Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

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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my dear friend

May 28, 2016 | my dear friend

nature is my dear dear friend.

she is yours too, you know.

often, if you look closely, you will see her waving & smiling with delight at you.

i went swimming!

May 18, 2016 | i went swimming!

i waded into a plunge pool on a waterfall hike the other weekend. the water was so warm that i took my pictures, put my camera safely on a rock, and then went for a swim. oh, did it feel good to immerse myself in fresh water again. i felt refreshed & alive.

(by warm, i probably mean in comparison to lake superior. i’ve tried to get into the lake a few times now but it is just too cold.)

(this was two weekends ago. last weekend, it snowed. today, i might be sunburnt. spring weather is so unpredictable!)

i am a tree hugger

May 9, 2016 | i am a tree hugger

the day my grampa fell in the kitchen, i hugged a tree.

it wasn’t my first time.

the first time i hugged a tree, i felt a little silly.

i waited until i was sure no one was watching, and then i wrapped my arms around one. (i think i had read that hugging trees was a good grounding practice, and i lived primarily from my head at the time.)

as i let my body rest on the sturdy tree trunk, i felt my stress + anxiety fall away. after that, i went to the trees often.

the day my grampa fell, i really needed to hug one.

he couldn’t get up and my grama couldn’t get to the phone so he propped himself up with his arms and waited. my mom & sister & i stopped by their house on the way to a hike and found him there – a few hours later.

as i sat with them that afternoon, emotions roiled beneath the surface. i had been spending more & more time at my grandparents’ house, but that was the first time i realized that i felt sad + scared + completely out of my element.

when i was relieved, i drove directly to a favorite trail and walked into the woods.

“can i hug you?” i asked a tree.

silently, the tree said yes.

i wrapped my arms around the trunk, rested my cheek on its rough bark, and let the tears fall.

that day, something happened.

“there, there,” i heard the tree say, and i felt long thin arms wrap around me.

the day my grampa fell was the first time a tree hugged me back.

i remember the ontonagon river

April 29, 2016 | i remember the ontonagon river

i remember how the water slipped & slid & tumbled down the black rocks. when it reached the bottom of the falls, it raced along the river banks and careened around the bend as if it were late for a date with its beloved friend the sea.

the light that afternoon was like an indulgent smile bestowed on a dearly beloved child.

what i mean by that is: the light didn’t try to stop the river; the light didn’t admonish the river for hurrying; the light simply watched the river run and loved it more than anything.

walk on air

April 20, 2016 | walk on air

“Walk on air against your better judgement.”

~ Seamus Heaney

not my shiniest moment

April 14, 2016 | not my shiniest moment

i was awful to atlas one day this past winter.

we were driving home from the ski trails & he had to poop. i couldn’t stop the car in time, so he pooped in the car.

i shouted at him & called him a bad dog & pulled him out of the car none-too-gently.

it was not my shiniest moment.

oh, did i hang onto it.

guilting, shaming, judging, weighing.

this dog saved me and these are the final years of his life and he can’t help that his body is failing him and this is probably the last straw and i’ll never be able to make it up to him and now all he’ll remember are the awful moments and i am clearly the worst person in the entire world.

i want to be my own best friend.

in these moments – the moments in which i behave in a way that is so far from how i want to behave – i am not my friend at all.

not because i behave badly – we all behave badly at times – but because of the way i speak to myself & look at myself afterward.

i’ve been learning to love myself for a long time now.

ten years, i think.

every time i think i’ve got it, something like this happens and it throws me.

but maybe that’s what loving myself deeply means.

facing – again & again – my deeply flawed broken human self and finding a way to love + forgive her.

i’m making cards

April 6, 2016

i’m making cards again! it is so much fun that i thought i’d share a few of my new card sets with you. someday, i hope, they will make it into my little shoppe of wonder on etsy.

crimson tide | crimson tide

first blush | first blush

peek-a-boo | peek-a-boo

a swiftly tilting planet | a swiftly tilting planet

under a snow goose moon | under a snow goose moon

clearly i was not meant for mass production because i rarely have more than one of each set. probably because i like pairing each set with its name the most.

atlas is 13

March 30, 2016 | atlas is 13 | atlas is 13 | atlas is 13

atlas is 13! as of march 15th.

can you believe it? (i can scarcely believe it myself.)

his special day included a double hamburger, a long nap with me, a hike by the lake, and lots (& lots) of kisses.

i’ve written a lot about atlas over the years – that’s why so many people love him – but lately, when it comes to my beloved pup, my heart grows & grows & grows until it fills my throat. there are no words left, only feelings.

atlas is a piece of my heart walking around outside of my body, and i so so so adore him.