Wednesday, March 29, 2017

all is promise

"in my advanced old age i entertain more delight in the beauties of nature and of art than i did in my youth.  appreciation of what is good and true and comely grows with years, and this growth, i feel sure, is in my heart as i watch the buds unfold or the flowers quivering in the meadow.  i inhale the scent of pines in the forest and hear the spiral song of the lark and All is Promise."


confessions of a bird nerd

i find nothing so pleasurable as a day spent in nature.  the weather was just right for bird watching at oaks bottom wildlife refuge:  dry and overcast with good light.  looking for flight patterns, beak types, and nests, my friend and i were able to see over fifteen different species of birds, twelve of which were new to us!

our sightings ranged from an american coot and ruby-throated hummingbird to yellow-rumped warblers and bohemian waxwings.  we were also rewarded with two great blue herons and a bald eagle that perched overhead.

off-roading with walking sticks due to most of the trail being flooded or washed out by small landslides, we were rewarded with more sightings.  filled with joy from the day, i decided to invest in a pair of binoculars, a bird book, and small journal for recording what i've seen.  here's the extra nerdy part:  i want to learn the latin names.  for example, "song sparrow" sounds nice in latin, i think:  melospiza melodia.

bird watching is far from a passive activity.  with your senses so keenly honed in on the natural world, it's easy to start mistaking every far away jet at first for a bird of prey.  but with observation, comes more noticing skills.  and, like anything, the more you do, the better you become.

elizabeth barrett browning said, "earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only she who sees takes off her shoes..."

...or, in my case, significantly muddy boots signifying a day well spent. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

friends with the natural world

as i get older, i find myself shifting my view of what the word "relationship" means; expanding it to include the natural world, animals in particular. so it was not a big surprise to find, among my book stacks, three about just such a relationship.

the first?  "coast range:  a collection from the pacific edge" by nick neely that reads like scientific poetry. (i take books with me everywhere and never ceased to be delighted at all of the conversations they can start with people i might not otherwise connect with.  such was the case with that one.)

of like subject is "body of water:  a sage, a seeker, and the world's most alluring fish" by chris dombrowski who writes about fly fishing and so much more. as a water-lover, fly fishing in the style of my late grandfather is on my bucket list.

and i just finished bernd heinrich's "one wild bird at a time:  portraits of individual lives" which read nicely side-by-side with color illustrated "birds of north america".  both in preparation for an upcoming birding expedition.

how might we examine our relationship to the natural world in new ways and what it means to discover not only our interdependence, but mutual delight? 

an anytime blessing

ahh, spring vacation!

naturally, this means different things to different folks depending on which side of the school year one is on, *parent or teacher.

some things i never want to take a vacation from, such as learning ever-increasing compassion (which starts with self-compassion and goes outward from there to others and the world).  regardless of where you find yourself, here is a blessing that was given to me on shared retreat that you can say to yourself and over anyone else you choose:

"may you be happy.  may you be well.  may you be filled with kindness and peace."

i read that four mental pillars to happiness include:  perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance.  the four pillars of heart?  forgiveness, gratitude, generosity and compassion.

*stay tuned for my vacation reading list, as i am on the teacher side and have, as typical reading greed would have it, amassed a huge stack from the library shelves...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


pdxcc stands for the portland correspondence collective that meets at the iprc (lots of initials, i know) which stands for independent publishing resource center.

because who doesn't love to receive beautiful letters in the mail?  and where else can you get together with a truly interesting group of people, i.e. grown adults, who trade stamps around the tables as excitedly as kids trade stickers?!

everyone shares paper and envelopes and there are stamps in every shape and size...from cuba, to vintage and everything in between.

if you choose you can sign up for the theme letter of the month to correspond with those on the list.  or you can just craft letters of your own.  some members even write regularly to people all over the world.

it's refreshing to slow down, think, and put pen to paper. 

and encouraging that it's not a lost art!

they like gathering in person, but their favorite phrase with one another?  "see you in the mail".

i would write more, but i need to go the post office to get stamps for the postcards i just designed.

happy writing...

Saturday, March 18, 2017


a portion of "spring" by gerard manley hopkins...

nothing is to beautiful as spring--
when weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
thrush's eggs look little low heavens,
and thrush
through the echoing timber does so rinse
and wring
the ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear
him sing;
the glassy peartree leaves and blooms,
the descending blue; that blue is all in a
with richness; the racing lambs too
have fair their fling.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

stack of goodness

windows thrown open, flower pots back outside, chicken coop nests freshened...spring is here!

here is a stack of favorite things i have going on right now that brings me fresh color and inspiration:

henri quinta and his wife found potential in a run-down textile mill in france and brought it back to life.  the result?  les toiles du soleil.  quinta sketches stripes inspired by nature. find out more on their european website: les toiles du soleil

barn light electric's enamel ware struck a "yes" with me.  i'm always drawn to the dark blue camping mugs at outdoor stores.  see their wares at: barn light electric

spring wouldn't be complete for me without trips to wilco farms stores (country girl) and anthropologie (design girl).  their stores and catalogues help me to pare down my closet while finding new combinations and put the bug in me to rearrange all of my furniture. see their spring line at:  anthropologie

a great magazine?  the magnolia journal.  issue 2 revolves around true simplicity.  everything from how to plant spring bulbs and organize floral workshops to how people create white space margins in their day to rancher sheila good.

in their mid-60's, instead of retiring, she and her husband cultivated a space for family where she works the land, raises cattle, keeps bees, and tends flowers.  her favorite quote?  "if you let fear control you, your world will get smaller and smaller...instead i find dreams worth pursuing and don't let fear get in the way."

what's in your stack of spring goodness?