Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

Entries organized under how to cultivate wonder

sunday morning communion

March 19, 2017 | sunday morning communion | sunday morning communion | sunday morning communion | sunday morning communion

the sky was thick with clouds this morning so, instead of a rising sun, i saw a band of pale yellow at the horizon.

still, i was surrounded by beauty. a deer watched me quietly from the snowmobile trail before darting off into the woods, white tail held high; miniature waves lapped quietly at the shore; the sky & the lake were dressed in steely grey-blues; and the world was so still that it felt like nature was holding its breath in anticipation of the sun.

holy, holy, holy

March 7, 2017 | holy, holy, holy | holy, holy, holy | holy, holy, holy

today, i was johnny appleseed

September 15, 2016 | today, i was johnny appleseed

it brings me joy to imagine that all of the natural treasures i find now are gifts from (angel) atlas. often, they are blue jay feathers – my favorite.

today’s gifts, received while on a trail run:

  • tiny mushrooms that were the size & shape of wild pansies but poppy red (with a black splotch) in color.
  • a buttercup yellow moth.
  • a mushroom that looked like it had been caramelized and then covered in rainbow sprinkles. (i did not take a bite, but oh, how i wanted to.)
  • a crooked tree on the aptly named applesauce trail that was full of tiny sweet wild apples. as i tossed my apple cores on the side of the trail, i pretended i was johnny appleseed.

white as a birch tree, green as a garter snake

August 24, 2016 | white as a birch tree, green as a garter snake

i find a shady spot in the woods and sit down, back resting against a sturdy evergreen. everywhere i look, from ground to sky, all i see at first is green.

a garter snake slithers past. i admire the color & striping & size and decide it must be a close cousin to the garden hose. then i wonder if it did, in fact, provide design inspiration.

a single yellow leaf provides a splash of color on an otherwise green tree, and the earthy scent of fall fills my nostrils.

a monarch butterfly lands on a fern. it rests there for a while, orange wings glistening in the sunlight.

as i look though the pines, i see a sliver of white birch in the distance, trunk curved gracefully like a bow. like orion’s bow, i think. does he ever grow tired of holding it at the ready?

a jet-black dragonfly floats by on a current of air and a large black ant scurries across the forest floor. the ant pauses for a moment in front of me in order to rub its bald black head with two front legs. (at least that’s how it appears from my perspective.)

twenty yards away, there is a break in the trees. in the space between, i see blue sky & blue water.

all of a sudden, i see a flash of white wing against the blue. it’s a bald eagle! the eagle glides west, as straight & true as an arrow, and then flaps its wings and heads up toward the tree tops.

slowly, quietly, the birds begin to chirp: “here i am, here i am, here i am.”

i close my eyes and listen to the shiver of the wind through the pines. from deep inside, the tears begin to well.

“thank you,” i whisper to the woods, and i feel a wave of love + welcome rush toward me.

hello morning

February 9, 2016 | hello morning

i am taking the pup on an early morning potty run before my barista shift.

the snow is falling softly and the snowflakes sparkle as they cross the boundary between sky & streetlight.

i open my mouth and catch a snowflake on my tongue.

hello, dear snowflakes.
i’ll call you snow that melts on your tongue.

i lean my head back and feel the snowflakes caress my face.

i’ll call you snow that feels like soft angel kisses.

the world is silent in this early morning hour and my heart is full of gladness.

hello snowflakes that sparkle in the light.
hello darkness that covers the world like a blanket.
hello winter that invigorates me.

hello beloved furry pup that comes out into the dark with me.
hello warm coat that grazes my knees.
hello skinny jeans that hug my legs.
hello boots that are tall & furry.

hello quiet neighborhood where i can let my pup walk off-leash.
hello neighbors who are sleeping.

hello sky that shifts from silver to grey to dark slate to black.
hello trees that border the road.
hello tire tracks that look like fairy paths in the snow.

with that, we reach the end of the road.

i turn toward home and let the swoosh-paw swoosh-paw of my aging pup’s tracks lead me into my morning.


January 16, 2016

(only because i didn’t have my camera.)

a layer cake of a morning sky.


it was so beautiful & serene that it made me want to outfit myself in those very same colors.

i love

October 29, 2015 | i love

i love the night sky: the northern lights that dance along the horizon, the harvest moon, the big dipper, the star-studded milky way.

i love birch trees – the way their white bark is equally at home in winter whites, spring greens, or autumn splendor.

i love how lake superior stones change color when they are kissed by the water.

i love listening to the wind through the pines, the yip-yip-yip of coyotes, the chirp of crickets in the swamp, the prehistoric cry of sandhill cranes.

i love the pink rose petal carpet beneath my mom’s rose bush, browned butter ferns and squirrel tracks in the snow.

i love how blueberry bushes turn crimson in autumn & a single drop of rain sends ripples across a pond.

i love that gnarly apple trees produce a sweet sweet fruit.

i love the yellow larvae in the fallen wasp nest, translucent winged dragonflies, the tiny pink & white cosmos in my grandparents’ back yard, dew on a spider web.

i love the blue jays at the bird feeder, the polka-dotted ladybug on the screen door and the delicate-limbed hornet on the lip of my mug of vinegar & honey water.

i love how the woods down the road are carpeted in yellow every spring.

i love watching autumn leaves dance in the wind, fox cubs playing like puppies, geese flying overhead, waves crashing on the shore.

i love how purple thistles remain long after the first frost, leaves float lazily to the ground in autumn and grains of sand look like miniature jewels as they fall from my hand.

i love feathery cirrus clouds & puffy cirrocumulus clouds.

i love the tiny brown bird wading in the green algae at the edge of the lake who had a thin beak that was longer than his head.

i love the crunch of dry leaves, the plop of a turtle as it drops into the lake, the roar of the waves, the rain on the roof.

i love when blue sky meets blue water, when the world is silent & white after a heavy snowfall and when clumsy yellow bumblebees sip nectar from wildflowers.

i love purple lilacs in my blue mason jar.

to me, nature is magic.

it’s no wonder i believe in magic.

magic is all around me.

black eyed susans

August 17, 2015 | black eyed susans

if you have black eyed susans in your neighborhood, you might want to pick some & put them in a vase with water & keep them there until they dry. black eyed susans are bright & cheerful in the wild & in a vase. when they dry, they are sweet & adorable.

i discovered this by accident – i have a habit of keeping flowers long past the time when most people would toss them – and then i went and picked two more bunches. i can just picture their dear little faces smiling sweetly at me in the dead of winter.

(just so you know, they do drop a lot of pollen, even when they’re dry, but i decided it’s worth it. and after they dry, i move them to their new home, which has no water in it.)


June 3, 2015

when the pup & i walked out the front door the other night, we were greeted by an almost full moon, peeking out at us from behind tire tread clouds. while i marveled at the clouds, five geese in a v formation came out of the eastern sky & flew right in front of the moon. then they continued on toward the west, as if they were following the tire tracks home.

it felt like a moment created just for me, and i had to stand and savor it.


May 22, 2015 | glory | glory | glory | glory | glory

i wish i had caught the moment where the sun turned into an orange ball of fire in the sky. i saw a glimpse of it through the trees as i was driving down to the lake and it was so impossibly beautiful that my hand went to my heart & tears came to my eyes.

glory, glory, glory.