Questions and Answers
Posted on December 31, 2011 by Jennifer Wolfe
loving fiercely | teaching audaciously | thinking deeply
Posted on December 31, 2011 by Jennifer Wolfe
Posted on December 22, 2011 by Jennifer Wolfe
Her face is turned toward the window, nestled on a deep feather pillow. Long dark lashes flutter as I kiss her cheek, brushing back soft strands of hair from her forehead. It is dark out, yet she will rise and greet another day.
His face is face up, eyes closed, arms thrown back over his head in the same position as when he slept as an infant. I reach down to kiss the sweet spot between his jaw and neck, and he groans and pulls the covers tighter. It is dark out, yet he will rise and greet another day.
Sleepily she pads downstairs, honey colored hair still in a messy braid. Too early to eat, she sips cold orange juice as she pulls on long underwear and ski socks. It is dark out, yet she will go and meet another day.
Groggily he pulls on his fuzzy black and white skull patterned bathrobe and gulps down fresh water. He trods down the stairs, too full of chatter for such an early start. It is dark out, yet he will go and meet another day.
She dresses quickly yet deliberately. No worries about appearances, she thinks only of the snow that awaits her. It is cold out, yet she will be brave and face another day.
He pulls on his layers, sweet grapefruit juice dribbling down his chin. Thinking only of the countdown to Christmas, he hugs me in anticipation. It is cold out, yet he will be brave and face another day.
Methodically she unscrews her ski helmet face bar in the dark lodge, preparing for the morning workout ahead of her. Layer upon layer upon layer she bundles up and heads towards the lift, tousled braid whipping in the wind. It is dawn out, and she gets to have another day.
Slowly he prepares for the snow, insisting on doing it alone. His fuzzy brown head disappears beneath a royal blue helmet and goggles, contrasting the lime green and black of his jacket. We kiss goodbye, my assurance I will be waiting for him when he returns. It is dawn out, and he gets to have another day.
Yet as I sit by the window watching the sun crest the snow-covered hills, I cry for the mother and child who are apart, who will never feel their arms around each other again, and who cannot brush away each other’s tears.
It is bright out, and I get to have another day.
Posted on October 1, 2011 by Jennifer Wolfe
Sometimes as I’m moving around in my day, an image gets stuck in my head that I can’t shake. Sometimes it conjures up a memory, a feeling, or provides an impulse to do something. Often, though, I just see something that I want to capture in my mind for no particular reason-it just speaks to me. I’d like to offer these images up for ‘thought contributions’-as a way to generate a community of ideas together.
One of my favorite parts of my house is the view out my bedroom window. Looking up, the green, delicate leaves relax my eyes and mind. The occasional disoriented hummingbird will flit by, tantalizing me with a burst of fluorescent red. Squirrels create a playground as they screech and thud from the branches to our roof. Looking out my window gives me a quiet moment to pause and clear my mind. Now, as the lushness of summer is beginning to fade and the seasons gently turn, I burn this image into my mind in anticipation of the chill and sparseness to come.
Out my window I see the slow, natural closing down of summer. Now take a moment. Pause. Look out YOUR window. What do you see?
Posted on August 6, 2011 by Jennifer Wolfe
We depart sunny Miranda early on this July morning. 40 parents, grandparents, children, aunts, uncles and cousins squeezing into a parade of wagons, hybrids and SUVs. As we enter the Avenue, a canopy slowly begins to grow over us. The sunlight dims and our car instantly becomes neighbors with the towering trees hugging the road. Past Rockefeller Grove, the Founder’s Tree, and the beauty of the Eel River, we travel deeper along route 254 into the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. One after another, the massive posts from times before swish by as we creep towards our destination. The line of cars, carrying generations of family, pull off the highway and we spill out into the forest.
The Winifred Brown Bell Grove, along the Avenue of the Giants, is a turnoff like many others along the road. Noted by the standard California State Park brown and gold lettered sign, we park and douse ourselves with bug spray to guard off the mosquitoes bound to exist along the way. The 40 descendents of the Brown family gather for the required photo to document our journey to this magical space. Children and dogs pose with anticipation, eager to scamper along the path, destination unknown and really unimportant. It’s the journey amongst the trees that they look forward to.
As we move deeper into the grove, lush emerald green ferns replace the dirt corridor of the entrance. Their verdant carpet encroaches on the foot space, cautioning us to tread lightly-poison oak adding another element of excitement. The air cools, making me glad to have my warm sweatshirt. We pause, photographing a huge tree or a massive, upturned root hosting a bevy of fern and new growth. We caution the children again, hoping that they stay focused and on the path. Stellar Jays announce their presence, golden butterflies dart through my line of sight. The group spreads out, some going left on the longer loop, hoping to extend the sensory delight just a bit longer. I can’t see my son or daughter, but I sense that they’re moving forward along the path. Someone will be watching them.
I pause, absolutely mesmerized by the sight before me. Where did this glory come from? How could I not have known this existed? How can this image remain untouched, unchanged, for centuries? Such splendor, such lushness, such beauty, such…bigness. Freedom. Growth. Awesomeness. I am so undersized, honored to be in their presence.
I look up, and only a sliver of blue sky is visible between the towering trees. I am small, almost insignificant in this landscape. My children and husband catch up to me, and we pose amid the ferns, part of a larger family group yet perfectly isolated at this moment. Like the seedlings that once began this landscape, I realize again that my offspring have immense potential. Nothing limits them; nothing keeps them from achieving their dreams. Their growth, nurtured by their guardian hosts, stretches before us, soaring with possibility.
What I learned at Winnie’s Grove is that growth happens. Hosted and nurtured by our families, cautiously curious as we dash along the path of life, we all contribute to the development of our children. Time inches along, slowly and subtly raising them to heights we may never know. Hidden groves and untapped potential lie before them, their existence eager for exploration.
What I’m still learning is how to let go and let them wander among the giants. They will turn left or right as they choose, hopefully remembering the path leading back to their hosts, their strong family tree.