As I was traveling last week, sitting at the airport and ending a phone call with a friend, I looked up to see a life-sized blur of pink walk by. I did a double-take to fully realize what I had seen. There, in the middle of the airport on a busy Thursday, stood a grown man wearing a pink body-suit, pink bike shorts, pink VANS, and a pink feathered boa around his neck. It being October, I had a sneaking suspicion that his attire was all about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I felt so inspired by his strength in wearing full-blown pink, TO TRAVEL, that I had to go say hello. And ask him if I could take his photo.
This is Andrew. His mother is a breast cancer survivor of 8 years. He shared with me that for the past few years, he’s been dressing up in pink as many days in October as he can to show his support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Andrew said this year marks his first as having enough in his wardrobe to wear pink EVERY DAY in October. We chatted a bit about his mom, my own cancer story, and the importance of prevention and early detection. I told Andrew that I admired his courage and passion to so publicly embrace his own awareness campaign of wearing pink every day for 31 days. I asked if I could take his portrait and he graciously obliged. And then, we were off on our separate paths.
However, Andrew and his story stuck with me throughout the day. His groundedness in who he is and what he believes in was, IS, striking. I truly admire how comfortable Andrew is in his body, his identity, his beliefs, to go against the grain and the norms of masculinity to wear bright pink everywhere he goes for a month. He sincerely inspired me and I know he inspires most everyone he encounters. Meeting Andrew reminded me that life is short. He reminded me that THIS, right now, THIS is IT. He reminded me to take my life by the horns and ride it for all it’s worth. He reminded me to embrace every moment. To live bold.
How do the days keep slipping through my fingers? Where do 24 hours “go” in each revolution of this beautiful earth? As I sit here on this chilly, mid-October day, I’m thinking about summer and the third Tribe retreat. I’m trying to savor the time spent back in July with such kindred spirits on the coast of Oregon, my happy place.
I’m reminiscing about dinner together on the beach, chats on the turquoise couch, walks into town filled with laughter.
I’m reflecting on celebrating dreams fulfilled and mourning one of our sisters not being able to be with us this year. I’m holding on to the ease and security that was born within me that week, those core desired feelings that I struggle some days to maintain.
I’m missing my sisters, their friendship, our connection. I’m reminding myself of how they buoy me when life feels stormy and difficult.
I’m feeling grateful for the space this group has created with one another, and for all that these relationships bring to my life. I’m aware of the evolution of our friendships, as well as the changes that occur within each of us and in our respective lives. I’m excited to see what lies ahead for us all as individuals and as a group.
I’m already counting the days until we’re all — all — together again.
I’m so delighted to share that our group has a collective written piece and photographs in the Autumn issue of Mingle. I hope you check it out.
When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
I’m over at Mortal Muses today talking about portals, doorways to other worlds, and escape hatches. Click HERE to check it out!
Remember when I told you about the Best. Hike. Ever.? You know, the one where you wake up around 2am, slurp down some coffee, get your hiking gear, and head to the trailhead to start your hike by 4am. The one where you hike through the forest and up the mountain in the pitch black of night, headlamps on your forehead illuminating the trail at your feet. The one where you keep looking over your shoulder, peeking behind you to check the sun’s progress to the horizon, urging your legs to move faster so that you can get to the top before that beautiful ball of fire emerges. The one where, this year, the wind was so intense and it was so cold, that we asked each other over and over if we should turn back. The one where the gift of seeing the alpenglow at sunrise on the face of Long’s Peak is so incredibly worth it that we pressed on. Yeah, that one. It’s such a beautiful and amazing experience, Tony and I couldn’t resist returning to this favorite hike during our “just us” trip to Colorado.
I’ve lugged my 35mm camera on this hike before (see the first two photos HERE), but I’ve never tried any photos with my Polaroid cameras. This year, I brought along my beloved SX-70 camera and attempted two shots. I was worried with the darkness (it was sunrise after all) and the almost-freezing temperature that both attempts would be futile. Fortunately, I was wrong. The first image is of the sun just beginning to alight over the peaks of Twin Sisters, and the second is of the alpenglow on the face of Long’s Peak.
