why not?


I've been trying to write this post for weeks now but have felt, just, quiet lately.  These pictures are from almost a month ago now, on a day where we were able to sneak away to the coast for a few hours.  I've always been a little jealous of people who have a clearly defined heritage.  I grew up (adopted) knowing that I had some Portuguese on my maternal side but nothing about my paternal side.  I felt/feel a strong affinity for certain countries and their cultures, but mostly I feel like a child of the Pacific Northwest.  The forests and coastlines of Oregon and Washington are in my bones.  The golden hills and sparkling streams of Northern California where I spent two years as a child forever hold a place in my heart.  I can't imagine being away from this part of the world for long.  

I started an online challenge of walking 175 miles in early April and finished yesterday.  I'd been walking pretty regularly before that, but I love a goal and my daily miles increased every week.  I am thinking about setting some walking goals combined with observational learning for each season, starting with what's left of spring.  Beyond that, getting my miles in has led to walking places I wouldn't  normally, like the grocery store and the library - basically anywhere I can reasonably get to on foot - and it has been a game-changer!  I'd like to make going on errands by foot a new normal.  I love the exercise and how it makes me feel at the end of the day, I love how it keeps my car off the road when it's not necessary, and I love exploring my neighborhood/town and seeing all the things I never noticed from the car.  

Another positive change in my life is that today I've been alcohol-free for 46 days.  I feel so good without it, I don't know if I'll ever go back.  

There are always things going on behind our curtains of self-preservation, beyond the self we show to others.  And there are things going on in the world that are not only discouraging but frightening and horrific.  I'm aware of the absurdity in thinking anyone cares about my walking/eating/drinking habits.  But, with feeling good about these things comes the wish for others, for you, to also feel some happiness and a sense of well-being, in whatever form that takes, whether it is through lifestyle changes, artistic endeavors, or things on a more global scale.  When we feel better (about at least some part of our lives, despite what is going on behind the curtain) we can nurture not only ourselves, but nurture each other and the world better.   So,  why not try something new today that you know will make you feel better?  


slow notes:


Until next time ~



Blue jacket, blue sweater, blue sleeping bag, blue eyes with thunder heads rolling over them.  I saw him folded on the sidewalk ahead as I crossed the street.  He said nothing, but those eyes silently pleaded as person after person walked past.  I got out a few dollars and then guiltily covered my expensive bag with my arms as I approached him.

I'll often stop (I don't care what the money is spent on, it's the moment of kindness and acknowledgment that matters), but I rarely exchange more than a couple of words. 

After I walked away, I heard him call out.  I went back and knelt down beside him this time.  Up close, I saw the child in his face.  I thought of his mother.  Does she know where he is?  Is she a safe haven for him?  He asked me why no one stops.  "Everyone just keeps walking, like I'm not even here."  Then, on the verge of tears, he asked, "Why is everyone so mean?  Why is everyone just so angry?"  A dozen reasons flashed through my mind, none of which I could bring myself to say.  

I touched his arm and said, "You're right, people are angry.  I'm sorry.  But I'm not angry."  A slight untruth, that last part.  I tried to smile.  A couple sitting outside the coffee shop clearly didn't like anyone giving this human being who was cluttering up their sidewalk/day/reality any attention or reason to stay.  

His voice was somehow both ragged and childlike, his back curved in defeat.  I didn't have the right words (I never do) or any soothing answers.  He was gone when I passed back that way, but his questions and those stormcloud eyes have been with me for weeks. 

I know there are reasons to be angry.  There are things that deserve outrage.  The world can be a very unkind, unjust place.  And no matter what we look like or how we manage to pass ourselves off, we all carry some kind of storm inside.  What if, instead of outrage toward our fellow human beings, especially those we don't like the looks of or don't understand, we offer a little tenderness and see what that world looks like?


slow notes:  

This, on compassion.



Poems.  I don't mean the written word, but the seen, the heard, the felt.  I find them most often in the forest, for that is where Douglas fir, Mahonia, licorice fern, and Trillium live.  It's where wild ginger, chanterelles, singing birds, the scent of humus, and a thousand glorious shades of green live.  It's where life and death and love and all manner of magical unseen things live.  But I also find poems in my own back yard, crawling under piles of rotting leaves, inching their way up tree trunks, or dripping from the rain-filled gutter.  I feel them settling into my bones like a valley fog when I walk with the moon.  I can sometimes taste them, salty and wild like a coastal gale, and my heart becomes an ocean.


slow notes: 


Have you found these kinds of poems?  Maybe in the touch of the dog's nose on your cheek?  In the rhythmic ticking of an analog clock?  In the caw of the crows outside your window?  In the scent of the garlic you grew last year browning in a cast iron pan for tonight's dinner? 

I know that some may feel that there is no poetry in the world right now, and my heart is with you.  

Maybe today you are the poem.   

by mlekoshi