Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

from darkness into light

April 21, 2014 | from darkness into light | from darkness into light

i can’t remember a time when i wasn’t taking pictures.

to be fair, i only remember snippets of life before third grade, but after that, i remember a camera. it was a thin blue rectangle from fisher price with a splash of yellow, a black shutter button, and an attached flash.

the other day, i asked my mom how old i was when i got my first camera.

she said i was seven.

i am thirty-seven years old, so i have been taking pictures for three decades.

and yet, somewhere on my computer, i have a draft of a story in which i found myself bouncing on my rebounder while crying and repeating over and over again, “but i don’t want to be a photographer!”

when i followed the thread of that cry, this is where it led me.

during all those years i was taking pictures of the world around me, i wasn’t really taking pictures at all.

i was trying to hold onto the vision of the world i wanted to live in – a world of beauty, of possibility, of joy, of radiance, of love, of wonder – in the only way i knew how.

as you know, i grew up here.

after college, i ran away. far away.

i said it was because i was cold, and i wanted to be warm, but that wasn’t really it at all.

i ran away to escape the life i thought i would have if i stayed.

it was a life that didn’t seem like me at all.

what i really wanted, even though i didn’t know it then, was to be happy.

even if i didn’t think it was possible.

even if i didn’t know how.

but i am a seeker.

and sometimes, what you are seeking will find you, even if the journey is long & winding & arduous, and often makes no sense at all.

as i drove east, one of the things i wondered was this: will i be able to be me, in a place where i was never really me at all.

it turns out that returning to the place you ran away from, even after finding yourself, is challenging + illuminating + healing.

and if you are in any part of that journey – in the wanting to run away, in the running away, in the being gone, in the returning – i am sending you so much love.

a web of magic

April 18, 2014 | a web of magic

my little savannah is here for a visit. needless to say, i am preoccupied with bubbles and watercolor paints and snowballs.

(she is constantly giving atlas hugs. he tolerates them nicely. i, of course, think it’s pretty much the most adorable thing ever, since savannah and atlas are two of my favorite things. today, she wanted to comb his hair and put clips in it, but i explained that his short hair would make it almost impossible.)

but oh, have i been finding the goodness on the web these days.

i thought i would share some of my findings with you.

last weekend, i decided i needed more fun in my life.

even after a conversation with a friend, i was a little confused on how to go about it.

just then, savannah walked in.

so today, i am wishing you moments of laugh-out-loud delight.

because children are so good at reminding me of both the ease and the importance of it.

the blood moon

April 16, 2014 | the blood moon

i spent the wee hours of my tuesday morning watching the lunar eclipse.

it was so worth it: captivating + awe-inspiring + magical.

did you see it?

adventures in fairyland

April 13, 2014 | adventures in fairyland : a chickadee named constance

{this adventure comes to you by way of a chickadee named constance. previous adventurers: fred.}

i was having a snack in the lilac bush today when another bird joined me. this bird was black and white too, but it had a distinctive red stripe on its head.

a new friend, i thought. i took one last bite and flew to another branch so my new friend could take a turn at the feeder.

you won’t believe what happened. instead of flying up and nibbling at the seeds, like we chickadees do, this bird began to peck at one of the thickest branches of the lilac bush.

rap-rap-rap. rap-rap-rap. rap-rap-rap.

what was that bird doing?

was it writing a secret message? was it playing music? was it knocking birdseed to the ground?

i watched for a bit, but the bird was so absorbed in its task that i didn’t want to interrupt. i finally flew away, still wondering. i’ve been asking my friends and family, but they don’t know what it was doing either.

maybe one day i will see the bird again and solve this mystery.

(don’t tell anyone, but i tried pecking at a branch myself. i got a tiny dent in my beak and a not-so-tiny headache. maybe you could try and let me know what happens?)

your friend, constance

on silence

April 11, 2014 | on silence

“When you sit in silence long enough, you learn that silence has a motion. It glides over you without shape or form, exactly like water. Its color is silver. And silence has a sound you hear only after hours of wading inside it. The sound is soft, like flute notes rising up, like the sound of glass speaking. Then there comes a point when you must shatter the blindness of its words, the blindness of its light.”

~ Anne Spollen, The Shape of Water


April 9, 2014 | meet lars

i know i almost never share photos of people, but you met my niece savannah, so i thought you might like to meet my nephew lars, one of the unexpected blessings of my new life here in michigan.

lars is the dearest silliest liveliest little boy, and i feel so lucky to be his auntie.

