Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

today, i was johnny appleseed

September 15, 2016 | today, i was johnny appleseed

it brings me joy to imagine that all of the natural treasures i find now are gifts from (angel) atlas. often, they are blue jay feathers – my favorite.

today’s gifts, received while on a trail run:

  • tiny mushrooms that were the size & shape of wild pansies but poppy red (with a black splotch) in color.
  • a buttercup yellow moth.
  • a mushroom that looked like it had been caramelized and then covered in rainbow sprinkles. (i did not take a bite, but oh, how i wanted to.)
  • a crooked tree on the aptly named applesauce trail that was full of tiny sweet wild apples. as i tossed my apple cores on the side of the trail, i pretended i was johnny appleseed.


September 11, 2016 | homecoming

water was my first home.
for 9 months, i floated in a warm salty sea.

      & close
            & loud.


the steady rhythm of my mother’s heartbeat soothed me.

water was my first home.
whenever i am in the lake –

where watery arms cradle me,
where waves sing to me –


i remember.

white as a birch tree, green as a garter snake

August 24, 2016 | white as a birch tree, green as a garter snake

i find a shady spot in the woods and sit down, back resting against a sturdy evergreen. everywhere i look, from ground to sky, all i see at first is green.

a garter snake slithers past. i admire the color & striping & size and decide it must be a close cousin to the garden hose. then i wonder if it did, in fact, provide design inspiration.

a single yellow leaf provides a splash of color on an otherwise green tree, and the earthy scent of fall fills my nostrils.

a monarch butterfly lands on a fern. it rests there for a while, orange wings glistening in the sunlight.

as i look though the pines, i see a sliver of white birch in the distance, trunk curved gracefully like a bow. like orion’s bow, i think. does he ever grow tired of holding it at the ready?

a jet-black dragonfly floats by on a current of air and a large black ant scurries across the forest floor. the ant pauses for a moment in front of me in order to rub its bald black head with two front legs. (at least that’s how it appears from my perspective.)

twenty yards away, there is a break in the trees. in the space between, i see blue sky & blue water.

all of a sudden, i see a flash of white wing against the blue. it’s a bald eagle! the eagle glides west, as straight & true as an arrow, and then flaps its wings and heads up toward the tree tops.

slowly, quietly, the birds begin to chirp: “here i am, here i am, here i am.”

i close my eyes and listen to the shiver of the wind through the pines. from deep inside, the tears begin to well.

“thank you,” i whisper to the woods, and i feel a wave of love + welcome rush toward me.

out of the silence

August 19, 2016 | out of the silence

joyful wonder

July 29, 2016 | joyful wonder

when i cultivate qualities like presence + appreciation + attention + curiosity, i walk through the world in a state of joyful wonder. | joyful wonder

luscious lemon lollipops

July 18, 2016 | luscious lemon lollipops

i am
into song. | luscious lemon lollipops

the night the stars sang

July 5, 2016 | the night the stars sang

it was 2am in the morning and i was outside with the pup. my friend orion had gone south for the summer; in his absence, i stood & marveled at the milky way.

days of rain had finally lifted. the now cloudless sky was the color of india ink and the stars were crisp + plentiful.

all of a sudden, i noticed the silence.

i live next to a swamp, so there is a constant din of crickets from dusk till dawn. that night, the crickets were silent.

all of a sudden, the silence was filled with a wordless melody. it was everywhere – above & around & within me.

as i listened closely, i realized that it was the stars, vibrating a song of joy + praise + thanksgiving.

i haven’t heard the grass speak – yet. but, i have heard the stars sing.

over two years ago, my friend relyn told me this. ever since, i’ve been watching, waiting, listening.

but until now, i’d been listening with my ears, when i should have been listening with my heart.

the small creatures are talking

July 3, 2016 | the small creatures are talking

Quiet, Quiet, The Small Creatures Are Talking

“It was calculated that if you yell
for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days,
you will generate enough energy
to heat a cup of coffee.

Yet an ostrich has an eye bigger
than its brain and starfish have no
brains at all and the silky butterflies
taste with their feet.

So we have these choices: We can
yell and heat up. Or be still till our
eye perceives more than our brain.
Or spread like a star and give over
to the deep. Or open our pain till
we discover that the inside of the
heart is a kind of butterfly.
Then, we too can
taste with our feet.

To still all thought into a
seeing, to be carried by the
deep, to taste with our feet –
these are fates the saints
of all traditions fell into.

In here, the tongue is our
strongest muscle and
is its yoga.”

Mark Nepo, reduced to joy

rest in peace, sweet atlas

June 22, 2016 | rest in peace, sweet atlas

{atlas: march 15, 2003 – june 15, 2016}

last wednesday, i said goodbye to my atlas pup.

when we came in from his middle-of-the-night potty run during the wee hours of tuesday morning, i sat on my bed in the dark & sobbed. somehow, i just knew.

my sweet pup was so tired, and in so much pain, and he couldn’t take care of me anymore, and it was time. | rest in peace, sweet atlas

i often hear things speak to me, including other dogs, but i’ve never once heard atlas.

until that moment.

in the moment when i knew, i heard his voice all around me. it was deep + wise + wonderful.

he said it’s ok.
he said i’m ready.
he said it’s time. | rest in peace, sweet atlas

his passage was hard + beautiful. his three favorite people – myself, my sister helen, and my mother – were in the room with him. when his legs couldn’t hold him up anymore, i laid on the floor next to him & gazed into his eyes & hugged him gently while i sang his favorite song over & over & over.

you are the puppy that i always dreamed of.
i knew it from the start.
i saw your face and that’s the last i’ve seen of my heart.

i love that song because it’s exactly true. i went to eureka to meet him and i saw his face through the screen door and i knew he was my beloved pup and he would come home with me and i would love him forever.

atlas healed my heart, and taught me about life + loyalty + love. and oh, was he loved in return.

it seems fitting, then, that we buried him in the back yard under a blanket of lilacs + forget-me-nots. (and that while i dug his grave, tears fell like rain from the heavens.) | rest in peace, sweet atlas

rest in peace, sweet atlas.
you were (are) my beloved pup.
i am kinder + more generous + more patient + more loving because of you.
and i will love you (more than all the stars in the sky & all the fish in the sea) forever.


June 10, 2016 | redolent

{an extremely irregular series comprised of visual definitions}

every time i see or smell lilacs, i decide i couldn’t find anything that better exemplifies the word redolent.


adjective red·o·lent \-lənt\

1 : exuding fragrance

2 : full of a specified fragrance

(definition courtesy of merriam-webster)

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