Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

grey on gray

December 21, 2014 | grey on gray

don’t you love when the water melts into the sky?

here comes the sun

December 17, 2014 | here comes the sun

i have been so exhausted lately. i take atlas out in the morning but then – on days when i do not have barista training and there is no snow to shovel – i fall back asleep until 10 or 11am. by 6pm, i am ready for bed.

on monday, i realized why this is – it has been weeks since we saw the sun. not only that, the days have been grey + foggy, so the usual brightness from the snow is gone.

yes, i am singing the winter blues. (in december. this seems so early!)

so, i am treating myself with extra love + kindness + pleasure. fortunately, i have a handy-dandy list of ideas. i went to the lake with atlas; i made pumpkin raisin cookies (& ate quite a few of them); i watched a few episodes of parks & rec; i took extra vitamin d; and i sat down with a giant mug of tea and wrote letters to friends.

in case you are missing the sun too, i found this photo for us. it was taken on my grandparents’ farm last fall. i wouldn’t normally share it – i like a more defined sunburst – but today, it makes me happy.

may you feel the warmth of the sun, wherever + however you are.

(if the winter blues have really gotten you down, there is a tiny story on my story club page. perhaps it will brighten your spirit.)


December 13, 2014 | winterfell

i woke up on tuesday to find myself living in the land of ice and snow. it was truly spectacular.

on thursday, the world was still frozen. | winterfell

i took atlas and my camera for a walk that evening and nearly froze my fingers off. | winterfell | winterfell

on friday, the world was still frozen. | winterfell

i took atlas and my camera for a hike around calumet lake that afternoon. the alternate thawing and freezing meant that the trail was pretty solid, no snowshoes required.

i will confess that i expected to see jon snow and some of his brothers on the night’s watch, or else the snow queen, around every single corner. | winterfell | winterfell | winterfell | winterfell

from now on, when i read game of thrones, this is how i will picture the wall, the lands north of the wall, and winterfell in winter.

a letter from santa claus

December 10, 2014 | a letter from santa claus

{a story from the archives. because it makes me happy. because it is the season.}

dear savannah,

brrrrrrrrr, it is cold at the north pole right now. it might be just as cold as north dakota.

the elves in the stable are working round-the-clock to keep the water in the reindeer’s water dishes thawed. it seems to freeze solid every hour. when they miss a bowl, the reindeer bump their noses on the ice when they go to take a drink. almost all of the reindeer have bruises on their noses now. even rudolph.

did you write a letter to me this year? mrs. claus says i’m getting old because sometimes i forget things. i am getting old, but i never forget the important things, like where you live or how old you are. i do, however, often forget where my glasses are. (usually, they are in my beard. it is such a big fluffy beard that i often put my glasses in there for safekeeping and then forget about them.)

are you enjoying the holiday season? there is so much wonder and magic in the air right now. you can watch the snowflakes sparkle in the lamplight. you can giggle at the icicles on atlas’s chin. you can see the colorful shadows on the wall behind the christmas tree. you can watch the chickadees as they hop from branch to branch. you can find the green of the evergreens hidden beneath their winter coat of snow.

mrs. claus and i love this time of year. we drink hot cocoa and swap stories about the people we love. sometimes we feel sad because we miss the elves that have retired and gone back to their villages, so we cry for a while and then give each other a big hug.

(silly me. i am getting old. i don’t need to tell you about wonder and magic. you can find it anywhere. i heard how you found the mardi gras beads and made a rainbow.)

it’s fun to think of you getting older, savannah. i hope you know how special you are and how very much you are loved, exactly the way you are.

it’s time for me to say goodbye now. i need to bring some soup to the chief elf. he has a cold and his nose won’t stop running. it is dripping all over the presents.

don’t forget your friend santa claus, and please leave me a cookie! i love pumpkin raisin, just like your auntie nibby.

merry christmas.

love, santa claus

do you know someone who would love their very own letter from santa claus?

here’s a way for you to delight them!

from a lens of privilege

December 6, 2014 | from a lens of privilege

i can feel all the anger + frustration + anguish in the united states right now and my heart is breaking.

i don’t know what to say, for many reasons, but it feels important to say something.

here is what i know.

the civil rights movement occurred from 1954-1968.

