Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

"Words mean more at night, like a song. And did you ever notice, the way light means more than it did all day long?" Gregory Alan Isakov
I have my fingers crossed Virginia will soon chill off for the winter. Though I've been afforded many pleasant moments outside in the temperate fall weather we've been having, the wildness inside me longs for distinct seasons. The cold that turns a grassy mountain into a sparkling diamond wonderland. Excuses to bundle up with heart-felt hand-knit accessories. Burning chests and rosey cheeks, true appreciation for comfy warm shelter from a long winter's night.
And they are long. The fall I hiked I felt I was always fighting nights filled with longer hours. Last fall I ran into that a bit again as my job attempted to cram as many activities into a shortening day as students and staff traipsed through a chilling forest. But this fall, I get up before dawn, sometimes watch the sunrise over Mill Mountain, sometimes soak up afternoon sun, and generally see it set about the time I'd like to sink horizontally onto my bed. It isn't a challenge so much this year, with my more domestic lifestyle. I have a home with electricity, heat, flushing toilets - whole nine yards.
But tonight I walked these city streets and stumbled upon something. Christmas. (quick background) I LOVE Thanksgiving. It has always been a genuine time of fellowship, love, and gratitude in my family where many of us come together across the distance and have a great time. Christmas usually stresses me out. Crowds overwhelm me, hurried/ rude people annoy me, and many of the commercial capitalizing campaigns over the blending of religious and secular calendars just kinda.... weirds me out. So I often tend to get a little Scroogey around Christmas time.
Which makes tonight all the more remarkable.
On my walk tonight I accidentally stumbled onto the most magical street in Raleigh Court, the location of my old home. As I stood at one end of my block and looked towards the scene of over a year of my life, my heart stopped, treasured the scene in my heart, then joyfully relaxed. So many homes were highlighted with multi colored and white lights. Strands of them made archways from houses toward the street, forming a saber-like gauntlet of color, light, and hope.
Bundled in my trench coat, furry boots, hat and scarf I just stood there, basking in the beauty and smiling. On my way home I walked slowly under the arch of lights and sparkling ornaments, underneath a canopy of stars.
And out of all the feelings bouncing around in my heart and head what I mostly felt was - peace. This lovely calm appreciation for all that God is, and the world around me, human kind, community, and the reassurance in the sovereign story etched on our hearts and his plan for our lives.
Relationships come and go. Jobs come and go. Food is here and then gone. Health waxes and wanes. Money seems hard to come by. Life comes and goes. Hopes. Fears.
All met in Thee.
In all of the joy and adversity there is abounding opportunity to see that light in the darkness.
And how lovely it is on a chilly silent night.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Golden Birthday

Once in your life, you turn x years on the x day of your birthday. This year I turned 27 on the 27, so in honor of a once in a lifetime event, I'd like to post 27 highlights / things I'm thankful for from my birthday =)
1. Waking up early enough to watch the sunrise from the comfort of my own bed, in a cozy home.
2. Starting the day slow and kickin it with Geronimo.
3. Wandering around a mostly empty store getting my Max-onista on.
4. Being at the dog park with two other weimaraners and a slew of other 4 legged friends.
5. Having a stranger boy intrigued by me.
7. Quad shot iced mocha.
8. Drinking it from my sweet free travel mug.
9. Eating sushi with Amanda.
10. Having sweet friends to share storytelling carpools with.
11. The Blue Ridge Vineyard and their annual Soup n Sip events.
12. How ridiculously temperate the weather has been (sometimes it annoys me it's not cold... but it sure was pleasant outside yesterday).
13. My folks steppin outside their comfort zone and trekking out to the vineyard.
14. Live Music.
15. All my friends and family I got to catch up with yesterday.
16. All my friends that came out to sip wine, soup, and snap photos yesterday.
17. The Harwell crew's cheese slaw.
18. A very long catch up session with Mr. Burns.
19. My childhood home.
20. Greenfield.
21. All the wonderful times in West Virginia at Thanksgiving.
22. Random Rancho dinners.
23. Time spent with a bearded Broughman.
24. All the beauty captured in the film "Tree of Life".
25. My tried and true CR-V.
26. Dairy Queen ice cream cake in my amazing bed.
27. A restful night's sleep.

And without further ado... a few images...

Friday, November 18, 2011


When the stars are twinkling
and the air is so crisp to highlight woodsmoke snaking through the valley
as well as my cheeks

This heart is set a flutter
by the beauty of these quiet moments.

In between illuminated spaces.
In between the men that don't fit in and the steady plodding ones.
In between the the thick hot nights and the nights filled with longer hours.

It is here this tired but strong dream smiles quiet relief to rest in a moment.

That seems more than enough... for now.

For a dreamer night's the only time of day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turning adversity into opportunity

I really love storytelling.
That being said, I haven't quite known how to go about it lately. I find myself retreating to a more and more private place as my work, geographic location, and life goals take unexpected turns. Things felt a little more straight forward when I started this whole blog production : packing up my home, starting a 2,000 plus mile walk. I've told you how that went, I've told you about the ups and downs of cross country travel, time zone relocation, and eventually coming back to ground zero, where it all began.
I've enjoyed sharing all those stories with you.
My photography has been waning.
Somewhere shortly after returning to full time work after hiking the AT and traveling to Montana I took a serious turn away from intentional photography. I have quite a few images from all the years since my University of Montana graduation that could use some major editing and perhaps publication, but for the most part, the images which have been shot are quick snapshots of my life. Not terribly artistic or interesting. And I haven't been following through with them. I quickly document, and continue living.
Perhaps it could be argued artistically and internally I've needed this time. A quiet hibernation from seeing my world in shadows highlights and midtones; angles and depth of field. Maybe. But I miss it.
Much like grace and journeys of faith - how sometimes the most accessible easy answer is right before you if you only get over yourself and let it wash over you. But I haven't known how to return to the craft.
In the meantime life's been rolling along. I've moved multiple times. Worked multiple jobs. Made friends, kept friends, lost friends. Been haunted by ghosts of the past, elated over present loves and even new births (no no, not to ME, other people). And some weird stuff has happened to initiate a reevaluation with how public I want my life to be.
So the wrestling.
How to return to an art and craft that keeps my heart happy. How much of my inside process and outside surroundings to reveal to cyberspace.
And my current solution.... hey - it's a single step in the right direction.
I'm going to try to take / post at least a picture almost every day. No rigid guidelines (artists aren't into that ;) just a daily discipline to ease back in the storytelling pool.
Wish me luck! Check out the pics in the slideshow to the right.
And if you've noticed or are disappointed / curious as to more details of my life/ story, don''t hesitate to message me. Cyberstalking is a little too new school for me sometimes.