Tuesday, August 30, 2011

a life on paper

i love the names of certain towns: peace river, harmony, dove creek, santa fe. i imagine saying and writing my address there. i plan a life that includes long walks, flower gardens, dreamy views. i mentally arrange all the furniture and plants on my front porch. inside, i keep my cats, over-stuffed chairs and stacks of books. oh, and all these homes have fire places and banana bread baking in the oven. just the pleasing name of a dot on the map and i can envision a whole future in that place.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

desert moon rise

this summer my husband and i have been making a date on the night of the full moon to drive out into the desert and watch the full moon rise.

we set up chairs and soak up all the evening ambiance: the fading heat, bird calls, and the faint whispering of cars zooming by on the nearby road. the anticipation is intense and makes me giddy. then, without fail, we see the white sphere begin to appear. it is a show that has been running for thousands of years and yet it never fails to enchant. i remind myself that there are only a limited number of moon rises left in my lifetime - a bittersweet reminder to fully enjoy each one. i hope to continue this "tradition" into the fall and winter months.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

memory with flavor

yesterday i ate about 20 of these little heath candy bars!

it's not that they aren't so delicious (although i didn't care for them as a kid) but this was my mom's favorite treat. she didn't indulge often but when she had candy it was usually a heath bar. or at least that's the way i remember it. so yesterday, while i was putting them into my mouth every few minutes, i remembered her. the perfect description of emotional eating! i don't often associate food with such strong memories but this connection was so clear. there are many ways i think of my mom each day and i don't plan to make this a habit, but for just this once it was a sweet trip down memory lane.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a few good questions

ihanna used this quote in one of her recent blog posts:

"The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going?
What are you doing? Think about these once in a while and watch your answers change."
Richard Bach

i plan to use these questions to guide one of my journal pages later today. just thinking about them makes my mind branch off into the possibilities of answers so i am anxious to get them down on paper. what would you say? and what will we say ten years from now?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

frida find

last weekend i was in a used bookstore and bought this book of postcards for just $2.50!

i am so intrigued with all things frida. a couple of years ago my friend, kl, and i got to visit her home in mexico city and i was so mesmerized by the way her spirit was felt in every part of it. her husband, the artist diego rivera, described her work as being "as lovable as a beautiful smile and as cruel as all the bitterness of life." i am planning to send these postcards to the fabulous women in my life to let them know how much they mean to me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

a moment

the following was written in my journal on july 25, 2011, en-route from prescott, az to the grand canyon:

it was a moment, one of those "stop right there!" realizations: we were driving north on a two lane road and i could see blue sky, clouds, and trees. the composition was pleasing, beautiful in a soul-comforting way. so save awesomeness for someone else - i'll take this scenery over any "wonder of the world." i settled back in the passenger seat and traveled with this landscape as far as it would take us. this life coaxes us to reach for elusive gems, to want it all, to expect more from yourself and our experience here. but sometimes it is ok to say, "this is more than enough."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

the grand canyon

i wrote the following in my journal while at the grand canyon, july 26:

the canyon reaches up and speaks slowly. she has time, she owns time. her messages are soft but she has so much to say. i let her take me in, i sink gratefully into her presence. it is a familiar feeling - the same motherly love i felt in africa. we walked along the rim, watching darkness snuggle against next to the rock walls within her. one of the many reoccurring cycles here, the transition from day to night is near complete. tomorrow she will gracefully endure heat and crowds, her peaceful demeanor unfazed. i feel so fortunate too share in her space.

Monday, August 8, 2011

lake manyana

the following is an excerpt from my africa travel journal:

i am in heaven right now sitting outside the manyara serna lodge in tanzania. the temperature is just right, the view is divine and ever-changing. i can see the vast lake manyara down below, which gathers its water from inside the earth. the sky is edging toward evening and seems endless. i can hear the peaceful conversations of birds and baboons. someone is playing drums in the distance. a thatched roof hut is waiting for me, clean and cozy, complete with mosquito netting canopies above each bed. i am experiencing one of those rare perfect moments.

june 29, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

africa's voice

the following is an excerpt from my africa travel journal:

africa spoke to me in hushed tones through waving grasses, trees that reach, and the monotonous breathing of lounging lions. the message is clear - stop looking and enjoy what you have and are currently experiencing. this she said at the heart level. i took it in layer by layer, knowing what a rare opportunity i was present for... i will honor it, hold her advice close to my heart, and live it each day.

july 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ngorongoro crater

the following is an excerpt from my africa travel journal:

this morning the crater was filled with mist like a steaming cauldron but now the clouds just hang over the edge for a peek inside. in another time this was a place of extreme activity, the earth opening up and pouring inside out. now it is calm, full of life. the rocks remember, the surrounding sides remember, for it was not that long ago for them. today the dirt roads are lined with safari jeeps, seeking the treasures of animal sightings and perfectly framed shots. darting here and there, raising dust and surpassing the expectations of so many tourists.

july 2011

photo by kaylynn neal

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


photo by kaylynn neal

the following is an excerpt from my africa travel journal:

rhinoceros, even your name evokes the prehistoric. all alone in a sea of grass, your back rising like a mountain range silhouette. your skin is poured lava crust, not organic looking at all. your ears fell short of your head and landed on your neck. steely eyes, far from warm, go well with the spike-like protrusion on your snout. you are not a beauty but such the prize. munching your breakfast, you raise your head and shutters snap. elusive, you are one of very few. in your presence, we are aware as the future holds its breath.

ngorongoro crater, tanzania
july 2011