2019: A year in pictures

Cow, Lion

I didn’t spend any time writing this year, except to friends and family which is really a tragic shame that I have to spend some time on to make sense of why that was so, not for you dear reader. Today, I was googling artists and writers that spend time doing what appeared to be nothing to give myself some comfort – most of the stories weren’t really so positive so I knocked that off and here I am. I can just say that sometimes all the stories in my head are so loud and twisted together, I can’t make just one stand alone – maybe this next year, I can get better at that? Here’s hoping.

Good news, while I have a boatload of cliches about this past twelve months, I am going to spare you all most of that and save them for my own time. I will just state clearly that the path to my next decade seems to have gone from rocky and directly uphill an endless trail in the dark woods, to a gradual climb above the tree line with a summit in sight, with amazing views and terrifying drop offs on the side of trail. I am almost there and the last ten years have for once, looking back, been more of the making of me than the breaking of me. I am braver, smarter, wiser than I was ten years ago. I am also more humble, more willing to laugh at myself and no longer trying to make sense immediately of all the lessons. I figure they’ll explain themselves in time. People have come, they have gone and come back and I expect they will all continue to do that. My constants are like redwoods, tall, strong, reliable and mostly indestructible.

I celebrate that more than you all could know and today, simply just enjoy a small glimpse into the past 12 magical months, before I start planning, sharing and WRITING more about 2020. Just breathing in what just happened. It was a year of so much – there was death, new beginnings, challenges, joy and a lot of love.

On this fourth day of the new year, wishing you all happy days on the trail of life, may the year be kind, joyful and if it sends you challenges, may you be brave, fearless and strong.

2019: Fall at rest

Cow

My favorite tree. In my favorite hometown spot.

Five years ago, she was on fire. Orange as ever. I felt like I was on fire too. About to head off to Nepal, I was ready for what was next. That fall was spectacular.

This fall, she’s not so orange. No so well. Maybe she’s older, maybe she’s too tired to glow but don’t give up on her yet. Tree, I feel the same some days.

Let’s look closer though. She’s still got some orange fire in her leaves. She’s still in the game. So am I tree. So am I.

2019: New Year, Same me

Cow, Lion

Time for a pep talk. I always have better years on the odd ones. Even if the events of the year are not great, they are always transformative? Glass half full? Seems people miss that the glass has something at all – water or wine, still something. So, my good people, going to try to make something of this new year. Here’s the best of the last one.

2018: Dog days of summer

Cow

“To say it was a beautiful day would not begin to explain it. It was that day when the end of summer intersects perfectly with the start of fall.”

– Ann Patchett

2018: Cow Town Summer

Cow

“I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this.”

Susan Branch

2017 Giving thanks

Cow, Lion

Making memories, living life doesn’t mean I have stopped reflecting. It’s been an intense time of real adult style stuff. You can either go deep and connect through the story or you can instead share memories of happier times. This summer and fall I could do neither. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, something was just not right.

And then the show did drop. I’ll get there and share more or not. Life was upside down for a while but all seems slightly less so or maybe I am just better at it now.

Today we went Christmas tree shopping. The cub was not so thrilled. I remembered cutting a tree down is hard and it was slightly gloomy a day. Memories. In the end life in its imperfection makes better memories. It’s taken me almost half a lifetime to learn that. I always believed in the yin and yang of life, now I am just going focus on living it. Wish me luck.

2017: Summer of Cows

Cow

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A summer of summertime days and nights – in my magical purple valley. New England has summer down. Fairs, swimming holes, ice cream stands, farmers markets, outside stuff. I don’t travel much when it’s hot outside. I stay here with my people and family – we have drinks outside, we sit around fires, we catch some frogs (if you’re 7 we do that), we look for fireflies in the meadows in our electric green hills and we store up memories for when it’s cold and gray and dark. It’s been an amazing summer this year and when February comes around, I’ll make sure to hold these days in and warm up my heart.

2017: In like a lion, out like a ram

Cow

Winter cannot give up her grip on these New England hills. I am not going to be one of those surprised people that it happened again, happens every year. In a few months, when the green busts out all over, it is more than worth it.

Nonetheless, sometimes I feel a bit battled by the weather, life, possible disappointments, work stress. Today’s lesson is don’t under estimate the worth of a random act of kindness.

Just as I was preparing to wallow a bit in my pre-spring blues, the mail came. Random envelope with the driver’s license I wasn’t even missing yet inside it. With a note “I think you might want this back”. Thanks universe, you got this round.

2016 – 2001: Remembering

Cow, Lion

I was rushing to work that horrible day, September 11, 2001, trapped in the normal Boston traffic listening to NPR. I knew I was late because it switched over to the BBC broadcast at nine am. I heard the news of the first tower falling in an English accent. It took me a moment to realize this wasn’t happening in a far away land but here in the USA, blocks from where my sister worked, in a city filled with my people, my buildings and streets I knew well. Not to mention, working for a tour operator, airplane travel was my day job.

And so began the first endless day. That would be followed by weeks of the same. 

People know where they were when JFK was shot. I know where I was when Kurt Cobain’s death was announced, when the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up and then the planes hit those towers.  The historical moments that transform generations, that rewrite history.

This morning it started out windy and raining, so unlike that morning fifteen years ago. That day dawned as one of the most perfect late summer, almost fall days. The kind of day that makes people fall in love with the Northeast USA. 

This afternoon, the sun broke out and I took this glorious picture of my cow town and one of my favorite views. I went to a loving kindness meditation session (we can talk about that another time). Fifteen years of wisdom tells that the lesson to take forward and think about today is that people are truly good. In adversity and sorrow, they show you how triumphant and solid their spirits are indeed. Trouble will find us all, in so many forms, but no matter what, the skies do always clear. It’s going to rain again, but today, blue sky. Nothing but blue healing sky.

The world churns madly on.

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2016: Cape Cod Birthday Sail and Sunset

Cow

14088672_10154084263861387_5718654010065167714_nYesterday, I went sailing. The wind was just puffy enough on our little bay. The sun was shining. It was perfection. The sun said goodnight in a blaze of orange goodness.

Except every year I forget that the sailing part can only follow the contortionist upside down yoga rigging the boat time, various bumps and bruises time and a required period of coordination that I never even have on land.

This past year has been a bit like that. Gorgeous peaceful bliss can only be earned by time proverbially banging my head and balancing upside down.

Today is my birthday. It’s been a triumphant twelve months round the sun but it’s also been horrible – not planning to candy coat it. Being in your forties is humbling. I have gotten so much better at so many practical things (please read that as it was implied, I am definitely more mindful and not an owner of a whole plantation of bananas, maybe I own just a small plot these days) but life never does let up.

Here is the great news – there are beautiful sunsets to start the next year right, I actually can balance upside down on a bobbing boat (in life and on the water) and I made it – heart healed, tougher, smarter and well, you get it.