is as low as possible. To look at her nobody would think how delighted and happy she is to have secured such a situation.”

I think this quote sums up many a teacher’s feelings on her last day of summer break. (Okay, maybe we aren’t quite that low, but it’s close.) Even as a stay-at-home parent, I used to dread the start of school. There is always so much I want to do with my children during the summer. Now that I work at my children’s school, I feel it all the more. Though I love my job, the students, and my coworkers, I would also love another month or two of summer break.

Jane’s task of teaching the three Suckling girls sounds pretty easy to me, compared to the challenges of a modern middle schoo, but I imagine that being a governess in Jane Austen’s time was still no easy task. I love what Emma says about her salary:

“If other children are at all like what I remember to have been myself, I should think five times the amount of what I have ever yet heard named as a salary on such occasions dearly earned.”

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same, doesn’t it?

At least we get a summer break now. A governess probably would not have gotten a long vacation. In addition, she would feel isolated from both the upper and lower classes while living far from her loved ones.

I suppose it is a bit melodramatic to compare myself to a Regency governess. However, now that my summer break is drawing to a close, I am consoling myself in the same way as Jane Fairfax or any other good Jane Austen character did. I have been “wandering about the meadows” and also among the rocks and mountains. Here you will find a few pictures of my wanderings:

A sunset view of the Provo River.


This is a pretty weed or flower, whose name I don’t know.


This is my favorite picture of my son fishing with Mt. Baldy in the background.


All in all, it has been a wonderful summer of wandering, and I have stored up a lot of beauty to feed my soul through the winter. Do you like to wander through nature? What are your favorite landscapes?

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August 24, 2019 7:35 AM

Just started back to school on Wednesday. It was a good three days overall, but I was certainly exhausted last night. Wandering in the outdoors helps me to calm too. We have a nearby lake we enjoy walking around. Last summer, my husband and I took a wonderful trip to Ireland. Walking around there was amazing! Whenever I’m stressed this year, I’ll be revisiting pictures from my travels.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
August 23, 2019 10:00 AM

Right now, I am sneezing my head off. Maybe it was that weed I saw in your earlier photo. I think that shot of the fallen log across the creek would be a marvelous screen saver, to be enjoyed whenever you wanted a peaceful moment… maybe with water sound effects playing. I started to relax just thinking about it. The photo of Mirror Lake was another beautiful shot. Young men fishing… sigh… wonder what he was thinking? Manly thoughts of course.

I am retired now so I no longer worry about the classroom. A school bus does a turn around right in front of my house in the afternoon. There is an elementary school nearby. When you were talking about the job of a governess I couldn’t help remembering Blanche [and her sister] Ingram’s comments in Jane Eyre about how she treated her governess. I know that was not Austen but it was the thoughts that made me shudder. Our schools started last week so we are well into the new school year as is the nearby college. After next week, everyone else will be back in session. Fall is just around the corner. Those photos of your would be beautiful in fall colors. Enjoy your time with your son… he will be grown before you know it.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
August 23, 2019 7:55 AM

Nice pictures! Looks like you have a nice place to wander!

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