Category Archives: Adventures in YYC

Love’s Enduring Embrace

In the memory of her prayers, my heart rests in Love’s enduring embrace — 2 page spread. My Mother’s Prayers – altered book art journal

The quote for this two-page spread in the altered book art journal I’m creating called, “My Mother’s Prayers” came to me after I painted in the bird and flowers.

I started the spread not knowing what would appear. I was ‘going with the flow’ and letting it happen as the paint hit the page. As with all the pages in this art journal, one of my mother’s prayer cards is affixed to the page.

There is so much healing grace in creating a project such as this. It invites me to focus on the lessons to be learned from my mother’s passing and her prayer cards. And, it opens me up to exploring those places within where the ‘mother wound’ has not yet come to rest in peace.

Along with the quote that came out of my journalling, “In the memory of her prayers, my heart rests in Love’s enduring embrace“, the phrase, “Learn from the broken. Live from the whole” appeared. Its resonance continues to soothe and illuminate my path.

An aspect of this spread that make it challenging is the fact that I was filming myself as I went along.

It was quite a journey.

Not the creating the two page spread part of the journey, but the, “Oh! Here’s an idea. Let’s create a ‘follow-along’ video of the process with all the bits and bytes of video you took Louise” part.

I do like a challenge!

Though, to be fair, it wasn’t the challenge of putting all the footage into a video that was the hardest. It was when my system crashed at 10pm last night wiping out 2 hours of work. That’s when I decided enough was enough for one day and went to bed.

I got up at 6 this morning and three hours later, Take 2 of the video was finished. Beaumont the Sheepadoodle was particularly grateful. The quick ‘pee break’ at 6am just wasn’t cutting it for him anymore!

One of my commitments to myself this fall is to get my online art journalling workshops started. This video is the first of what I hope is series of ‘follow-along’ videos showing my process.

It’s not perfect — but I sure am learning a lot as I create the videos and, I am growing in confidence with each step along the way.

The video is below — I would really love feedback, ideas, comments to help me grow and all that jazz.

Thanks!

We Are All Connected

“We are all connected.” 2 page spread in Sheltered Wonder art journal – pages 24 – 25

When I sat down to create this page, bees and flowers were not in my focus. The page itself had started with a piece of collaged paper that came from Tamara’s work surface when she was here painting outside with me for the afternoon.

She’d scraped some paint off of her canvas, cleaned the scraping tool off on the paper covering her work table and exclaimed, “You should collage this into your next piece. The colours are so cool and look at that pattern!”

The beginning with the piece of paper collaged onto my page and gold gesso applied as an underpainting.

Why not, I replied. And promptly applied some medium to the middle of my just beginning next spread and affixed the paper.

The question then became… Where to from here?

It was all about experimenting with backgrounds and materials to see what happened when…

I worked on it a bit that day and then continued with it the next day. Again, letting the page itself guide me with whatever secret/story it was bringing to light.

I added background textures. Painted over places that didn’t ‘feel’ right. Kept delving into the background story.

Gold makes me think of bees and honey. I underpainted honeycomb shapes with pastels and painted a flower.

Hmmm… if there are honeycombs maybe there need to be bumblebees.

Part of what I’m enjoying most in creating the “Sheltered Wonder” art journal is the opportunity to experiment with supplies and materials I haven’t used in awhile.

Somewhere in my stash of stencils I knew I had a bumblebee. I dug through the box where I store them and found it. Perfect. Suddenly, two bumblebees appeared on the page surrounding the flower.

All things in nature are connected through an intricate web of delicate interdependency. Flowers rely on bees to pollinate them. Bees need nectar from flowers to create honey.

Flowers create beauty in our world. Honey nourishes.

Yet, we humans often forget the interdependent nature of all things on this planet. Including us. We strive for independence as if that is the gold ring of success. Even when our success doesn’t happen in isolation. It is always in connection with the people and things we employ to create whatever we have succeeded in doing.

Like art-making.

