Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Walking {Crafted by the Seasons}



I wake early and go walking.  

I am in the grass, on the path, crossing the field as the first rays of warmth break the horizon.  

I am at the edge of the lake when those first beams shine crystals on its surface; catch and release in the easy and constant lapping. 

I breathe in hard that smell of the lake, that unmistakable, probably algae smell that relaxes and inspires because its presence means I am near the water's edge.  

I pause only long enough to know I am here and then I walk on.  

I hear the trees moving against themselves and each other in the almost wind; the breeze that may grow or diminish with the length of the day.  

But I will not be here.

By the time the movement of the air has made up its mind I will be safely back from where I came; part of me wishing I could have stayed to learn of its choice.    



With gratitude,
Jo

Friday, June 16, 2017

Wanderlust {Crafted by the Seasons}




Wanderlust: I don’t know if summer provokes this feeling or just allows for its pursuit.  In either case, it is time.

We are on the cusp of summer.  She is ringing in my ears, and chiming in my pores, tenderly urging me to freedom.

I wonder where hinged is the door that summer opens, this portal through which the voice of wonder calls.  Come to me.










Summer is the season of every possibility, the season that calls us to her.  
She is the season that urges us into the world, to remember ourselves, and each other. We beg summer for more, just a few more moments to linger or play or go or be. She is our catalyst; and we her loyal patrons. 

I think there is a tree somewhere that holds the hinges of the door through which the voice calls me.  It is a tree in any forest, or perhaps it is a blade of grass in any field, or a rock at the edge of any stream; certainly it is the ripple in any lake. 

Come to me she calls, and remember.  Tomorrow I am going, we are going, to pursue the hinges and the door they open.  We are not begging yet, but anticipating that which we will want so much more of.


I trust she has something beautiful in-store, just like always.






With gratitude,

Jo





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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kitchen Garden {Crafted by the Seasons}

Jo:

A garden: things planted in the earth, some eatable, some lovely, grown for the purposes of nourishing and enjoying.  A garden can be hours of planning, it is certainly hours of labor.  My brother Mike says, “A garden is so much raw potential,” potential in the earth and in the seed, and in the hands that tend them.  Our hands tending the plot of earth have as much to learn from it, as they have to give. 

I grew up with my hands in the earth.  When I was very young my parents had a backyard garden, I remember tomatoes and carrots, the sweet peas were my favorite, and I remember they gave me my own small section, my own garden; a little spot to grow my own universe.  Although I don’t remember the exact moment they presented it to me, that bit of land was an ignition that has been with me since. 

I have had my own backyard garden for about eight years.  I am still an amateur, but I have learned a few things in those years.  Among the most valuable, I have learned that a garden is an invitation unto much more than itself.  Because of my garden I have taken classes and made connections, I learned canning, and challenged myself to seek new information and I have eaten new things, I have gotten up early and have stayed up late to fulfill my commitment to it.  This is the potential of a garden. 

During my visit to Washington Island two weeks ago I had the treat of a visit to the farm garden of Hotel Washington. Mike led me through the grounds and we tasted as we went, leaves mostly, because it is still early in the growing year.  The eight-acre farm is in its second season with the Hotel, operated by volunteer farmers Russell and Alessandra Rolffs.  The Rolffs’ hardworking, visionary mission is evident in this land and in the further commitments they have made to Island stewardship.  The couple is also on the board of Gathering Ground Washington Island, a non-profit committed to connecting land, people and sustainability.  “Working with a farmers like Russell and Alessandra is an inspiration,” Mike relayed as we walked, “they have a vision for experimenting with new varieties as well as cultivating native species, all of this translates to artistry on the dinner plate.  We are having a great time together.”   This year the vision is to expand the farm’s offerings; projects include planting a u-pick flower garden, restoring a small orchard and a surplus booth at the Island’s weekly farmers market.  This is in addition to continuing to function as the primary supplier of fresh fare to the kitchen at Hotel Washington. 

 I was struck as Mike and I carefully traversed the garden beds; there was something sort of awesome about following a chef through the dirt, something so connected, the kind of connection the backyard garden seeks, and yet here the scale is so much grander.  I was surprised to find myself feeling slightly intimidated, but I had to remember it is earth and seed and passion, it is something we can all be inspired by, something we can all have a hand in. 


All of it is raw potential.

































































With gratitude,
Jo


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Friday, June 2, 2017

Washington Island {Crafted by the seasons}



Jo:

I first visited Washington Island four summers ago.  My twins were two and their big sister just four.  As a woman who has always valued and enjoyed freedom of movement those first few years of being almost stationary with infant twins crawled at a pace that left me itching to go; to take them into the world.  My husband and I were familiar, and quite in love with the Door Peninsula, having camped in its state park a number of times, but we had never made the ferry trip to Washington Island.  That changed the summer of 2013 when his cousin moved to the Island.  Sarah had lived with us, and had been my third arm, for six months after the twins were born and to my mind there could be no better destination for my first solo adventure with my thirty toes than to have her waiting for us on the other side.  That five hour drive, on my own, with three young children and a golden retriever was my entry back into the world, it gave me the confidence of a journey across many worlds; it was the opening of a new season.

There is something sort of magical about arriving at a place by boat; and in the case of our first trip I was prepared with all of the caution of a new parent, we wore lifejackets.  The Island held magic for me on many fronts that summer and we have returned each one since and in the fall and spring (we will brave winter someday).  We don’t wear lifejackets on the ferry any more, but that ride always holds a particular anticipation and seems to serve as a gateway to a different state of mind. 

This is a seasonal place, and I know that I am part of the season of visitation.  Places mean different things from different perspectives, Washington Island is not home to me, but it has been significant in the marking of my seasons.  Now my brother lives here and I am thankful for it in new ways.  I am thankful to be an outsider who feels at home. 

Below are some images from last weekend, a sort of sneak peek at the many different facets of this place, a destination and a home. 







Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum 


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Washington Island Lookout Tower, Mountain Park 


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Island Lavender Farm Information Kiosk 



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Washington Island Ferry Line



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Sarah's Front Yard



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The Post Office 



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Sievers School of Fiber Art



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Jackson Harbor Soup and Sandwich 



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School House Beach 



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Fair Isle Books and Red Cup Coffee House



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Island Baseball Fields 



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Washington Island Airport



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Hotel Washington and Studio




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Washington Island Ferry Line



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There she is, Sarah, at the Island Cafe




These images are a mere snapshot of the many lovely offerings of the Island, and fodder for a larger project, a kind of "Island Guide" that is inspired by my own experiences and the number of wonderful resources already available on how to see the Island.  More soon!




With gratitude,

Jo


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