(his daddy plays the piano beautifully. maybe you can tell?)

a tisket, a tasket

April 7, 2014 | a tisket, a tasket

i am enjoying photos of my beloved lake. soon, it will be blue again. i was hoping there would be green grass and tulips by my birthday but i suspect it is unlikely. on the bright side, it is 40 degrees today. i could wear shorts and a t-shirt, but the reflection of the sun on the snow would turn my white legs red. also, i am thinking of others; the glare of the sun on my white legs might blind oncoming traffic. when i was young, i would lie on the front porch on days like this (in my swimsuit, no less) to get a head start on my tan.

there was a box in the basement labeled “joe’s bones”. joe is my (very much alive) brother, so i am still giggling at the label. maybe it’s just me. anyway, the box was full of skulls and bones that joe and my dad found over the years, including the most beautiful deer antler. it took some begging, but the deer antler is now mine. it makes a gorgeous paperweight and constantly delights me. soon, atlas and i will hunt for our own shed antlers. antlers are sold as higher-priced dog chews, so these will really be for atlas. (he was more intrigued by this antler than he ever was by the ones in the store; maybe it still has the scent of the wild.)

my lips no longer need moisturizer! i am quite delighted by this. i used to (need to) apply it a million times a day. when my lip moisturizer ran out this winter, i was only driving on blue sky days so couldn’t replenish it immediately. while i was waiting for good weather, i started to wonder if not using it was actually more normal than using it, so i decided not to buy any more. there was a horrible period of withdrawal but eventually my lips normalized. if i want to use something now, i use ghee. (atlas loves this. he licks his lips whenever i put it on.) apparently there are products in most lip moisturizers that strip the lips of their protective coating. also, did you know that petroleum jelly and petrolatum are oil byproducts. i put them on my lips! i find this both fascinating + disturbing.

there is room for three more people to receive postcards from atlas. if you were thinking about it ~ for yourself, for an elderly house-bound relative, for a beloved child who would love their very own mail ~ now is the time to join in! it is going to be full of joy.

moments of joy

April 3, 2014 | moments of joy

i just read the loveliest post from photographer~writer~soul-searcher fiona on catching the small joys and letting them radiate out into life.

it inspired me to begin a new journal, and aligns with what i think about when i think about beauty.

for now, some recent moments of joy + beauty.

shared + tear-filled laughter.

spotting a snow rabbit with twig-whiskers on top of a giant snowbank.

peeling apples for crumble and watching the long curly red apple peels fall into the garbage.

the pale-pink sky at sunrise.

the way atlas appropriates the process of towel-drying for his own pleasure by sticking his head into the towel over and over so i’ll continue to rub his head.

an unexpected + delightful voicemail.

handing a pile of colorful + cheerful postcards to the mailman.

do you want to capture your own small moments of joy?

if you feel inspired to share, i would so love to receive them.

a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

March 31, 2014 | a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

the snow is finally beginning to melt, so i thought i would share some winter photos. these were taken earlier this winter, on a snowshoe hike around calumet lake with my dad.

because i am in a matchmaking mood, i am sharing them in the form of an ode to john burroughs. | a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

“[W]hat a severe yet master artist old Winter is… No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.”

~ John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers | a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

“What a wild winter sound, — wild and weird, up among the ghostly hills… I get up in the middle of the night to hear it. It is refreshing to the ear, and one delights to know that such wild creatures are among us. At this season Nature makes the most of every throb of life that can withstand her severity.”

~ John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers | a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

“It is a spur that one feels at this season more than at any other. How nimbly you step forth! The woods roar, the waters shine, and the hills look invitingly near. You do not miss the flowers and the songsters, or wish the trees or fields any different, or heavens any nearer. Every object pleases… the straight light-gray trunks of the trees… how curious they look, and as if surprised in undress.”

~ John Burroughs, Winter Sunshine | a snowshoe hike around calumet lake

“If the October days were a cordial like the sub-acids of fruit, these are a tonic like the wine of iron. Drink deep or be careful how you taste this December vintage. The first sip may chill, but a full draught warms and invigorates.”

~ John Burroughs, Winter Sunshine

the promise of spring

March 27, 2014 | the promise of spring

{i sent this to the hope floats in winter participants on wednesday. i thought i’d share it here, in case you needed a reminder of spring too.}

this morning, i told my mother that it’s official: today, this week, i am seasonally affected. i’m surprised + delighted that it took this long. because of course i am tired of winter. it’s not winter. it’s spring! even if the view from my window doesn’t reflect this.

i created {hope floats in winter} because i wanted to bring a sparkle of light to a season that can be hard for so many. permission + truth require an acknowledgement of where i am. and in the acknowledgement, i remember that sometimes, a sparkle of light is easiest to find, not in the place where you are, but in a reminder of where you are headed.

i know i will find my way to the magic of winter again. i always do. but right now, hope + possibility + wonder + magic exist in the reminder that spring will come – it always does – so i thought it might be the same for you.

may the smiling, beaming, dancing tulips remind you of the promise of spring.