This piece began with a suggestion from a friend. From there, it evolved into what it became because of all the products I used that someone, somewhere developed and created. It also helped that the muse was flowing freely and I was open to her whispers.

We are all connected, interconnected and interdependent. As John Dunne wrote long ago, “No man is an island.” We are one world. One people. One planet. We need each other. As the African word ‘Ubuntu’ so aptly describes, “I am because we are.”

In Covid’s presence, I have felt the wave of interconnectedness as country after country worked to flatten the curve of this virus’ onslaught.

In the midst of shelter in place orders, people rose up to share their many gifts. From music shared on balconies and driveways, to art ‘zoom-in’ s happening online, to poetry readings and cooking classes, and hundreds of other ways people found to connect, we the people of this planet have risen to the challenge and found ways to make ‘shelter in place’ feel less alone and frightening.

As the world ‘opens up’ again and shelter in place becomes less prevalent, may we all remember the beauty of this time where together, we created a planet where the best of our humanity connected us in ways we never imagined possible.

Namaste.

Art, Like Life, Happens In The Messy Places

“Magnifico” – 2-page spread for Sheltered Wonder Art Journal – acrylic and acrylic ink on watercolour paper – Pgs 22 – 23

I painted outside yesterday. I moved two tables, chairs and some supplies out of my studio and onto the lawn and set myself up for a day of magic.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Tamara, friend, fellow artist and one of the other three founding members of the Basement Bombshells Art Collective, joined me for an appropriately socially-distanced paint-in on the lawn. We laughed and chatted and threw ideas around as easily as the squirrels leaping through the Poplars that every so often kept dropping little stickies onto Tamara’s canvas. They all added to the texture of her work while our conversation, the magic that happens when two artists come together to create and the environment offered up the perfect space to delve deep into soulful expression.

Nature’s beauty is ever-present. It lies deep within the soil giving birth to plants and trees, flowers and weeds. It fills the air. With birdsong and distant traffic humming, whispering leaves rustling in the trees and rushing waters gushing towards a far-away sea.

It is beauty. It is the beast. It is light. It is dark. It is softness. It is the hard edges of humanity colliding into life in the messy. In those places where we have forgotten the magnificence of our birthright and fight to find our place, make our mark, make ourselves be known, make peace, make love, make war.

Yet, no matter how far we slip into the dark side of fighting for our lives, we cannot avoid that which is true for every single human on this earth.

We are all born magnificent.

Our lives all began in one single act. I like to think of it as an act of divine love. And, no matter how it is initiated in human form, it is this same act that creates every single being on this earth.

And then, life happens with all its beauty and all its messy, inexplicably painful, frightening part. Immersed in trying to understand the messy, we lose sight of what is true as we struggle to make sense of a world that often defies logic. In our sense-making quest to commandeer life into some sort of order, we forget our magnificence and fall beneath the burden of living ‘our purpose’., finding success, making our life work.

Like life, art happens in the messy places. Pags 23 – 24 — work in progress

Until, one day, we come upon a time when the brevity of our life journey appears to be drawing closer and closer upon the horizon. “Where have the years gone?” we ask as we turn inward towards the glimmering shimmers of light illuminating the sacredness of our being here, on this planet we call home. Slowly, we begin to remember. Magnificence is our birthright. It is at the heart of our human essence. And the cracks appear in our memory as we remember to let go of mediocrity and live our magnificent selves alive in a world of other magnificent selves.

Yesterday, I painted outside amidst Nature’s splendour and I remembered.

Ah yes. This is life. This is joy. This is calm. This is what it feels like to feel, really, really feel, what it means to ‘be alive’ embodied in the present moment. To feel at one with all of nature, sentient and non-sentient beings, in this moment, right now. To know my inherent humanity in all its magnificent colours and to experience the magnificence of others.

Leaves used for imprinting.

Inspired by nature, I collected a few leaves and imprinted their delicate nature onto the page. I splashed and swirled, drew and etched as the page came alive with colour, texture, form, depth.

