#tbt canoe camping on the north shore. #keepitwild #optoutside #family adventure
My original intention with this Inherit the Green photo project was to spend time outside every day with my family, and to document it. Yes, in the months since my last post on this subject, we spent time outside. We live in a city where we get around mostly on foot so it is unavoidable in may ways.
But I was not as diligent about the kind of time we spent outdoors. Much of our time outside was to get somewhere, often in a rush. I did occasionally pause to make a photograph, but they collected and waited on my hard drive as I focused my time on editing work for my clients. I didn’t have the time or the personal energy to look at or share the photos I had been making for myself.
Admittedly, part of this was because I had lost sight of my original motivation for this:
to spend time outside with my family,
to live our daily rhythm with intention,
to discover and participate in the landscape we call home.
Instead, I questioned its relevancy to my audience. I doubted its appeal. I wondered if anyone cared.
But looking through the last 6 weeks of photos last night, I found stillness and curiosity. I found evidence of a season well-lived. Of passing time together, even amidst the busier days. And today I share these photos and these thoughts for us, for my family. To reflect and know that it was (and is) good to be in and know this place.
And that is enough.
Inherit the Green, 52 weeks in our life out of doors.
I’ve been swept away by summer. I threw my weekly posts out the window.
Did I take photos every week? Maybe. It’s quite possible. Did we go outside every day? Yes, absolutely.
We lived outside. We breathed the summer air. We swam in its waters. We shared in its bounty. We chased shadows. We slept in tents. We put on our shoes and went outside, and immediately kicked them off again to stick our toes in the sand, the grass, the water.
The sun is setting on our summer, and I will do my best to embrace the coming season. (But summer I will look for you again.)
Inherit the Green, 52 weeks in our life out of doors.
We went to France. We spent a lot of time outside. Wandering around Paris, and then staying with friends and their little ones in the South of France.
I learned a few things on my first trip abroad as a parent: 1) Long flights with an almost 2 year old are traumatizing, but temporary. And worth the effort. 2) Don’t be afraid to keep your kid up way past their bedtime once in awhile. They’ll have a blast and you might too. 3) Let your kid run around naked more often. She will love it.
I brought along my Canon 5DMarkiii, but carried it sparingly and used it colloquially. Travel demands lightness, and so I used my iPhone camera much more often. I’ve included those photos at the end of this post, as well as some travel writing (in quotes) from my husband and 10+ years travel partner. The other children in this series belong to some of my very best friends from childhood/high school/forever.
“And yet, what is travel for? I think part of the delight of catapulting across the ocean is to be forced to let go. To ease my grasp on the here and now; to practice living in the uneasy, writhing moment. The park was delightful today. Evelyn’s lemon dress made for many a charming photograph. The fresh baguette this morning was everything you could hope an ancient culture of bread making would produce. The uncomfortable moments, the lack of sleep, and the stress of caring for a child while abroad are balanced by such delightful moments. I’m doing my best to see it all as one cohesive trip, and accept it for what it is. I’m trying to walk humbly with Cara through this [French] landscape, and find humor in the great mess that is travel.”
“We take advantage of the cool evenings and walk through the countryside. Talking quietly, our plans take on a dreamlike quality. If we go to the river tomorrow, does it matter? We’ll still be in France either way. Once upon a time, we lived lives that enshrined the liminal space found on the road. Returning to this rarefied air feels like a homecoming. On our walk, we see the indefinite shapes of large animals in a field. Soon a ghostly white horse emerges. The specter stands perfectly still. We listen. It listens. Then we make our way back home. The horse probably only spoke French anyway.”
We are getting ready to leave on vacation, so we spent a lot of our week running errands in the city and stealing away our outdoors time whenever we had the chance.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to Boston, and bonjour to France!
I’ll update you with our weeks 24 & 25 abroad after we get back at the end of the month. If you want to see what we are up to in the moment, please join me on Instagram @carabros
I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, and over the Fourth of July we returned there for a visit. My parents built a little cabin there, on a small pond, and it was so lovely. We spent an evening with grammas and grampas, cousins and friends and aunties and uncles. The prairie grass and the rain filled creeks, the slow dusk over the plains and the flickering of lightning bugs are the landscape markers of my childhood, and it is good to share this with my own child.
My parents inherited the big farmhouse where I grew up, where my father was raised, and my grandmother too. It was handed down to them. But this little cabin which they made, they say, feels like the first home they made together.
Happy summer to you my friend, wherever you are. Enjoy.
Inherit the Green, 52 weeks in our life, out of doors.