1968 was less than 50 years ago.

no matter how much i might want to believe otherwise, i have heard enough + seen enough + read enough to know that racism is not dead, privilege does exist, and sometimes i am part of the problem.

i want to live in a world in which everyone feels seen + heard + valued.

i want to live in a world in which everyone truly feels free.

perhaps it sounds naive, but i believe that such a world is possible.

maybe not now. maybe not for generations. maybe systems will have to be dismantled.

still, i choose to believe it is possible.

as i sit with hard questions, i commit (again) to this.

i will check my privilege.

i will listen; i will learn; i will seek to understand.

i will notice the way i divide the world into us and them, and meet each person as an individual.

i will not fear my blind spots, my darkness, the many times i will fail at this. i will acknowledge them & do the work necessary & send love to myself through all of it.

above all, i commit to love.

i was wondering how this post connected to my mission – to remind you of beauty + wonder.

perhaps it doesn’t.

but i do know there is beauty in everything: beauty in rising up, beauty in coming together, beauty in what seems like darkness.

this part is for me, a reminder of my touchstones.

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

~ Solzhenitsyn

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people.

~ C.S. Lewis

deck the dog with glow-in-the-dark light sticks

December 3, 2014 | deck the dog with glow-in-the-dark light sticks

a million years ago, i sent my coworkers a terrible + humorous parody of the 12 days of christmas featuring an adorable + saucy pup named atlas. (and by saucy, i mean energetic + inventive.)

a memory of the rhyme popped into my head yesterday in a moment of glee, so i scoured every single one of my digital archives in an attempt to find it. alas, it is gone.

gone, but not completely forgotten.

“on the first day of christmas, my puppy gave to me ..”

i don’t remember any of the items, but i think they mostly consisted of non-edible things atlas had eaten since moving in with me. like one half of a pair of camel-colored knee-high leather boots. or a couch. or a screen door. or a mattress.

how i love/d that adorable + saucy pup!

ever green wonder

December 1, 2014 | ever green wonder

“The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


November 26, 2014 | gratitude

for my atlas pup, my family, my friends;
for kindhearted strangers;
for snow-covered pines, wild apples, autumn leaves, wildflowers;
for a roof over my head and food on my plate;
for capsule wardrobes, plaid scarves & fedoras;
for lilacs, cranberry bogs, clover, daisies;
for lake superior;
for clotheslines and gardens;
for savannah, benjamin, lars, lily, andrew, brady & sam;
for lattes, ice cream cones & homemade pie;
for lavender + pale pink sunrises and heart-shaped rocks;
for my four niece-kitties;
for warm smiles via skype, long hugs & even longer conversations with old + new friends;
for postcards in the mail and real life shared;
for toes in the sand, snowshoe hikes & icy dips in the lake;
for bonfires on the beach and sunday afternoon games;
for the northern lights, the milky way & orion;
for owl feathers, shed antlers, baby foxes, dragonflies;
for farkle, fantasy books & candy crush;
for a blue jay named fred and a chainsaw bear named buddy;
for yin yoga, snow scoops, squats, hilly trails;
for unexpected moments of delight, wordless truths & finding yourself where you are;
for bravery, truth, trust, surrender;
for wisdom, inspiration, compassion, peace, beauty & wonder;
for love – in all its forms;
for you;
and for so much more.

i am thankful.

and a chill sets in across the land

November 24, 2014 |and a chill sets in across the land

“Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer.”

~ Plutarch

the news from my little corner of the world

November 20, 2014 | autumn in the keweenaw peninsula

dear friend,

hello. how are you? is it winter where you are?

here, the world is white. it’s been snowing for two weeks and there is probably three and a half feet of snow on the ground already. it is somewhat unbelievable. yesterday, i shoveled a path to the shed and retrieved my snowshoes; i am really looking forward to using them. (i was trying to get to the garden to pick my last two bunches of kale. when i realized how deep the kale was buried, i turned away from the garden and toward the shed.)

these days, i am delighting in the unexpected. i read one of my poems at an open-mic poetry reading. (i felt brave. even though the poem made me cry.) then, atlas ran through the deep snow – over & over & over. (last year, he refused.) then, i was hired unexpectedly by a local cafe & am now training to become a barista. (it is seriously the most fun thing ever.) then, i gave my nephew lars a glimpse of my digital photo albums & he gave me the most enthusiastic praise ever. (BRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

you know what i’ve been thinking about lately? truth and art and fiction. i like to find my truths, and sometimes i like to share them, but i’ve been wondering if the deepest truths are wordless – at least in a literal sense – and can only be expressed in feeling or image or metaphor or story. i started thinking about this when i gathered up a handful of my favorite story club stories to create a sampler. sharing it was one of the hardest things i’ve done thus far. upon reflection, i realized that it was because the stories give you a glimpse of me – the deeper me, the magical me, the me i don’t really know how to share at all. i didn’t realize this until i read them all together. the same is true of poetry; somehow it helps me convey the ineffable. i wonder if it’s because the deepest truths are qualities – a glimpse, a reminder of who we really really are.

i wish we could sit down together, perhaps with coffee and pie. i want to listen to your stories, and feel your truths, and convey just how wonder~full you are.


p.s. i know. this is not a photo of winter. i am remembering the glory of autumn, for just a little while.