i was in the middle of writing a piece about a book i am currently reading & loving when i paused to read a biography about carol ruckdeschel and her fight to save the sea turtles & their home on cumberland island. (when it comes to books, i find myself completely unable to read just one.)
when i read these lines, i just had to share them.
“She closed her eyes and let the darkness settle in. Is this what death will look like? she wondered. There wouldn’t even be the color black. She felt utterly empty and blank, like the gaze of the turtle carcass in the meadow. She didn’t want to die and become nothing. She loved being alive so much.
Then she opened her eyes and looked up again at the blackness between the stars. Her tiny speck of life was utterly insignificant in the sweep of space. Its vastness left her feeling dizzy and disoriented. But it also made her feel something else, something surprisingly close to … free. She was completely, utterly free to live her one and only life until she died. Death was as natural and necessary as life, and both were far older and larger than she had imagined. Each breath connected her to the first algae and the last dinosaur. All the animals that had ever lived and died – they were all part of the same precious matter – and so was she. She belonged to it all, from the stars to the soil. She wasn’t nothing. She was everything.”
~ from the book Untamed by Will Harlan
she wasn’t nothing. she was everything.
yes, yes, yes.
(also apropos, since recently, i came to a similar conclusion.)
all of my siblings were in town over the weekend, and my out-of-town sisters stayed for the week. it was such a treat to spend all that time with them. i am full up on love. and toddler kisses.
atlas is napping now. he will probably nap for days. toddlers love him, and there were four of them here. as you can imagine, he did not get much rest.
wherever you are, whatever you’re doing this weekend, i wish you love + rest.
“In summer, the song sings itself.”
~ William Carlos Williams
i have an app that forecasts the northern lights on my ipod but i never remember to look at it. instead, i rely on atlas. he can always be counted on to drag me out of bed for one (or two) (or three) middle-of-the-night potty runs. if the northern lights are visible at all, i will probably be outside at some point to see them. unfortunately, i am too sleepy in those moments to drive to the lake for prime viewing.
on monday, the show started at 10 (!!!) so i put a jacket on over my pajamas & grabbed my camera & drove to the lake. thanks to a kindly person who told me what shutter speed to use and then shared their flashlight with me so i could adjust my camera settings, i was able to capture some memories. (next time, i need to bring a tripod. i can tell when people were walking down the stairs – i was using the railing as a tripod – by the look of the stars.)
if you’ve never seen the northern lights, i hope you get to see them someday. i’ve seen them many many times over the years (all here, in michigan’s upper peninsula) and they never grow old. they remind me of magic & wonder & all good things. and as my dad would say, “now here’s something that deserves the adjective awesome.”
i was so hot after making lunch for my grandparents that i decided to go jump in the lake. in the half hour or so it took me to drive home & put my suit on, clouds covered the sun & the air grew chilly. instead of going to one of my usual swim spots, i drove to the mouth of the gratiot river to hunt for rocks.
the lake was so glorious (the gratiot empties into lake superior) that i jumped in anyway. it turned out to be a great place to swim. there is such a steep slope that you can take a step or two and dive right in.
afterward, i sat on the rocky beach & threw rocks in the waves & took pictures of waves breaking on the shore. doesn’t this wave look a little like a waterfall?! i love it.
(when i was little, i took entire rolls of film of waves crashing on rocks or on the shore. some things never change.)
the great lake & i are creating tiny bundles of love.
you will receive:
a postcard, holding a glimpse of the lake on one side & a love note written just for you on the other.
a colorful stone, polished by the waves & cleansed by the crystal clear water.
an (invisible) blessing.
the essence: a cool breeze through an open window at the end of a hot summer day; scrunching your toes in the sand while the waves lap the shore; or that first long cold sip of an icy drink.
sweet sweet relief.
the price: $7
maybe one of these bundles is meant for you (or someone you love). if so, click the button.
from lake superior & myself, with love.
if you have black eyed susans in your neighborhood, you might want to pick some & put them in a vase with water & keep them there until they dry. black eyed susans are bright & cheerful in the wild & in a vase. when they dry, they are sweet & adorable.
i discovered this by accident – i have a habit of keeping flowers long past the time when most people would toss them – and then i went and picked two more bunches. i can just picture their dear little faces smiling sweetly at me in the dead of winter.
(just so you know, they do drop a lot of pollen, even when they’re dry, but i decided it’s worth it. and after they dry, i move them to their new home, which has no water in it.)
you are (i am) magic.
i’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. i don’t want to just believe in magic. (i do.) i want to be magic.
it’s easy to see magic in the shimmering lake, in the jewel-colored sand, in the golden light just before sunset.
but when you break everything down to its essence, it’s all made of the same stuff. so really, i am the shimmering lake. i am the jewel-colored sand. i am the golden light just before sunset.
i am stardust & moonbeam & rainbow. and i am magic.
the car stops.
two legs step down.
four legs jump down.
feet (& paws) on the ground.
the leash comes off.
nose in the air, he runs down the sandy beach,
further & further
she can fit him
on her index finger.
he looks different somehow.
when he finally returns,
when panic has made her voice
she hugs him in relief.
what were you doing?
i was pretending i was my own dog.
beauty is the sound of a milkweed lament
throbbing around a singing fire
echoing through a whirlwind of elastic fireflies.