I’ve titled this 2 page spread, “Magnifico”. It is my reflection of nature’s reminder to never forget the magnificent nature of all things.

To honour always, our humanity and our impact upon this planet we call ‘ours’. It is fragile, this ecosystem that sustains us. It is intertwined amidst and in and of each breath we take in and each breath we exhale. It is a delicate, sacred dance. A gift of life that gives each of us air to breathe, water to drink, gravity to hold us in place and land upon which to stand and sit, walk and run. It is our home. It deserves our loving attention.

Namaste

______________________________________

You can see the work Tamara created in THIS CONVERSATION on my FB page.

A Beautiful Mystery

“Raindrops keep falling on my head.” At the park with Beaumont Friday morning.

The weekend started with rain. Heavy. Pour down buckets kind of rain. River running high and fast kind of outpouring of rain.

It ended with bright green leaves shimmering in the sunshine. The river still flowing fast but not as muddy looking. Friends gathered together on the lawn in the late afternoon for a socially distanced visit.

The weekend that was brought much delight. I am grateful.

Sunday evening walk with C.C. and Beau – it’s kind of a standoff — will C.C. come to the ball or will Beau bring it? 🙂

It’s funny, with leaving the formal workplace a year ago, (six days is my anniversary) I’m surprised that weekends still have relevance. But they do.

It’s as if my body, which has spent almost its entire lifetime acclimatizing to weekend breaks, holds onto that rhythm because it’s a habit, and I have done little to change that habit.

And that’s okay.

It’s a nice rhythm and, as the saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

The view from where I sit looking up.

Today, the sun shines in a sky that arcs up from the horizon in pale whitewashed colour to a deeper, almost peacock blue overhead. A white wispy cloud slips silently into the space between the leaves of two trees reaching up to touch the sky, its feathery tendrils undulating through the atmosphere like a phoenix in flight. It is here and then, it is gone and the sky is blue again.

Looking out at the river, the leaves on the trees that border its expanse, shimmer and dance in the breath of a light morning breeze and the ever-present squirrels play their prerequisite game of tag amidst the branches.

Wine. Sunshine. Delicious treats and friends. A perfect evening.

The weekend has come and gone. Good-bye old friend.

The week lays before me. A beautiful, inviting mystery.

Hello Monday. I am ready for your delight! Open to your yet to unfold stories. Eager for your unknown moments that will come. All in good time.

In this moment right now, here I am.

And the trees give a little dance. The river flows freely. And the clouds keep drifting on by.

Gratitude. Grace. Joy. Contentment. Love. I breathe it all in.

Ah yes. This is Life.

Let us be like a butterfly…

There was once a little girl who was afraid of colour. To see the golden yellow of the sun, or the deep green velvet of the forest, or the vibrant hues of the garden filled her heart with fear.

Terrified of all the colour in the world, she walked through each day with her eyes squinted against the onslaught of beauty that she could not witness. Fearful of the world of colour  that bombarded her senses with every glance, she covered her ears to the songs of enchantment all around and cowered beneath the belief that she was right to cling to her fears.

“Give me black and white,” she pleaded in the darkness of her mind.

And the world closed in around her until all she saw were the shadows between the colours of the world.

I wrote the story above several years ago. It had appeared in my meditation, tendrils of thoughts whispering their away into substance.  When I opened my eyes and let the words flow, they found their substance on the page and formed themselves into story.

It is what I find most enlivening and mystical about the creative process. When I stop squinting my eyes, when I stop fearing what might be, or not be, magic and wonder happens.

When I fear, when I force or try to push the muse into a container, to direct her into this way or that, the wonder disappears and I am left feeling left out, apart, and let down, telling myself, there is no magic. There is no mystery. there is no possibility of beauty rescuing the light from the darkness.

In fear, I fall into that place where all I see is what I fear. Where all I know is what I expect to be; the mundane, the same as, the predictability of my life lived in the comfort of the darkness I crave when I let go of seeing the light in everything and everyone.

