Tuesday, June 24, 2014

grounded magazine : together

We are in the midst of our early summer adjustment.  It happens every year.  Every summer the school year ends for the kids, and soon after that for Jonathan.  And we all have a sudden shift from happily hectic end of year chaos to open days with no plans except to get outside and enjoy. 

These summer days are the ones I love, the ones I long for all school year long.  And the sudden jolt of all the noise stopping is so lovely and welcome for me.  But I forget, sometimes, that for the kids, they thrive on that noise.  It is the noise of their growing and performing and playing and friendships. The noise of their childhood.  And I am reminded that I love that, too.  I love being a part of their busy right alongside them.  That busy of the school year is fun, and social, and what they know.  As it slides away each summer, it takes us a bit to relearn having a day before us with no plan and for that not to feel boring, too unstructured, or lonely.  We need to settle back in to how to fill a day with something you want to do and not somethings you have to do.  Or to not fill it, but rather allow it to unfold before you.  And then, once settled into these days, we all love them too.

I do enjoy the school year that my children happily immerse themselves in, open to all it brings into their lives.  And I also love these precious summer weeks when I feel us all slow down, pull closer, and learn to move more quietly together.

I have planned a trip to the public library today.  To collect a large fresh new batch of books for each child.  Which is a tradition here all summer, an LL Bean bag full of books coming home with us from the library each week.  This bag is emptied onto the deacon's bench and inspires our daily activities, or stays packed and travels with us in the car on our adventures away.  

We will soon be off on summer adventures.  Which will include time at my family's camp.  This is the place, during times of overwhelming stress, that I go to in my mind.  The place where I sit on the camp's green wharf that juts into the lake, the wharf built by my grandfather so many years ago.  My feet dip into the cool water below me and I look out at the water, the reflected sky, and the mountains beyond.  I sit for long enough, quietly, that something happens.  A loon emerges up from the below the lake's surface.  Fish begin to tickle my ankles.  A bald eagle surprises me by launching from its quiet perch in the cedar tree just behind me.  He was there the whole time, too, and he dives down into the lake for a fish.  If it is night time, a shooting star cuts through the sky in my peripheral vision.  Or most treasured, one of our kids skips down the path to the wharf and sits beside me.  Or quietly adds to my view by scrambling around the beach looking for skipping rocks and passes a few moments trying to increase their skipping record. 

So perfectly timed, I have an essay out today, published in Grounded Magazine, for their Summer Issue: Together.  This is my second time writing for them, and I have to say, both times the process has been wonderful.

My essay in this issue -- What We Leave -- is about this special place, our family's camp, which has held my father's childhood, my own, and now that of our children.  And how each year we return, settle in, and spend our time there amongst all the memories, things, treasures, and trees.  And continue the story of this place. 
Even our first conversation upon arriving here is a part of our well rehearsed routine.
Did you remember to pack a flashlight?
We laugh. And ultimately, this time and every time before, ever since I began bringing Jonathan here years ago, before we were married, before the three children now asleep in the backseat behind us came along, we remember that we don’t actually need that forgotten flashlight. I can get us there without it...
I always know we have become our best summer selves on the day that a morning begins with no plan, except to eat together, to be on the lake, and likely to go from pajamas to bathing suit to pajamas again.

Grounded Magazine is an online publication for parents. I so admire the goals of Mollie and Kendall Guillemette for this magazine, still in its first year of publication.  Held within it are stories, art, recipes, and reflections gathered together for parents to inhabit while they read.  Offering moments of quiet and thoughtfulness and wonder similar to the moments I treasure at our family's camp.

In this issue, Jennifer Ward, author of the book I Love Dirt, contributes an essay about rock hunting -- Nature Rocks -- a favorite family activity of ours on the lakes, mountains, and ocean beaches of Maine.  There is also a lovely essay -- Beekeeping With a Baby -- about why families tend bees, by Paris Morse, that echoes our own feelings about beekeeping as a family here as well.  And an essay by Penelope Rose -- Reading Party -- about her family's ritual of reading together each night and how that has changed as her son gets older.  And these are only a few of the gorgeous stories and images of families creating and being together.  


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