Flânerie with Tess Johnson
Flânerie with Auralie is an interview series that wanders on a walk (literal or imagined) and explores the current introspective thoughts and reflections with an Auralie muse.
Tess Johnson is a mother and artist designing and sewing clothes from vintage textiles, gardening, and being in nature. Tess currently resides in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
What, where, why, and how are you currently wandering?
Now that the sun and warmth have finally arrived in Minnesota, I find myself wandering in our backyard with my daughter, planting flower seeds, laying in the soft green grass, listening to the birds, taking it slow, and embracing the sunshine that we have missed so much. Some days we bike to the lake, adventure through the many trails nearby, visit our town’s ice cream stand, or go fishing. One of our favorite ways to end a summer day is by having a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and looking at the stars.
A question you’re currently searching for an answer to:
How to be more present in life’s everyday moments.
A problem you have solved:
Every time I would buy salad from the store, I found myself tossing it before we could finish it. This growing season I fixed that problem by planting our own mixed lettuce. Now, I go to the garden to prepare salads and pick what I need. It's a satisfying practice and tastes better than a store-bought salad.
A warm memory that makes you smile:
Swimming with my husband in the warm waters of the Ligurian Sea off the Italian Riviera, walking miles through quaint coastal towns, having too many gelato cones, and watching the sunset. It was an absolute dream that always makes me smile when I think of it.
Something you are longing for:
A quiet getaway, somewhere beautiful and secluded, where the only distractions are birds singing and trees swaying in the wind.
A success you haven’t let yourself actualize yet:
Being a mother full-time and running a small business simultaneously.
The last challenging choice you made:
This is a funny question to me because one of my weaknesses is making decisions. Even small, insignificant choices seem challenging to me. To be completely honest, the last challenging choice for me was what kind of ice cream I wanted.
Advice you would give yourself two years ago:
Follow your gut instinct, don’t worry too much about what could happen, and show yourself more kindness.
A mindfulness practice you are currently trying to understand and implement:
As a mother, one thing I’m trying to understand more is my toddler’s emotions and how to respond in the best way. When she is experiencing big feelings, I try my best to stay calm and talk her through how she is feeling and why. This always seems to help her calm down instead of it escalating more. Then always big hugs afterward.
“To make a living itself an art, that is the goal” - Henry Miller
What matters most in my life?
My family matters the most. Once my daughter came into this world, it put things into perspective and made us realize how important family is. I don’t know what I would do without their love and support. I also deeply cherish small and beautiful moments in nature. It saves me daily.
How do you spend time with people intentionally?
My favorite way is going on nature walks. It always brings so much peace to simultaneously be among the trees and loved ones. And sometimes we don’t even talk, just listen to the nature around us.
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly and bow often.
Around me, the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
- Mary Oliver