February 2013

and a little bit of happiness snuck in and surprised me.

She told me she was pregnant. I’m still not proud of how I responded:? jaw slightly open, staring across the room at her, a million thoughts running through my head.

One of them was, “I just lost my adventure partner”.

Happiness at Camp Tequila Mockingbird Happy Hour, Spring 2009

She had been my wing-man for the past several years. Both of us managing teams at jobs we cared about, meeting for food nerding, wine and journal time at Soif after a long day’s work. We planned trips together. My other friends called her my “wife-y” because I always checked in with her before making other plans.

That was all about to change.

I started putting her at an arms length, looking for new friends to hang out with and new activities to do. After a few months I noticed I was doing it, and screwed up the courage to talk with her about it. We’d decided to spontaneously grab an early dinner in Davenport and then take our chairs to the beach to knit and watch the sunset.? As the sky turned tangerine I took a deep breath and asked my big question. Did she plan to be my friend for the long haul – through thick and thin and all the changes to come? Yes, she said, she did. She wanted me to be part of her life. She wanted me to be part of this baby’s life.? We reached our hands out across the sand and held them for a long stretch, teary eyed.? I began to find my way back to her.

And we keep finding our way toward each other.? She honored me by asking me to support her birth. We adventured together again taking the 4 month old Bean to her second Strawberry Music Festival (the first was in utero). She shared that its likely Stella will tell me things she won’t tell her, and that will be hard for her but she’ll be glad it’ll be me her girl will talk to.? She makes time for dates when she can in between being an amazing mom and starting to develop her new career.? She is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on.? She and the Bean come downtown and spring me from the office for ice cream or a library visit on my afternoon break. And now that the Bean is getting older, I am beginning to enjoy the opportunity to spend more one on one time with her.

Last week while her folks attended a family CPR class she and I hung out for the morning. Sunny though it was she wanted to go on a walk with her polka dot umbrella. Our walk ended playing in the back of my VW camper van.? Caught between needing to feed her lunch and realizing extrication was impossible, I posed the idea of a picnic lunch in the van. It worked: we ran in and grabbed fingery foods and brought them back outside and ate on a flowery sarong spread out on the bed in the back.

After thirty minutes of exploring and emptying every cupboard in the back, she hopped in the drivers seat and grabbed the wheel.? She pointed to the stereo hopefully. I asked if she wanted music and she nodded “yup!”.? I popped in a CD and she smiled big, grooved on her buns a bit and worked the wheel while the sun streamed in all over her golden hair.? The world opened up to me then. My heart swelled and sang. I could see us in the future in exactly that set up, but with her limbed out, gorgeous, still flashing that devilish smile, driving us somewhere fun, chatting up mom who’s smiling in the back.

I realized after all my fear I hadn’t lost an adventure partner, but gained one.

She’s just in development.

“The truth is, friendship is every bit as sacred and eternal as marriage.”????? ~ Katherine Mansfield

Life delivers itself, always.

Sometimes, as Lennon reminded us, Life is what Happens while you are busy making other plans.? Those times can be a shock or a surprise.? A delight, or disaster. They can be welcome or unwelcome.

The Life that has been Happening to me lately has cracked me open. Left me at various moments confused and clear. Feeling ungrounded and then well held by those who love me. It has left me heartfelt, and wise. So many feelings. So much learning. So much of the value of my life, taken for granted when I’m busy with plans, made visible, made felt. Was all of this wisdom and awareness there all along?? Where has it come from?? Can I loosen my grip in the discomfort of Life Happening long enough to feel the spaciousness this new landscape offers? Can I simply be curious about who in all of this I really am? Can, as I am falling, just relax and dive, trusting, into whatever comes next?

Here’s the invitation that just landed on my doorstep:

Who Are You….Really? – aka Gangaji

Keep up the good work, if only for a while, if only for the twinkling of a tiny galaxy.
~ Wislawa Szymborska

Our annual Ecology Action staff party, at the certified green Chaminade Hotel. Celebrating a year of financial hardship and pulling out of it, of executive director transitions, of layoffs and rapid fire hiring. Celebrating four decades of good work that have saved enough energy to take thousands of homes off the grid and diverted enough recycling to eliminate at least one landfill over the years. How lucky am I that, too, I love these people I do good work with. So many smarts, so much passion, such lively and lovely spirits we are. And how we let ourselves really show who we are as we work together. Letting our little lights shine, adding to the twinkling of our precious little galaxy.

Squander it all!
Hold nothing back.

The heart?s a deep well.

And when it?s empty,
It will fill again.

~ Gregory Orr, from How Beautiful the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)

Please think about this as you go on. Breathe on the world.
Hold out your hands to it. When morning and evenings
roll along, watch how they open and close, how they
invite you to the long party that your life is.

~ William Stafford, from ?A Valley Like This? from Even in Quiet Places

My beautiful man is mine no longer.

There is more here than I can say.

So much joy in our time together.  Such grief in the parting.

See now, I hold out my hands and roll them open, palms up to the sky.

Fly well my friend.

It is not down on any map;
true places never are.
~ Herman Melville

I sometimes wonder if I were to quiz every person in the world, how many would call themselves an outdoor person, and how many would turn their nose up at the idea and insist they are definitely an indoor person? When looking at the portrayal of people and their need for consumer goods in the media, and how many people populate the larger towns and cities across the globe, I can imagine there may be more indoor folk than the former.

It’s a shame really, but in a way that’s what the internet is for, to educate people about the merits of keeping in touch with nature, and the benefits even a brief hike in a nearby park can have to yours and the environments well-being. It certainly never hurts to look away from your Facebook app and FoxyBingo.com games long enough to consider the possibilities. What is it about the great outdoors and the environment in general which is so important to so many of us? And how can you alter your own life to spend more time appreciating its beauty and natural wonder?

Small gestures are the best way to start.


Taking the time to recycle what you can around the house is a great way to start your journey back to nature. Many people do not understand the significance of recycling bottles, plastic, cans and the like, but better to recycle today and see the world tomorrow, than to ignore it and lose the opportunity.

A walk in the park

Get out there with your walking boots. Even if you settle for a stroll in the park, you can still settle down on the grass and take a few moments to really appreciate the birds flitting through the sky, and the squirrels jumping from tree to tree. It’s amazing what you miss after all, when you’re too consumed with your own life to look around you.

Hiking in the woods

You might even find that a hike in the woods will put your everyday problems into perspective, remind you there are more living creatures than the human race, and their presence in the world is proof that your problems could always be worse. Do a little research into the countryside where you live and take a trek up to the highest peak. The views which are untainted by us are breathtaking.