my cousin & i went on a guided snowshoe hike through keweenaw shores & the upson lake nature sanctuary last weekend with the michigan nature association. it was one of those perfect blue sky sunshine days. the snow had such a hard crust on it that we didn’t need snowshoes at all – and there were a few spots under the trees where the snow was gone altogether.
on the hike, we saw a snow & ice-covered lake superior, an animal bone, wintergreen leaves, two large piles of deer hair, native mistletoe, lichen, red pine, part of the copper harbor conglomerate, a frozen stream & fresh woodpecker holes.
i took a chunk of the deer hair home with me for atlas. it was a hit. he sniffed & sniffed & sniffed the hair with very evident pleasure. (then he followed me to the garbage bin – clearly he did not think such a treasure should be thrown away.)
i had worked every day for the two weeks leading up to the hike so it felt extra good to move my body & to spend time outdoors in the fresh air.
today, i did something on my mental to-do list. it was one of those things that should have been done a while ago, but today was the very first day that it was possible for me to do it. as i was on my way to do the thing, i noticed that i was mentally berating myself for being unable to do it earlier.
when the voice in my head became conscious, the thought that popped into my head was this: why was i beating myself up for this one small part of the story of the thing, instead of giving myself credit for everything else?
what happened next surprised me.
i heard not-quite-a-voice in my head, more like a felt-sense in my body, and the message that landed was this: you went through something hard with grace & dignity. you are doing a good job and i am so so so proud of you.
the message brought me to tears because i could feel that it was the truth.
i am wont to wonder why: why do we pick ourselves apart in order to beat ourselves up?
instead, i think i am going to focus on the fact that patterns can be changed – that my pattern is changing – one moment of loving kindness at a time.
today, i want to share a few of the things i’ve seen around the web of late that have inspired me, moved me to tears, or just plain intrigued me.
:: love your homepage :: a free e-course from allie of allie creative. allie designed my website and i still love it more than i can say.
:: the apple slice & social media envy :: an exquisite piece on the comparison trap from erin of design for mankind. when i am tired or lonely or overwhelmed or afraid, it’s easy for me to think that a slice of someone else’s life looks better than the life i deep-down know is full + rich + perfect for me. erin’s words landed in my heart like a blessing.
:: use your words :: a reminder that words are valuable from shauna niequist. if you wonder whether you should tell someone that you’re proud of them, that you love them, that you see them, shauna’s piece might just hold your answer.
:: the winter of scrabble :: a poem about connection & heartbreak & wordlessness from mccall erickson.
(wondering about the photo? it’s the lights on a copperdog 150 sled dog team as they raced past me. though you cannot see the dogs themselves, it is my favorite of my photos.)
soften your focus, widen your eyes & gaze into the heart of wonder.
may it bring you peace.
the arctic is melting! the arctic is melting! the arctic is melting!
i celebrated with a very long walk and a drink from every mud puddle. also, i peed on everything. (i had to reclaim my town-territory. the local dogs had probably forgotten all about me.)
wow, am i happy. and tired. it takes a while to stretch out my winter legs.
your friend, atlas
p.s. guess how i celebrated my walk? with a nap, of course!
“Everyone who terrifies you is 65% water.
And everyone you love is made of stardust,
and I know
you cannot breathe deeply, and
the night sky is no home, and
that you are down to your last two percent,
nothing is infinite,
not even loss.
You are made of the sea and the stars, and
you are going to find yourself again.”
~ Finn Butler
In his book, We Are Still Married, Garrison Keillor included a piece titled How to Write a Letter. As you know, I am a huge fan of real mail, including (especially) letters. His piece made letter-writing seem so friendly + accessible, and was so full of tips + truth, that I would love for everyone to read it.
To entice you – into reading his piece, into writing letters – here is some of his wisdom.
- Don’t feel guilty about not writing. Letters are a gift. You don’t owe anyone a letter.
- The only letters that are obligatory are thank you notes, condolence notes, and responses to requests for a visit. Write those promptly. Don’t worry about the others.
- Some of the best letters are written in a fit of inspiration.
- Your words don’t need to be immortal, just sincere.
- Think about your friend. When they become real to you, start to write.
- Tell your friend what you’re doing, just as if you were talking to them.
- If you don’t know where to begin, start with the present moment.
- You are writing to someone who already likes you. Take it easy.
- Don’t worry about form. It’s not a term paper.
- Don’t start over every time you make a mistake. Write your way out of it.
- Writing is a means of discovery. When you come to the end, you’ll know something you didn’t know when you began.
- Your letter will be an object of art. Your simple lines will show future generations the humanity of our times.
For more letter-writing goodness, read the entire piece in We Are Still Married. Available at fine booksellers and libraries everywhere.
Thanks, Mr. Keillor, for your wisdom! You inspired me to write three letters today and I agree with all of this.
Here’s to a world full of handwritten letters!
“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”
~ Victor Hugo
just a quick note to say:
if you want to get mail from me, there’s still time to sign up.
i am ready to deliver the postcards myself if needed. (pony express. pfffft. i am just as fast as a pony.)
it’s going to be so much fun!
i think of this line – from the song let go, by frou frou – whenever the petals on a flower begin to fade & fall.
there is beauty in the breakdown indeed.