June berries

Summer is upon us. Those magical days of quiet early morning walks, lush gardens, sleepy afternoons, sticky sandy beach days, sun kissed freckles, wild summer berries, torrential thunderstorms, and moments that seem to defy the laws of time in length. Easily our favorite time of year.

I am looking forward to more unplanned days, and relatively late mornings full of snuggles. Just enough before hanger shows up, as it tends to. Summer can’t be all sunshine and daisies..

Nora mulberries-1Nora mulberries-4Nora mulberries-5Nora mulberries-3

twofold

A dear friend of mine had twin baby boys a few months ago. I knew how important it was to preserve the memories of those first few months for her. Those precious slow days that are the heaviest, most intense days anyone could experience. But they’re also the most fleeting, and tender. These little brothers are now smiling and growing what seems every time I see them, which is just about every day.

Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_13 Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_15 Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_1Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_3Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_12 Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_11 Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_6 Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_16

Stevenson twins_jenniferjohnson_18

unpresuming

I’ve often wondered if posting these as late as now, and at a time that doesn’t seem to make logical sense for me is the best move, often wondering if I should wait until there is some correlation so the transition and acceptance is ideal. But I have decided not to be bogged down with technicalities of presumption or holding myself to any time frame of context. Typically, life doesn’t wait for the right conditions, the perfect timing or relation, and yet that’s one of my favorite nuances I love most about it. How the least correlated of timings, people, circumstances can create some of the most beautiful moments.

So, enjoy these images of last autumn, picking northern spies, honey crisp, gala and macintosh; getting lost in heady fruit laden branches; searching for the loveliest sheen orbs, as well as the most unusual. We went home with pie and sauce apples for days and a rump shaped apple for a new Kindergarten teacher.

breakdown

The oil light blinked on, and the car engine made an awful noise of metal pieces working their hardest to move. I asked my husband if he thought we should pull off at the next stop. I knew it would put a dent in our timing, we were to be in South Dakota by that evening to spend the Fourth of July at the very patriotic Mount Rushmore. We pulled off, despite having checked and rechecked the car before this thousand mile journey, even buying new tires for it, and drove to a local mechanic who was busy looking at semis and Ford trucks. He said he wouldn’t be able to get to the car for at least a few more hours, and then if he could fix it, we would have to wait until after the holiday weekend. We decided to push on, despite the risk.

Another hour closer to the west, the engine stalled. We coasted to the side of the road, and settled there for three hours with our two children and a dog in the summer sun. As our adult minds were heavy with the stress and gravity of the situation, exponentially increasing costs, and worries of what to do next, our girls spent their time picking wildflowers and finding treasures. So we took a hint from those wise old souls and stepped back. Looking at the bigger picture, we saw what really mattered and found a few treasures along our new journey. Isn’t that just the way.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats

endless summer

In these last few calendar days of summer, I have been clinging. More to our summer memories rather than actual time. Though as I put it in writing they seem one and the same. We began the summer days knowing they were Jane’s last days at home, her last days all to us, filled with our rhythm and influence and warmth. It seemed like we were losing her when the winds came, and that she would never be the same. Over three weeks time she has changed. Though others may argue it’s still too early to really tell, to a detail oriented mother who knows her emotional and heart subtleties, I can see the separation, her solitary mind filling with things I can’t know. This is most noticeable as she transitions home in the afternoons.
Her new day’s rhythm might be away from the slow, familiar rhythm that was full and vibrant with home, but she still looks to us in the end.  Still seeks approval and love, sharing those stories of people and experiences I didn’t share, at least in person. Still sneaking close for cuddles at night, and still knowing where home is. Maybe that solitude she feels during the day has helped her to clarify what home means to her. It certainly has helped me create the sort of home I want her to know.
It already feels like mid autumn here in Michigan, the transition lasting a mere day or two. The loss was an immediate shock, though the memory is still fresh enough I can almost feel the warm sticky midwest summer air and hear the cicadas in the trees before I walk through our back door into a cool crisp early autumn shade. Memories of the heat and sun make me love summer all the more. Truly, we don’t know what we have, nor can we experience its greatest beauty and importance until it is gone. The passing of things; moments, ideas, people, reveal their matchless value. Gratefully, summer will be back. And I will pray, with all intention, that our home will always be.

A Summer Rain

“Drip drip the trees for all the country round,
And richness rare distills from every bough;

The wind alone it is makes every sound,
Shaking down crystals on the leaves below.

For shame the sun will never show himself,
Who could not with his beams e’er melt me so;

My dripping locks—they would become an elf,
Who in a beaded coat does gayly go.”

The Summer Rain, Henry David Thoreau

joy and beauty

Before I became a mother, I was not childless. I was surrounded by children, and I loved them with my whole heart. I was a dance teacher, with handfuls of little dancers who I taught and danced alongside. After years of dancing for myself and learning how to teach the techniques I was using everyday, I found a greater love for seeing a young child move with pure innocence. Something magical happens when a young child moves, not because they are told to, or because they are mirroring another, but simply because they have something inside them that can’t help but materialize. It is an abstract thing, but as perceptible as they are. They move in ways that are as distinct as they are. I became someone who gave these small souls, who are typically given some shape to stand on and arbitrary movement to mimic, a vocabulary to create their own sonnets and epics. The abstraction that needed a means whereby, was their natural ability for creation. It was so fulfilling, helping these beautiful dancers and innate architects nurture their love for creativity.

When we moved away from the creative dance program I learned to teach at, the one Jane began her dancing at, and with no comparable instruction nearby, I decided it was time to revisit my love for teaching young dancers, my young dancer, how to create. In January I will be starting my own creative dance classes here in Michigan. I’m not sure if there will be an interest, or what their future will be, but I do know that even if it ends up being a class of me teaching my own daughter, there will be nothing more wonderful than being the one to teach her the joys of pure movement.