Photo by Elizabeth Halt
Photo by Elizabeth Halt

Entries organized under upper peninsula of michigan

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

in the land of ice & snow

February 8, 2017 | in the land of ice & snow | in the land of ice & snow | in the land of ice & snow | in the land of ice & snow | in the land of ice & snow

winter scenes from one of my favorite lake superior beaches ~ eagle river.

wherever there is snow, imagine crystal clear water. (now you know why my beloved lake is so chilly.)

welcome to narnia

December 21, 2016 | welcome to narnia

in about a week’s time, we received a winter’s worth of snow. along with it, an entrance to narnia.

needless to say, my snowshoes and i are delighted. | welcome to narnia | welcome to narnia | welcome to narnia

dsc_5336 | welcome to narnia | welcome to narnia

it’s me

October 16, 2016 | it's me

one of the nicest things about blogging is the friends you make along the way. because of that, i thought i’d share a photo of me in my natural habitat.

just so you know that i am alive + well + happy, even if i am here much less than usual these days.

i appreciate you, you know. there are so many places to spend your precious time; i am honored that you spend part of it here, with me.

you are one of my many blessings. may you be blessed.

on living & dying & waterfalls

October 7, 2016 | conglomerate falls

in august, i went on an overnight waterfall adventure to celebrate my life with atlas. | conglomerate falls

it turned out to be the perfect sort of adventure. | conglomerate falls

at one point, i got part-way down the trail to a waterfall only to find step after step after step. atlas was not a fan of steps, especially in his later years. | rainbow falls

and atlas was right there with me. i could feel him! i could feel his presence.

then, i could see him. he was laughing. i heard him say, “you wouldn’t have gotten me down those steps!” | rainbow falls

that’s why the adventure was perfect. it was typical: spontaneous & unplanned & not well thought out at all.

atlas would go along happily – he was game for almost anything – until he decided he was done, and then nothing i could do would convince him otherwise. | rainbow falls

when i reached black river harbor, i had to walk across a suspension bridge to get to lake superior. it was a hot evening and i had hiked to a few waterfalls already and i really wanted to jump in the lake. | black river harbor

as i walked across the bridge, there was atlas again. he laughed & said, “you know if i were there, you wouldn’t get to the lake!” | black river harbor

because oh, did atlas dislike bridges. he liked to feel the solid ground under his feet. if i absolutely made him go on a bridge, even a floating bridge, he would lie down and belly crawl until i finally took pity on him.

again, so typical. | black river harbor

as i jumped in the lake that evening, i had a huge smile on my face and my heart was full of joy.

joy from the swim in my beloved lake.

joy from the memories of my beloved pup. | black river harbor

but even as i celebrated my life with atlas, there was a moment on the trail during which i realized that there was another reason i took myself on an adventure. | conglomerate falls

my grampa died in december. atlas died in june. my grama was dying (she died two days later, the morning after i got back). most of my time for the past three years had been spent with the three of them. now, they were all gone or going.

in that moment on the trail, i realized that i had spent so much time sitting with death, watching death come closer & closer, that this was my way of reminding myself that i was still very much alive.

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.

the night the stars sang

July 5, 2016 | the night the stars sang

it was 2am in the morning and i was outside with the pup. my friend orion had gone south for the summer; in his absence, i stood & marveled at the milky way.

days of rain had finally lifted. the now cloudless sky was the color of india ink and the stars were crisp + plentiful.

all of a sudden, i noticed the silence.

i live next to a swamp, so there is a constant din of crickets from dusk till dawn. that night, the crickets were silent.

all of a sudden, the silence was filled with a wordless melody. it was everywhere – above & around & within me.

as i listened closely, i realized that it was the stars, vibrating a song of joy + praise + thanksgiving.

i haven’t heard the grass speak – yet. but, i have heard the stars sing.

over two years ago, my friend relyn told me this. ever since, i’ve been watching, waiting, listening.

but until now, i’d been listening with my ears, when i should have been listening with my heart.

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!)