In my studio, immersed in the creative process, the world falls away into that place where all I know, all I sense, is its beauty. In that space, with my music playing, candle burning and my fingers splattered with paint, there is no world out there, there is no war, no famine, no hurricanes and definitely no virus taking the world hostage.

There is only the muse and me. Connected. Committed. Creative. And in that connection, I become part of the flow of the essential essence of the Universe. I am one with life. One creative expression flowing with the expressions of all the world around me.

In these days where a virus is shutting us into our homes and keeping us at safe but constrained, distance from one another, connecting to our creative core, expressing our gratitude in songs of joy and messages of hope, is vital to our well-being.

We are the ones who must create the path for the world to survive this viral onslaught. We can only do that together.

Staying home, keeping our distance, washing our hands, matters. To ourselves, our loved ones, friends, community. It matters to the world.

It also matters that we stay connected to the beauty, the wonder and awe of the world within ourselves and all around us. It matters that we share our best to create better for all the world.

Imagine…

We are each a butterfly fluttering our wings to create a tsunami of well-being around the world.

When we flutter our wings as one, we create One world of possibility, hope, beauty and Love.

Take Good Care Of You – 10 Self-Care Tips to Promote Well-Being

Yesterday, I created a list of 10 Self-Care Tips To Promote Wellbeing During Social Distancing which I shared on my social media accounts.

This morning, I spent an hour on the phone with a technical support person at GoDaddy. Before I called, I’d spent a frustrating 45 minutes trying to figure out a solution to my problem myself.

That one hour with Ivan S at GoDaddy felt like good self-care. He was kind, patient (a necessity with me when trying to work out a technical problem) and funny in a really nice way.

What struck me was that my stubbornness (spending 45 minutes trying to fix a technology issue I have no idea how to fix is a clear indication of its gravitas), does not equate to self-care when I choose to ignore healthy and more peace-inducing ways of getting the job done.

In these stress-riddled times, taking care of our well-being is critical.

Here are some ideas to help you stay calm (and nope – calling technical support is not on it but it could be! Bottomline, if you are feeling stressed and need to chat with a human, calling a trusted family member or friend, reaching out to a therapist, the distress centre, is important!)

10 Self-Care Tips To Promote Wellbeing During Social Distancing

Handshakes and hugs are out. Elbow bumps were in but they too have fallen by the wayside as we hunker down at home and practice social distancing.

It can be hard in these times of chaos and upheaval to remember to take care of yourself. Yet, it is especially in these uncertain times that self-care is vital. Fear creates panic and panic robs our bodies of its natural defenses, weakening our immune system and putting stress on all our organs.

The following 10 tips offer some practical ways you can help yourself find your balance and inner calm, regardless of what’s happening in the world outside. It’s not about sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the facts of Covid-19s presence. It’s about staying conscious of the things you can control, the things you can’t, and acting on your inner courage to do the things you can do to keep yourself balanced and calm in the face of the unknown.

These tips can be incorporated into your everyday life, singularly, in groups of 2 or 3 or all together. It’s up to you. You are in control. You have the power to decide what you’re going to do with your day and how you’re going to take care of yourself.

