Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

a hot summer night at lily pond

July 27, 2014 | a hot summer night at lily pond | a hot summer night at lily pond | a hot summer night at lily pond | a hot summer night at lily pond

last monday evening, my sister and pup and i went to lily pond – a public boat launch on the houghton canal – to cool off before bed. (when the temperature is high, 10pm is the perfect time for a swim.)

it was so fun jumping off the dock into the canal. i felt like a little kid. atlas deigned to join us, but he did walk partway down the boat ramp afterward to get a drink of water.

(i don’t know why it’s called lily pond. maybe it’s near a lily pond? back in the day, whenever my cousins came to town, they’d swim at lily pond. i never joined them. i thought it was a lily pond and i preferred the lake. clearly i missed out!)

everything reaches

July 24, 2014 | everything reaches

everything reaches toward the light.

atlas vs the lake

July 23, 2014 | atlas vs the lake

atlas says: i will drink from the lake, but i will not swim in it. just because i am now willing to let my belly touch the water does not mean that i have changed my mind about this. i am resolved.

elizabeth says: on monday, a kind stranger held atlas’s leash while i swam. she said that when i went under, he had a very furrowed brow. he did not, however, seem inclined to come in after me. still, i remain hopeful.

nature’s fireworks

July 20, 2014 | nature's fireworks

“Against a dark sky all flowers look like fireworks. There is something strange about them, at once vivid and secret, like flowers traced in fire in the phantasmal garden of a witch.”

~ G.K. Chesterton, Alarms and Discursions

on knowing and roses

July 14, 2014 | on knowing and roses

my mother asked me to take care of her rose bushes for a bit.

i have never liked roses, their scent or their appearance, even after years in the rose city. still, i was happy to help. (it was a chance to play gardener.)

after a morning walk with the pup, i found the trimming shears, took off my sandals, and settled in among the roses.

as i trimmed the dead and dying roses so the plant would flower again, i couldn’t help but marvel at them.

the flowers were varying shades of pink: pale pink to deep rose. the petals were soft to the touch.

the roses that were past their prime had a brown tint around the edge and the entire flower seemed loose and floppy. when i brushed against a dying rose, its petals fell to the ground like a gentle spring shower.

the air around the rose bush vibrated with the buzz of yellow & black bumblebees. we worked together, their bodies and my fingers circling each other in a simple dance.

from time to time, i paused in my work because my flower was already occupied. | on knowing and roses

i’d watch the bumblebee move slowly and clumsily around the yellow pollen. when it was done, it would lift off and fly over to a new flower while i snipped the stem of the rose it had already tasted, just below the petals.

as the rose fell at my feet, i’d wonder if the bumblebee noticed it was gone.

an hour later, the soles of my feet were black, the earth was carpeted in pink, and i was in love with roses.

later that afternoon, i read a line in the book the shack that seemed to explain everything.

“so many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. love is just the skin of knowing.”

i now know roses as the wonder that they are, and i am delighted to have made their acquaintance.

a gift + a midsummer sale

July 10, 2014 | a gift for you

one. a gift.

this image is my computer background. it makes me so happy that i want you to have the image too.

click the image to see the full-size version. right-click + download the linked file to use as you wish. (in full size, you can see a tiny black bug on the daisy. it looks like it is hanging on for dear life.)

two. a sale.

a need inspired me with the idea for a midsummer sale. through this weekend, most everything i offer has a special price. i invite you to wander around the curio cabinet; perhaps there is something that calls to you.

while it is indeed true that you need beauty + wonder + magic, it is also true that i have nothing you need, only things that are a delight + a pleasure.

(here’s what i am delighting in today: wonder + whimsy filled stories that fly swiftly + easily into your email inbox; postcards from the wild, full of wisdom & full of wonder; and yellow roman candles, a photo series depicting a tiny unforgettable moment of magic.

for you, with love.

the simple life

July 8, 2014 | the simple life

here, i am learning the art of flower arranging after reading a how-to article that made it seem both logical + learnable in a magazine at my grandparents’ house. | the simple life

this is an excellent way to practice imperfection. my bouquets never look the way i envision them and i am usually less than satisfied. this is partly because i am using wildflowers; the wildflowers that grow in profusion are tiny and ideally i’d have a few large blooms for contrast. | the simple life

here, my adventures in wildcrafting continue. last month, i made red clover lemonade and red clover tea. | the simple life

the red clover tea was good. the red clover lemonade was ok. at least, that was my verdict on the lemonade until i realized i hadn’t made lemonade at all. somehow, i forgot to add the lemon and only realized it when the lemonade iced tea was almost gone. | the simple life

here, the strawberries are ripening. i am hoping to gather enough wild strawberries for a shortcake. or at least for my breakfast. | the simple life

here, the fourth of july weekend was full of small-town celebration. there were fireworks, a bbq, art at first friday, ice cream cones, the milkman’s jamboree, blueberry pie, and family, including adult time with a childhood cousin and her husband. | the simple life

there was also a swim in the lake – my first for the year. i didn’t duck – i just couldn’t get my head underwater – but i certainly swam. after much balking + squealing while standing waist-deep in the water, i paddled around for a bit and then shivered my way to shore.

when i reflect on my days, they seem so simple, and yet they feel so full + rich.

here, i am counting my (simple + beautiful) blessings.

atlas says: summer = ice cream!

July 2, 2014 | atlas says: summer = ice cream! | atlas says: summer = ice cream! | atlas says: summer = ice cream! | atlas says: summer = ice cream!

a wordless weimaraner wednesday.

if wishes were wildflowers

June 30, 2014 | if wishes were wildflowers

yesterday, i set out with my camera to find just the right photo to accompany my latest story club story. i found this, a field full of wildflowers.

in the middle of the field, i see the heroine, eyes closed, feet bare, soft smile. she is twirling around on tip-toes, a straw hat held lightly in her hand.

the scent of lilacs

June 26, 2014 | the scent of lilacs

every spring, during all the years i was away from michigan, my thoughts turned toward lilacs.

i remembered the purple lilacs by the back door, the white lilacs behind the house, and the pale violet lilacs around the neighborhood.

i remembered the lilac bouquets in the middle of the kitchen table. they were usually in a white hourglass vase with a red & yellow flower on it.

i remembered my youthful desire for a wedding bouquet of lilacs. (though i wasn’t entirely sure how to reconcile a spring flower with a fall wedding.)

i remembered the scent. it was sweet but not cloying, floral but not heady or overpowering.

to me, lilacs were spring.

when i moved to portland, i fell in love with tulips. | the scent of lilacs

i loved the rainbow of colors, the waxy green leaves, the soft wide petals.

i loved their arrival – early in the year, when the grey + rain threatened to overtake me.

i loved the way the flowers drooped, slowly, over the edge of the vase, as if they were too heavy for their stems.

i loved the way the petals dropped, slowly, one by one.

even as i reveled in the tulips, i never forgot the lilacs.

to me, tulips looked like spring, but lilacs smelled like spring, and every year i missed them.

this spring, lilacs were not in my memory, but in my life. | the scent of lilacs

i watched lilacs blow in the wind while wandering around the neighborhood with the pup.

i gathered lilac bouquets for the kitchen table and my bedroom and my grandparents’ house.

i watched the birds come and go from the bird feeder nestled in the lilac bush by the kitchen window.

i buried my nose in the blossoms, and closed my eyes in pleasure.

in the scent of lilacs, my past and present said hello.

it is spring.

yes, it is spring.