Oh, friends. I know I’ve been a bit quiet here of late, but I’ve been engaging in some serious self-care and re-charging. Some of that has looked like this…
I’m over at Mortal Muses today sharing some thoughts on how photography allows me (us!) to capture the full range of life. I’m talking about how through photography, I become aware of how we must be alive to it ALL — the highs and lows of this one, wild, precious life we all have.
I hope you click HERE to check out the full post.
Fifteen years ago today, we promised to love each other through it all. We had no idea what “through it all” would really come to mean back then, but we believed we were meant for one another. And I still think we were right.
I am in awe at what 15 years has shown us. We both have grown and changed in so many ways as individuals, yet so much is still the same. Our relationship has deepened and widened, holding too many joys and struggles to count. I can only imagine what 15 more years will reveal to us. I’m so grateful that you will be by my side, sharing it all, traversing this life together. You’re still my favoritest.
Tony and I took our annual trip to Colorado this summer to spend a week hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. This year marked our sixth of this tradition, an upside to having moved to Nebraska and being a day’s drive away from the mountains. Unlike our previous five years, though, our dear friends who introduced us to RMNP and with whom we typically spend this sacred time couldn’t join us. The dates just wouldn’t gel to allow all four of us to be together. Bummer! But, not wanting to miss out on this important week of re-charging right before our respective school years commenced, Tony and I decided to head to Colorado, just us.
And this week in Colorado together…I have to say that it was one of the best weeks we’ve ever spent with one another. I know that the two of us live together, and that it’s “just us” all of the time. But not in this way. We rarely have a full week with one another that isn’t also filled with work tasks, responsibilities, and other commitments tugging at us. I travel and escapade quite a bit, yes, but WE hardly take a trip TOGETHER that doesn’t involve visiting family or friends. It’s actually very rarely “just us.” So this week together in the mountains felt…quite magical.
We hiked, made dinner, played Scrabble. We laughed, a TON. And we talked, like really talked about all kinds of things. I felt so connected, so relaxed, so grateful. After all these years together, I fell head-over-heels in love with Tony all over again. Pretty great, “just us.”
Summer is over. The school year has begun in earnest. Already, the fullness of each day (aka, the to-dos of each day) is acutely apparent to me. My good intentions to take care of myself have resurfaced. I’m “back on the mat” as they say, practicing to limber my body, my mind, my soul.
I’m wanting to dwell in a space of ease.
To be in this life,
moment to moment.
In practicing and moving forward with this intention, I’m reminded how nature, the very sights and sounds around me each and every day, can help me with this awareness. And, I’m reminded of poetry and its rhythms to call forth both a groundedness and a flow through life. So for today, this spider web, these words…
Invitation by Mary Oliver
Oh do you have time
for just a little while
out of your busy
and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles
for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,
or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air
as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine
and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,
do not walk by
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.
It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
With summer feeling like it is officially ending as classes and the semester start today, I’ve been reminiscing about my summer. Like most summers, I visited Oregon, seeing dear friends in Portland and then heading to the coast for the Tribe retreat. Unlike the past four summers, Tony came with me! It felt way overdue for Tony to come along and visit with our friends, so I decided to book him a flight when I was making my travel arrangements. And I’m so grateful I did.
We met Lise many moons ago when we moved to Missouri for me to start graduate school. Lise lived down the street from us with her then 15-month old daughter, Avery. We grew super close, often cooking and eating dinner together, walking our dogs, and generally connecting as transplants to the Midwest. A few years later, Lise and Avery moved to Oregon and I grew so worried we would fall out of touch. With many visits, phone calls, and me living in Oregon for a year, that certainly hasn’t happened, and we’ve now been friends for almost 15 years. As evidence of the passage of time, here’s a photo of Lise and Ave that I took during our recent visit with them…
We had tons of fun hanging out with Avery and hearing all about high school (OMG, we’re old!), and getting to know Anton more and more along with his love of dinosaurs, Peregrine falcons, and climbing. Lise loves to be outside in her garden and we got to enjoy her lovely dahlias…
Of course no trip to Portland is complete without visiting Mecca, otherwise known as Powell’s Books…