    1. Light a candle. Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime. Scented. Unscented. Candlelight sets the scene for relaxation. It immediately signals to the brain to slow down. Your body remembers to breathe and you remember to get present.
    2. Listen to music. Avoid angry music, but soft, soothing, relaxing sounds (without words helps to turn your thinking-mind off). If you play tunes you like with words, sing along. Sing out loud. Sing at the top of your voice!
    3. Read a book. Listen to a podcast – something that inspires and excites you – while you sip a cup of your fav tea.
    4. Meditate. Sit in the quiet or play music. Find a guided meditation online. Just sit quietly and be present to the moment. Let the voices in your head float through like clouds across a blue sky. Breathe. In. Out. Breathe. In. Out.
    5. Pour yourself a bubble bath. Soak in it. Close your eyes. Breathe in the scents. The air. The feeling of being at peace, your body supported by warm, soothing water. (You can do 1 – 4 while in the bath! Wine in the bath works too!)
    6. Have a dance party. You don’t need a partner. All you need are some of your favourite tunes, a bit of space and your body – sitting, standing, lying down. Move whatever feels like moving. Let go. Let yourself feel the beat, let yourself move to the rhythm. Move as little or as much as you want – just move!
    7. Go for a run, a walk, a saunter. Do yoga at home, Qi Gong. Tai Chi – Gyms are closed but that doesn’t mean your body needs to stop moving. There are lots of resources online to inspire your personal workout.
    8. Spend time in nature. Get outside. Go for a walk with your dog, or a friend – just keep your social distance.
    9. Learn. Spend time doing/learning things you love to do. Cook. Sew. Paint. Write. Call a friend. Clean the fridge (it can be good for the soul to clear out ‘past due date’ foods!) Do woodwork – do something that sparks your imagination.
    10. Connect.  Connect. Connect.  You may be at home. You may be alone but there are things you can do to not feel lonely. Social distance doesn’t mean separation. It just means keeping the virus from spreading through the use of proven measures (like not getting too close to others). But, we all need to connect, to hear another’s voice, to share stories. Reach out. Create a Zoom call, FaceTime call with family and friends. Use technology to keep you connected across the distance so that your mental health does not become a victim of social distancing.  Repeat often. Connect. Connect. Connect. 

We are all in this together — all around the world. Self-isolation, social distancing are, for most of us, uncomfortable, uneasy actions to take.

We need to take them — what we need to ensure is that in taking them, we don’t overburden ourselves with worry, anxiety, feelings of being totally alone, fear and depression.

Please. If you are feeling overwhelmed. Reach out.

Your well-being is very, very important. You are very, very important.

Take good care of you and let’s all take good care of each other.

 

 

#CreateBoldly – An invitation

 

In The Memory of a Tree
11 x 14″ on acrylic paper
Mixed Media

I know. I know.  Two posts in one morning!

This one is actually from my SM feeds yesterday. I wanted to post it here as an invitation to you to join in too!

Create Boldly. 
#
CreateBoldly

Create Boldly is a creativity challenge I’m leading to keep myself, and anyone who cares to join me, grounded in gratitude, generosity and grace as we move through these unprecedented times. If life comes without a script, living through a coronavirus pandemic comes without a guidebook.
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Create Boldly is an invitation to stretch yourself and your creative muscles and write your own guidebook on what it means to be alive at this time, right now.

If you don’t have a creative practice, it’s an opportunity to stretch completely outside your comfort zone, or, if you already do have one, to stretch your practice in unexpected ways.

How It Works

Every 2 or 3 days (I’m going with unscripted here), I’ll offer up a prompt via a theme — and you get to do the rest.

Today’s theme is: The Memory of Trees.

 

The Invitation:

Create your own poem, prose, haiku, story (as long/as short as you wish) based on the prompt, and paint, draw, use your computer or use paints, pencils, crayons…, and create a visual reflection on your poem/prose/story. Or you can just write something or paint/draw/sew/embroider/quilt something — remember, it’s unscripted.

There’s no right nor wrong way to participate. There is only the invitation to step into this space with me and explore what can happen when you let yourself Create Boldly.

All you need to do to participate is decide to do it and share your offerings here, on your FB or Instagram page and tag me (mlouiseg88) and use the hashtag — #CreateBoldly

That’s it.

An invitation.
An empty space.
An opportunity.

I hope to see you here in days yet to pass.

My interpretation of the prompt is a poem and a painting. I’m not sure which inspired which or which came first, the prompt, the poem or the painting…

In The Memory of a Tree
©2020 Louise Gallagher

In the memory of a tree
its roots are deeply planted
in the soil, grounded
in earth’s eternal journey
spinning around the sun.

In the memory of a tree
the seasons change,
time passes
like a river.
Nothing stays the same.

In the memory of a tree
spring bids farewell
to winter
and summer turns
to fall.
Everything changes.

Social distancing is our invisible fence

The beavers have been busy. Last fall, they chopped down over 50 trees along the riverbank for their lodge upriver.

