Quiet Little Life

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I like my quiet little life,
the art carved into everything.
We join in tears and worry,
in new laughter and delight;
yet gravity will impose its pull,
still the sun will set each night.
When a child’s face is set aglow
by a robin’s chirp or falling leaf,
my heart can’t help but swell
with reckless love and
creeping fear of tomorrow’s grief.
I like my quiet little life,
questions I ponder as I drift into sleep,
when an old friend tells me I’m unique.
I smile- we are all unique.
Perhaps not as snowflakes melting
in warm hands, but as tiny grains
of sea-scoured sand:
looking very much alike from far away.
But from close up, each piece
a slightly different hue of gray.

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Turning

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Autumn arrives in the air all of the sudden
Nodding to me it’s time, she advances

The horizon will darken, trees age in a day
Fruit molds and drops, our garden dies back

Too old to mourn the ending summer, I turn,
Flush red and gold, mature fast as a sapling

When night comes early I am ready to greet her
Shedding my guilt like a snakeskin, or leaves

All fall down, together under a turning sky
We recognize that growth has many faces

Birthday Backpack to Hannegan Pass

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I try to make it a tradition to backpack on my birthday, to connect with the earth and sky and air and wildlife. We had a lovely campsite up near Hannegan Pass, despite the smoke from the Upper Skagit Complex fires in the North Cascades.

It was incredibly smoky the night we hiked in, but by morning the sky had cleared enough to reveal a lovely view of Ruth Mountain.

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“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” -Aldo Leopold

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Down in this basin we saw a black bear snacking on mountain ash berries
and lumbering across fallen logs, living without a care.

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This is truly my favorite way to celebrate another year of my life and recognize the inevitable passage of time. Backpacking teaches me about necessity and what really matters. It helps me rediscover the importance and powerful enormity of nature.

We must learn to embrace this and accept that we cannot escape nature’s life cycles.

A Slice of Paradise

I worked hard to challenge my anxiety this weekend– by trying to stay flexible, be practical, open, and treat myself with compassion and understanding.

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It’s exhausting to be anxious and trying not to panic for an entire day. It’s also difficult to explain to others just what’s going on with me. I was rather quiet and withdrawn at times.

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Thankfully I managed to calm myself down and eventually enjoy my time in the lovely North Cascades National Park. As you can see, it was gorgeous.

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I refuse to let fear dictate what I will do and where I will go!

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On the Trail

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Once the initial unease
of stepping out of cell reception
and trading street traffic for open trails
wears off, once the feet become
accustomed to sidestepping roots and stones
and the legs churn out miles smoothly
without rest, once the whirling thoughts
dissipate into a mist of ferns and pines
and stress simmers into the roiling boil
of survival, that is when
the real journey begins.

John Muir Poem

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In August I want to become John Muir, re-
incarnate. To breathe Douglas fir, aspirate
hemlock like oxygen. Subsist on nettles and
wild blackberry, staining fireweed pink
my bloodstream. I will thrive on the cliff-
sides above lakes. I will build my house
over a trickling brook so that it runs through
my living room, where I read crabapple leaves
like novels, veins like my veins. Blood is
just water flowing through us all. This forest
is just one way to understand God. You may
find yourself afraid, but you are not a fraud.
Nature is our equalizer. Think yourself better
and you’ll be quickly corrected. Stoop low
to find false lily-of-the-valley. You are
both worthy and worthless, like soil, like sun.
Don’t let skyscrapers and screens ruin
your eyes. Don’t let the money ruin your mind.