On Excellent Adventures* and Human Foosball

So fellow travelers,  a somewhat lengthy dissertation looking back at the year that was.

Being the champion of underdogs that I am, I have begun to feel sorry for 2016. Yes, I do realize 2016 is more a conceptual frame of time than a sentient being with feelings. However I happen to be (at least when I last checked) a sentient being with feelings and those feelings have become attuned to seeking healing and grace amidst chaos.

It’s a given that 2016 was a challenging year on almost every level possible for a whole lot of people. I know many of them, indeed, I am one of them. This year was deep into major challenge mode well before the November election and the long sequence of departing iconic figures seems determined to keep the sorrow of personal losses in the spotlight of our consciousness.

Writer Jennifer Bowman penned an accurate blog piece earlier this year on the connections between personal and public loss. I was grateful she reposted it when the news of Carrie Fisher’s death hit my media feed. Her perspective on what it means to lose a creative force (yes, of course that’s an intentional reference) is a welcome reminder my grief for someone I knew through their artistic work is as valid as the feelings their work creates within me.

So it is that 2016 has become the year most people cannot wait to bid farewell to with nary an Auld Lang Syne thank you very much. Hence the reason for my opening sentiment towards poor maligned 2016 which is simply fulfilling it’s mission of coming and going with daily, if deadly, precision.

On a creative forum called The Watershed which Jennifer facilitates (look for it on Facebook)  she posed a challenge to consider 2016 from a different perspective, asking members to think back on what were our best moments in this year coming to an end.

Immediately the little spinny arrow  (the one which indicates data is in the process of uploading) starts turning in my brain. Being visually oriented I started shifting through my collection of photos from the year.

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First owl sighting on the annual Mother-Daughter Birdathon expedition, a ten year search

 

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Our marathon guy becomes a tri-athelete just weeks after we said goodbye to his Mom.

 

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Hiking on Left Coast trails with my favorite people

 

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Finding the Pacific viewpoint on the Lewis and Clark Fort to Sea trail

In a year of difficult transitions, it was immeasurably uplifting to find the embers of discovery, healing, joy and adventure still simmering deep in my soul. Family is as always the gyroscope of my life. In a time when core differences are fracturing too many families, I am grateful my own remains steadfast and strong.

And then I found the one image which stood out as a unique high point of the year, a moment captured during a creative retreat I was blessed to be part of both instigating and organizing and then attending.

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There you have it~ a game of human foosball, a phenomenon I had no idea even existed until we arrived at the retreat center to find the mysterious big wooden pen outside our lodge. Once we found out it’s purpose there was no way our intrepid group of creative cohorts would pass on the opportunity to engage in some hilarious shenanigans.

The seed for this creative retreat began as an idea in a chance conversation at another event two years prior. Our gathering evolved after a few twists of fate, some scattering, regrouping and migration, a sequence which greatly aided in clarifying how my co-instigator and I might nurture that seed to bear the fruit we intended to create. Over Labor Day weekend, one much loved dog and a baker’s dozen of creative spirits from all walks of life and as far away as Utah gathered to write, paint, knit, draw, press flowers and get lost in the woods on photo shoots. We laughed as we shared stories, meals, ideas, techniques and most importantly a true spirit of commraderie.

My creative tribe has become my extended family. Everytime we gather, whether as a group or tête-à-tête I come away feeling stronger, lighter and exponentially more hopeful. In a world facing so much uncertainty, the priceless gifts of friendship, strength, hope and Light are precious commodities I am grateful to have .

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

*written and posted with heartfelt thanks to my co-instigator and partner in shenanigans Beth Heffern. Can’t wait to start plotting our  next most excellent adventure.

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the first present

So fellow travelers, on my annual holiday road trip to distribute gifts and hugs to my side of the family, we drove from windswept snowbound vistas through freezing drizzle in the Poconos arriving at last in not-quite-as-Sunny-as-the-show-claims-Philadelphia. Warm hugs, cheerful banter and hearty meals quickly dispelled the gloominess of grey skies. I woke this morning to find this post from my good friend Kate in my blog feed. This has been a holiday season with too many empty chairs at the table. It is good to have friends who keep the embers in our souls alive when the winds of change seem hell bent on extinguishing hope. As I read I could feel her rich tapestry of words wrap around me like a soft warm blanket. May peace and comfort bless us all.

Life With Horace

there are trees here too
grown out of deep soil pockets
heads above the hardy root dug
mountain friends of home
this gathered woody host a nest
to hold a house containing
every one I love
still sleeping as the light
creeps up all cloudy
through the rain
a christmas only minds eye white
with clear skied sunrise
catching tree tops
by surprise
red bronze briefly
glistened with strings of
love and memory
from those gone ahead
beams creak awake
almost the hour
for letting loose small bodies
counting moments since last night
behind me thumps and sighs
two sets of eyes meet mine
my patient dogs
the first gift of the day
belongs to them
and we are kitchen bound

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a small gift of words, a time filled with more love than things, christmas as it should be. my heart is very full.

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Solstice Circle

So fellow travelers, last night a good friend of mine from my Vision Quest years hosted a drumming circle to honor the Winter Solstice.

We  sent a big vibrant wave of energy out to enfold our world and all creatures living here.

Consider yourselves hugged.

You’re welcome.

 We all needed it, I know.

This morning as all the lights and bushes by my little pond were being blessed with a sparkling coat of new snow, these words rose from the silence~

Drumbeats call hearts join

Let Peace and Light hug our world

Solstice Circle Song

 Blessings of the season to all.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


Joshua Dubois: What the President secretly did at Sandy Hook Elementary School

My definition of a true leader in a crisis

Vox Populi

Below is an excerpt from The President’s Devotional by Joshua Dubois, the former head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He’s recounting events that occurred Sunday, December 16, 2012 — two days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members. Dubois had gotten word the day before that the President wanted to meet with the families of the victims:

I left early to help the advance team—the hardworking folks who handle logistics for every event—set things up, and I arrived at the local high school where the meetings and memorial service would take place. We prepared seven or eight classrooms for the families of the slain children and teachers, two or three families to a classroom, placing water and tissues and snacks in each one. Honestly, we didn’t know how…

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Mountain Magic

So fellow travelers, I woke this morning to the booming echo of Big Black Dog woofs ricocheting through snow dusted trees.


Peering through the frost lined window I can just make out the solid profile of Mt Monandnock against a pearl dawn sky.

I scrunch deeper into layered warmth of red and green comforters and watch the light change.

Downstairs I hear the rattle of kibble filling dog bowls and the happy tap dance of my friend Kate’s Big Black Dogs.

Listening closely I heard words from the distant Mountain.

Stand tall touch the sky

 Mountain magic steady strong

Stars of hope shine bright.

As I approach this winter season I find myself seeking something deep and elusive. I know not what it is,

not yet

While I search I will gratefully gather all the threads of Light I can find in good faith they will weave a strong braid of hope for the coming year.

Mt. Monandnock making magic with the Grandmother Moon.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.