Recently, they started working on the trees again.

Yesterday, as I walked the path along the river, I saw a city Parks & Rec truck driving towards me on the trail. Two women and their dogs stepped aside and let the truck pass.

When the truck got to me, the driver slowed down, stopped, rolled down his window and said, “What a beautiful dog!”

Beaumont did a little dance, (I swear that dog speaks English) I thanked him, we chatted for a few seconds, he drove away and I continued walking towards the two women who now had their dogs on leashes. As we passed each other, one woman asked me, “Are they giving out tickets?”

This park is an ‘unofficial’ off leash area. In conversation with our City Councillors office, I’ve been told its formal designation is pending a report on the entire rivers area. Ticketing, while possible, is not part of the ‘plan’.

I gave a startled laugh and replied, “Oh no. He just stopped to chat.”

“Oh good,” the woman replied. “I can let my dog off leash.”

I smiled and without conscious thought, reached out and gave her shoulder a reassuring tap with my gloved hand. “Absolutely,” I replied.

And then I realized what I’d done.

“Oh no,” I said from a safe distance. “I apologize. I didn’t mean to touch you!”

The women both turned to me, surprised looks on their faces. One woman held up both her hands, waved them in the air and said, “It’s okay. We’ve all got gloves on.”

The other woman laughed and said, “But be careful. You could get ticketed for touching.”

I laughed back and replied, “Now that would be a touching ticket!”

And we went our separate ways.

It is here. This consciousness. Awareness. Hyper-vigilance. It is here.

And it’s good to laugh. To tease each other. And to stay conscious of protocols that protect us.

I touched a woman’s shoulder yesterday. It is my intuitive reaction to someone else’s worry, concern, dismay.

In these days of Covid, it is not the thing to do. Even when wearing gloves.

It is good we could laugh.

It is good I remember to hold back my normal social responses in favour of social distancing.

It is all good.

___________________

On another note, the Parks Team have been busy erecting chicken wire fences around the trunks of the trees that line the river in an attempt to keep them safe from busy beavers.

Those fences, like social distancing, are erected as a barrier against harm. They keep trees safe from nature’s natural nature to do what it must to survive, to evolve, to transform, to create.

Social distancing is our invisible fence.  Let’s keep it strong so we stay standing in good health and vibrancy.

 

Covid 19 – I’m keeping my distance.

Even after baking fresh bread. After making a big batch of mushroom soup and a beef stew. Even after packing up my paints and brushes, my papers and ephemera, I decided not to go.

I was going off to a week-long artist’s retreat in the foothills of the Rockies today.

Yesterday, I called and said I wasn’t coming.

My beloved has a cold. He also has a chronic medical condition. He’s in the high-risk group.

But that’s not really why I cancelled.

I cancelled because I did not want to worry. I did not want to fear inadvertently bringing disease into our home.

I cancelled because I love him.

I made the decision after I saw that Alberta’s number of cases had doubled yesterday. Yes, they are all travel-related but, one of the others at the retreat will be going back and forth to the airport a couple of times for work while I’m there. I do not want to lay the burden of my worry on my friend. And, if you look at the statistics from around the world, this virus exponentially increases on a daily basis. Travel is its gateway. Airports one of its conduits.

It wasn’t an easy decision. I love being at this retreat centre. Savour time spent in the foothills, surrounded by nature’s wild beauty. And I particularly like creating with these friends.

But I couldn’t do it.

To dive deep into my creative essence I need to let go of ‘worldly’ concerns, of worry, of anything but creative expression.

I couldn’t do that when no matter how deep I breathe into the moment, I know my beloved is sick and I am not doing everything I can to protect his health.

So, I decided to practice ‘social distancing’. I hadn’t heard the term before my eldest daughter sent me a link to an article in The Atlantic, Coronavirus: Cancel Everything. In it, the case for social distancing is clearly laid out. In the data, it’s also hard to argue with the fact that to stem Covid 19’s spread, we must change our behaviours.

