Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

happy thanksgiving

November 27, 2015 | happy thanksgiving | happy thanksgiving | happy thanksgiving | happy thanksgiving

sometimes you can tell a story with absolutely no words at all.

happy thanksgiving, from my silly pup & his silly person. your presence here is appreciated. always.

(my sister helen took these photos. i’m so glad she did! clearly i was not paying attention to what atlas was doing at all.)

postcards from the wild

November 18, 2015 | postcards from the wild : a squirrel named christopher

{an irregular series of postcards from our wild friends. this one is from a squirrel named christopher. previous postcards: viola, fred, constance, sam.}

it’s so fun to be me!

one of my favorite games to play is to run around & around & around & around & around a tree until i can hardly stand up straight and then i scamper up the tree trunk to see how quickly i can reach the top while i’m still dizzy.

i haven’t fallen yet, but i’ve come close a few times.

(you want to play this game too now, right? you can! or you can play the human version of this game which involves rolling down a very grassy hill and then walking in a straight line.)

your friend, christopher

i’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day

November 12, 2015 | i've got sunshine on a cloudy day | i've got sunshine on a cloudy day | i've got sunshine on a cloudy day

i have some time to myself today, but the sky gods must be washing their laundry in very chilly water so i am hibernating in my bedroom with sleepy pup & books & journal.

my mind is reflecting on vulnerability & loss & perceived safety nets & the ways we put other people first in the hope that they will then love & approve of us.

my heart just wants to see sweet sweet sunshine.

how dogs love us

November 4, 2015 | how dogs love us

i was just reading the sweet tribute mama gena wrote to her pup. my favorite lines were these, about people with dogs:

“They are people who have deliberately chosen to let unconditional love into their lives. They are people who want to be reminded daily that they are the most important thing in the world, and worthy of deep relentless adoration and affection.”

oh, did this resonate with me. when atlas came into my life, i didn’t believe i was worthy of love at all. and yet he loved me. fully & completely.

in every moment, he showed me that i was worthy of adoration & affection, simply because i was his person & i existed.

i mean, look at this photo! you know how atlas feels about photos & posing & dogs in costume. and yet he continues to adore me. though let the record reflect that i respected his deep dislike of costumes even though i did take advantage of his fondness for bandanas.

12 years later, i do love myself. fully & completely. the way he loved me all along. in the moments when i falter, there he is, ready (as always) to remind me.

the love of a dog is really something special. and the love of an old dog, oh my. so much slow true depth & richness.

i love

October 29, 2015 | i love

i love the night sky: the northern lights that dance along the horizon, the harvest moon, the big dipper, the star-studded milky way.

i love birch trees – the way their white bark is equally at home in winter whites, spring greens, or autumn splendor.

i love how lake superior stones change color when they are kissed by the water.

i love listening to the wind through the pines, the yip-yip-yip of coyotes, the chirp of crickets in the swamp, the prehistoric cry of sandhill cranes.

i love the pink rose petal carpet beneath my mom’s rose bush, browned butter ferns and squirrel tracks in the snow.

i love how blueberry bushes turn crimson in autumn & a single drop of rain sends ripples across a pond.

i love that gnarly apple trees produce a sweet sweet fruit.

i love the yellow larvae in the fallen wasp nest, translucent winged dragonflies, the tiny pink & white cosmos in my grandparents’ back yard, dew on a spider web.

i love the blue jays at the bird feeder, the polka-dotted ladybug on the screen door and the delicate-limbed hornet on the lip of my mug of vinegar & honey water.

i love how the woods down the road are carpeted in yellow every spring.

i love watching autumn leaves dance in the wind, fox cubs playing like puppies, geese flying overhead, waves crashing on the shore.

i love how purple thistles remain long after the first frost, leaves float lazily to the ground in autumn and grains of sand look like miniature jewels as they fall from my hand.

i love feathery cirrus clouds & puffy cirrocumulus clouds.

i love the tiny brown bird wading in the green algae at the edge of the lake who had a thin beak that was longer than his head.

i love the crunch of dry leaves, the plop of a turtle as it drops into the lake, the roar of the waves, the rain on the roof.

i love when blue sky meets blue water, when the world is silent & white after a heavy snowfall and when clumsy yellow bumblebees sip nectar from wildflowers.

i love purple lilacs in my blue mason jar.

to me, nature is magic.

it’s no wonder i believe in magic.

magic is all around me.

my soul is wedded to autumn

October 25, 2015 | my soul is wedded to autumn

it is so beautiful in the woods right now that all i can say is “look! look! look!!!”

fortunately, there are people who can express themselves much better than i can.

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

~ George Eliot, Letters to Miss Eliot

“my very soul is wedded to [autumn]”. is that not the most delightful sentiment? i echo it wholeheartedly.

an autumn smile

October 19, 2015 | an autumn smile | an autumn smile | an autumn smile

“Autumn … the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

~ William Cullen Bryant

orion, my friend

October 16, 2015 | orion, my friend

i said hi to (the constellation) orion the other night. he is back in the northern sky after a summer in the southern hemisphere.

i said hi.
i thought friend.

his hello-reply boomed across the star-studded sky.

now i wonder: can a booming voice be silent?

in his case, it was.

i never hear his voice with my ears, but i feel it in my heart.

a hello from my atlas pup

October 9, 2015 | a hello from my atlas pup


i’ve missed you!

i have been very busy over here keeping an eye on small children and large elders. but don’t worry, i still get lots of naps.

did you know that it is hunting season in michigan? i love hunting season. i went hunting the other day (on my own, my person said to mention. apparently some dogs go hunting with people. why, i ask you? people just slow me down.) and there were smells everywhere. i did not see a deer but i sure smelled them. it was the most exciting day ever.

the hot days of summer are over and i am happy to report that i did not swim. since you’re my friend, i’ll confess that i did grow to love the beach this year. it turns out that a beach blanket and a cool lake are just the thing for a very hot dog. swimming, on the other hand, is not. i do have my principles.

last month, my person told me that we’d been together for 12 years. someone took a picture of us for her and i stood still and looked at the camera. don’t you think i deserve an ice cream cone of my very own for that?! i certainly do.

uh-oh! i hear small children! it’s back to work for me.

take care of yourself, please! you are worth it.

your friend, atlas

she wasn’t nothing. she was everything.

September 30, 2015 | she wasn't nothing. she was everything.

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.)