“In the winter I am writing about, there was much darkness. Darkness of nature, darkness of event, darkness of the spirit. The sprawling darkness of not knowing. We speak of the light of reason. I would speak here of the darkness of the world, and the light of___. But I don’t know what to call … Continue reading Faith and Hope
The cold, though not unexpected, is startling. It feels good to walk through fields that have provided nourishment of all sorts to beings of all kinds. Ice clings to stalks of bowing grass. Every step crunches in the stillness of freeze. Muted colors announce themselves in burnt umber, dark brown, and burgundy, reminding us that … Continue reading In the Shadow of an Old Barn
Every couple of weeks – especially as weather warms toward summer – my seven year old daughter and I have what has become known as “adventure day.” We put on clothes suitable for the weather and head outside, usually to a local park or nature preserve, but sometimes just down the path behind the house, … Continue reading What Life Belongs To: Reclaiming Attention in a Digital Age
This post originates at Red Sofa Literary. The agent I’m working with for a new book project posed this question for her agency’s annual NaNoWriMo series: Did you choose writing or did writing choose you? I had to think awhile on this. Why do I write, day after day, word after word? Did I actually choose it, or … Continue reading Fuel for Writing
Evening is falling into the day like a silk scarf slips off a woman’s shoulders when she relaxes into a lover’s embrace. The lake is dead calm, and the fully clothed trees admire their reflection, flaunting their leafy abundance a second time over. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, the shoreline across the … Continue reading That Wild Family of Things
Here are some things that remind you that you are getting older: Your 20th high school reunion. Wrinkles on your forehead that seem to always be there, even when you aren’t trying to scrunch up your face. Realizing you’ve known your spouse for nearly 50% of your life. Being in a group at work for … Continue reading Becoming Older: Some Reflections
Someone shared this poem, by Patricia Monaghan, in a group I facilitate, and I keep reading it over and over again.
The Old Song of the Tribes
The sky draws its curtain
across the season. Any day
now it will snow, curtaining
the footprints in the soft earth
we made today, but any day in this life
or another, if I meet you, the earth’s
pull will be upon us, the mark of the forest
will be on us, indelible handprints, birthmarks.
We will know each other in city or forest,
despite continents and oceans, we will know
each other as much, as little as
we know ourselves, as much as we know
what the mind is, what the body
can be. Amidst
all the changing, our souls will remain
true to each other. The rest can be mist.
When I sat down to write a blog post today, I was going to write about this encounter I had with a hummingbird last week. I was going to tell you how I had just stepped outside after dealing with some issues with our health insurance policy, issues that made me feel uncomfortable and required a phone call to sort them, and how I was reminded of the bigger picture of what’s truly important by watching a tiny bird flit around the wildflowers that cover the hillside behind my house. I was going to tell you how the hummingbird eventually flew up to where I was standing with my coffee and hovered directly in front of my face, just inches from my nose as we looked each other in the eye, one creature to another. It was going to be an illustration of finding the beauty that hovers even in the midst of dealing with undesirable things, like health insurance.
And as I started to think about what to write, all I could think about was my privilege as a white person in this country. I could have opted to simply describe my encounter with that hummingbird, keep my focus on the beauty of nature around my home, and move through my days giving thanks for what I have. And there’s nothing wrong with doing those things. But that’s the definition of privilege: to opt out of thinking or talking about something because you can. There IS something wrong with not talking about what needs to be talked about. Hummingbirds, nature, and gratitude are important. So are basic human rights, peace, and changing our cultural story.
If you haven’t seen the news lately, white supremacists held a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, people were hurt, lives were lost, and the continued ugliness of what is still happening in the world in regards to race and equality has been slammed back into focus yet again. Continue reading “Encounters With Hummingbirds”
Cheryl Strayed wrote a book a few years ago called Tiny Beautiful Things – It’s a book based on her stint as an advice columnist known as “Sugar” and it’s full of people sharing their heart wrenching experiences and asking advice. It’s full of stories about the things that make being human so hard, yet at the same time, can hold so much beauty if we let them. The story I’m about to share isn’t about overcoming drug addiction or sexual assault or homelessness like many of the Dear Sugar columns were, but tiny beautiful things don’t have to be about overcoming the hardest stuff of life. They just have to be tiny and beautiful.
Woodland Manitou is a book for individuals who are searching for something that they can’t quite verbalize; those who aren’t content with the state of the world but are trying to make peace with how things are; those who are unsure how to move forward in taking action to change what feels important to change; those who want to find solace in natural spaces. Reading this book provides reassurance that we aren’t alone in uncertainty, a reminder that there is beauty in the ordinary if we take time to notice and focus on it, and hope that one person’s choices can make a difference even if it’s not always apparent what that difference is.