I’m thrilled to have a piece in the summer issue of Edible Grand Traverse just in time for this year’s garlic harvest!
Three years ago, the girls and I started nature journaling. What this looks like, for us, is gathering natural objects from our garden and walks; laying them all out over the table; and sketching and watercolor painting in our journals. We also write the names of plants and creatures and other items in French when we are inspired. Nature journaling is definitely about the process for us. We did it regularly for about two years and then got out of practice. Today we gathered around the table again, and I was so happy . . . even when Wallace started painting blue stripes all over his arms. I hope we will make space to nature journal all summer and into the fall. There’s nothing quite like the meditative space it inspires.
We made it there and back again: all five of us across the ocean to beloved France, to visit Paris, Bordeaux, and then Aunt Zane and Uncle Gerard in the beautiful Dordogne Valley. What a journey. 15 years ago, Jeffrey and I were together here. I had just finished a study aboard program and he came to meet me in Southwest France. To return to this part of the world with our three children was a tremendous gift.
It was wonderful to travel all together as a family, but Paris was not easy with Wallace. I knew that Parisians are stereotypically impatient with loud, active children, but on the first day we had a couple of incidents that were particularly humbling. I speak French but Wallace doesn’t! We got “the look” more than once. Gratefully, the girls were a huge help, and we all tried to be extra attentive to Wallace and negotiate his melt downs. I hope the girls remember our walk along the Seine, Jeffrey’s commentary on the remarkable architecture, and traveling down magical narrow streets — as well as they remember coaching Wallace through it all!
On our second night in Paris, we explored le Passage de Grand Cerf, found dinner “a emporter,” and then I put a very tired little man to sleep while Jeffrey took the girls up into the Eiffel Tower to see the city all at night. I opened the windows in our sweet little apartment on Rue de Caire and let in the Paris night noises: fragments of French, dogs barking, mopeds. . . I sat on the old wooden floor and wrote, letting myself linger in poetry inspired by a Parisian Passage.