Yesterday, I scrolled through many articles on Covid 19 and how to prepare for its inevitable presence in the community.

I was looking for reasons why it was okay for me to go.

There were many.

None of them out-weighed my responsibility to the one I love. My responsibility to do the right thing in these difficult and challenging times to create better for everyone. A week ago, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. I would have gone.

In just one week, the sinister reality of Covid 19’s presence has darkened the globe and the lives of 14 people here in Alberta, 7 of whom were reported on yesterday. It’s impact cannot be ignored.

This isn’t because the media have created fear and paranoia. They are simply reporting the facts — Covid 19 is killing people and there are things we can do to mitigate against its impact. Media are also not the ones telling people to hoard toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Human nature’s doing that.

I’m doing what I can.

Sure, it’s possible that my response is over the top for the situation right now. It’s possible it is predicated upon the recent passing of my mother and death’s heavy cloak of sorrow clouding my vision.

That is all possible, but none of it outweighs the reality of Covid 19’s lethal capacity to take life.

If I can do anything to stop it from hurting the ones I love, I must.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be creating. I have a beautiful studio at home. It’s french doors open out to the trees lining the river which I can watch flow from where I sit at my work table. It has a fireplace and all the supplies I need to create. It also offers peace of mind. And when it comes to creating, peace of mind is the foundation of my expression.

So, for the next few days I shall be ‘pretending’ to be on an artist’s retreat. I’ll go for long walks (Beaumont will be very grateful as he is not allowed at the retreat centre). I’ll make lemon tea with honey. Share my fresh bread and mushroom soup and other meals with my beloved.

It will be a different experience than I had anticipated and I’m good with that. Different doesn’t make it ‘not as good as’. Different means it will include the one I love and share my life with. It means having the peace of mind of knowing I am expressing my love for him the best way I know how. By taking care.

I am grateful.

Where the Wild Things Roam

His eyes are dark and piercing. His coat tan and shaggy, fluffy fur collar around his neck.

From where I sit at my desk, looking out the window, he appears like a wraith flowing through the forest.

He stops at the edge of the trees, just by the fence that separates our property from the trees and bushes that line the river.

He stares up at me.

I stare back.

I reach for my phone to take a photo. It’s not on my desk.

I get up, grab it from the island and race back to my desk. He is gone.

I wonder if I actually saw him. If this big, fluffy wild thing really was there.

I open the deck door. Step out into the chilly January air, move across its cold surface in my bare feet and peer upriver, through the trees.

And there he is. Loping along the river bank further upriver. He stops. Pauses. Turns his head to look back at me. He turns back towards the way he was going and continues on his way.

I snap a photo of his retreating back and he is gone.

I sat at my desk yesterday and a wild thing appeared in the woods in front of my window.

For a moment, I was surprised. Taken aback.

He looked at me as if to say, “Look at you sitting there in warmth and comfort, all domesticated while I wander the woods, wild and free. Come. Play with me.”

From the safety of the deck, which is 10 feet off the ground, I watched him lope gracefully through the woods, following the upstream bend of the river.

The closest I came to playing with him was to capture a photo from afar.

Perhaps it is best to keep my distance from the wild things. To watch from afar their fearless journey through the wilds of the city where the river flows through it and houses edge its banks.

Perhaps, being wild at heart doesn’t mean throwing off the cloak of gentility I wear to fit into this tamed and wild world I inhabit.

Perhaps, his call was not to come play with him but to remember the wildness of my heart calling me to cast off fear and run free as the wind through all my creative explorations.

Perhaps, he is my spirit animal calling me to remember I am wild at heart.

Or perhaps, he was really just saying, “This land is my land. I live here too.”

A coyote watched me as I sat writing at my desk yesterday.

A wild thing wandering the banks of the river as it flows through the city.

He paused, looked at me and continued on his journey to the west. To the grasslands beyond the city, the rolling foothills that lead to the Rockies.

He didn’t stay long in my view but his passing through reminded me to give in to the wild callings of my heart.

I am grateful.