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.
Last fall I wrote a piece for Wild + Free on fermenting with children. It is one of my favorite articles I did for the magazine because everyone in our family helped with the photos, the recipes, and the fermentation! One year later, everyone is gathered around again, making a new ferment: Giardiniera. Jeffrey’s endless enthusiasm for fermentation experimentation is contagious. I think we are raising a whole brood of wildcraft makers and brewers.
After the Giardiniera project, we made wild grape soda: one of our September traditions and favorite ferments!
These two cousins have been spending lots of time together!
One moment they might be best buddies and the next moment they might be rolling around, tugging on one another like two little puppies . . . !
remember that night in August
when the light was just so
and the dogs were wild and wet
and the girls went swimming
and the boys played in the sand
and I went running down the beach?
This is the way we traveled to Gousty every day in August . . . back and forth through the flower tunnel.
Uncle James had all the cousins captivated with his bottle rocket!
And here are two beauties in the evening light.
my desk with little hands
and rose petals
because I want to remember writing here
at Old Gousty
with a view of the woods
Mary Oliver by my side
and rose petals
from roses Grandmommy brought me
and brought me again.
candles for night writing
and an old photo of Maude Louise
(my childhood Airedale)
all of this waiting for me
after Wallace falls asleep
and rain is drumming on the roof
quietly luring me
to my desk