Summer into Fall Challenge

I was finishing up the dinner dishes when my daughter, sixteen, slipped into the house and said, “You might want to stop and come outside. The sky is beautiful. I don’t think you want to miss it.” I’ve learned to listen to that girl. She pays attention. She’s attuned to beauty. And she loves to share it. She’s been at this sky-sharing practice for nearly half her life. The first time she did this, she was nine and there was a little more drama involved. She didn’t just slip into the house. Her arrival was accompanied by the crashing of {Continue Reading}

Friday Fields Notes | Light

In his book, For Everything There is a Season: A Sequence of Natural Events in the Grand Teton-Yellowstone Area, naturalist Frank C. Craighead compiles decades of observations of outdoor happenings into week-by-week entries. At least, they’re weekly entries between February 27 and December 3. The remainder of December warrants only one entry. And January 1 – February 26 gets only one short paragraph, mostly highlighting what’s behind and what’s ahead. There’s not a lot going on. His summary sentence is telling: “The shortest day of the year (December 21) is behind us with the severest weather still ahead, but the {Continue Reading}

Trail Talk

Happy May! Isn’t it wonderful to finally not be cold? If you’ve read around here long, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am a conflicted outdoorsy type–an avid indoorswoman and a reluctant hiker.  Reluctant or not, time, experience, and maturity have brought me to a love of the places trails take me, the terrain they guide me through, and the way they help me better understand what it means to walk by faith. Even with all of that, one of my favorite things about of life on the trail is the way it fosters wandering conversation. While {Continue Reading}

Winter Gifts and Graces

Regardless of what the thermometer reads today or tomorrow or next week, winter is winding down. I’ll just repeat that, mostly because I need the reassurance. Winter is winding down. I need the reassurance because I believe something that isn’t true: Everything will last forever. Whether it’s the balmy breezes of a green spring that will be taken over by the thousand percent humidity of high summer or the crisp afternoons of a colorful autumn that will fade into the bone-brittling subzero temperatures of deep winter, every season eventually ends. Because I find hope and help in the cycle of the {Continue Reading}

Fall Notes

Fall is traditionally my favorite season. Its crisp leaves and cool air combine to make it a time I want to linger on indefinitely. This one is half-gone and I’ve kind of missed it. At least that’s what I thought before I took a look back. I haven’t missed anything. There’s been life and learning, grace and every kind of good gift. I just needed to turn around and open my eyes. A regular recounting of the gifts and graces, the lessons and the stuff of life keeps me a little more light-hearted and grateful than when I move through {Continue Reading}

Summer Notes

Seasons–the days, the weeks, and even the months they are made of–are easy things for me to give away. I saw this tendency when my son and daughters were small and I referred to them as the age they would be on their next birthday rather than the one they were in that moment. I see it more often than I’d like, when I give away bits of a day that had stretched into the distance like our straight gravel road to things that don’t matter. And with a month of summer still left, I struggle not to feel like it’s already {Continue Reading}

Embracing a Big Summer {& a Giveaway}

While the rest of the world waited for February 2 and  Punxsutawney Phil to declare just how many more weeks winter would hold on, I looked to February 1. That was the date I allowed myself to count the days until my kids would be done with school and off on summer break so we could all be home together and do summer things. The key words in that sentence are home and do, because one always seemed to exclude the other and I ended up fragmented and frustrated in my approach to life. The kids are older now and so am I. More {Continue Reading}

Waiting For What We Can’t See

 Along the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and  Cooke City, the meadows are open and greening, quite in agreement with the calendar: spring has arrived. Leave the dry, temperate north end of Yellowstone and try to head into the interior, though,  and you’ll see a place still in waiting. The most obvious sign: You can’t actually get there. Many of the roads are covered in snow. And closed. It’s too bad, because there’s something there I want to see and never will. In winter, the Lower Falls on the Yellowstone River develops a cone of ice, constructed by cold air and the mist {Continue Reading}

Gifts and Graces: Spring Edition

Yesterday I hurried into Walmart for a few things and emerged–much more slowly–pushing a cart. Right outside the door I caught the fragrance of something I’d seen but not stopped to appreciate on the way in: flowers for sale. It was the scent of spring. I try, with varying degrees of success, not to focus so much on the difficulties of a season  that I miss out on the good. This winter, with its perpetual grey skies that delivered more rain than snow, proved hard not to wish away. Already the best gift and amazing grace of spring is that it arrived, just {Continue Reading}