Two years ago, at this very moment, Justin and I were sitting on the steps to the front deck of our home. We’d spent the last two weeks or so in an insane flurry of activity, choosing which of our belongings would come with us or be let go, making Kippee (though we didn’t know her name yet) into a livable home, preparing to make a monumental shift toward a different life…Read More
I arrived home late last night from a good long visit with a dear friend on the other side of the country. I like to pause occasionally and recall what a miracle it is that it is possible to wake up in coastal North Carolina and go to bed that same night in coastal California and that this kind of speedy travel across thousands of miles is considered routine at this point in human history. Miracle.
As I woke here in my own bed this morning, Kippee rocking a bit as Tess plodded over to drink water from her bowl, it came home to me that we are closing out our time in California…Read More
I have a confession to make, you guys. One I’m not proud of.
I was not excited when we found out we were headed to the desert.
I’m a lover of big trees and long rainy weekends and lush undergrowth and gurgling brooks nestled into forests and cozy cups of tea under heavy blankets. The desert? It just sounded dry. And hot. And possibly like everything in it wanted to kill me.
I told myself that it would be fine…it’s only three months, after all. I figured I’d hide in the air conditioning if I needed to. And as we were leaving New England in January, I thought maybe a little sunshine would do me good. My expectations were pretty low.
“I’m just not a ‘desert person’,” I told myself.
Shame on me.
What does that even mean- “desert person”? This isn’t Star Wars and there aren’t “desert people” from which I am separate. What was I even talking about? I think most of us have climates and landscapes that call us home, that appeal to our hearts in a special way, but to assume that that is the only landscape we can thrive in simply isn’t true and doesn’t serve. What a ridiculous label to apply. What an unnecessary limitation to place on my life.
Tucson was surprise and delight over and over and over again. While trees and water and cool weather might be the landscape that resonates most deeply with me, Tucson and the Sonoran Desert won me over in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of. There is something special and magical there, and it was a huge reminder that I potentially miss out big time when I decide something’s “not for me” instead of coming to it with an open heart.
My curiosity saved my butt once again as it pushed me out the door and out into the desert when I was inclined to pout about it instead. Thank goodness.
There I discovered the way evening light slides across the desert floor and sets the surrounding mountains on fire, creates a halo of gold behind the saguaro and prickly pear and turns the barrel cactus pink. There that I paused and realized that the thorns and the spiky exteriors, the venomous teeth and the pointy tusks, weren’t the desert trying to kill me, but rather the desert fighting for its own survival with everything it has. How could I possibly hold that against it? I respect the hell out of survivors and that’s all the desert has.
I grew attached, much to my surprise. I grew to love running across shale covered trails with precarious footing and watching for rattlers sunning themselves in my path. I grew to love that we could load up Tess and some snacks and drive up Mount Lemmon for cooler temperatures and a pine tree fix. I grew to love a town big enough to draw the artists and entrepreneurs that create gorgeous murals and craft beers and restaurants with tons of personality, all while remaining small enough to harbor a sense of community and history and culture that thrives.
And while I admit that it’s probably a good thing that our time in Tucson drew to a close just as daily high temperatures were beginning to consistently hit over 100F, I left there with a new and deep appreciation for the desert that has etched it’s way into my heart. Tucson opened me to the desert in a way I would have thought impossible, and I am so grateful for the time we were gifted there.
I hope you have a chance to spend time there at some point. I urge you to consider it when you think about making your travel plans next. To nudge you in that direction, I’ve created a guide to Tucson that will help give you a sense of the town and the desert that it calls home! It contains four itineraries that span 36 hours to a full week and is based on Justin and my favorite things from our time there (so expect a lot of breweries…Tucson knows its beer, y’all!).
I had a different post planned for you today, my lovelies. An introduction to Tucson and the link to the guide there that I’ve been promising you. I am so excited about this guide- excited about its contents and also about its design. You see, I took an extra minute (or, you know, several hundred of them) to learn something new with this project, something I've been meaning to learn for some time.
I have long wanted to gain a real working understanding of Adobe InDesign and how to utilize the powerful software to create well designed materials for you guys. I have put it off for years (seriously, like a good solid decade), just using workarounds in software that I already understood, knowing all the while that InDesign would be the better choice and that my final product would be far superior if I would just learn it. But it takes time and energy to learn a whole new program, and time and again I have promised myself that “next time” I would take that time, put forth that energy. A lot of “next times” have come and gone and still no InDesign.
So I decided that this would be that “next time,” that I would step back from hurry and half measures and stop putting off my best work. I ignored the voice in my head that said I didn’t have time, that people were waiting for what I’d promised, that this was not the time to indulge myself in the slow process of learning and mistake-making that would be involved. I ignored the urge to wait until “next time” yet again.
Because this is what we do, isn’t it? We assume that at some later date, we’ll have more time, more money, more flexibility, more whatever, and then we’ll finally be able to do whatever it is that we’ve been waiting to do, to start, to say, to change. But how often does “next time” turn into another “next time” and another after that? How many years do we put off the things we want to do, need to do? Sometimes it’s something pretty minor like learning a new software program that will improve our skills and our work, but often we apply that same principle to not-so-minor things too, don’t we? I would imagine I’m not alone in waiting until “next time” to make some big changes in my life, to have some big conversations with loved ones, to take a first step toward a big dream.
This learning process has meant the Tucson guide that I wanted to deliver into your hands has taken me a bit (okay, a lot) longer than I’d hoped. And I ran out of time to get all of the delivery logistics figured out before today’s post, so I don’t have it for you today. I hope you’ll find the delay worthwhile when it lands in your hands next week (yes, I see the bit of irony here...).
In the meantime, I invite you to think about the things you’ve been putting off until “next time” and ask yourself why. Why are you waiting? What will really be different "next time?" What if you started this time instead? It might mean risking letting someone down. It might mean letting yourself down (I promised myself that I would get this guide delivered today and I’m disappointed in the missed deadline). But. Sometimes those short term disappointments mean greater integrity in our long-term.
In this instance it just means a new skill set that will allow me to do better work, to create work I’m more proud of as I move forward. But maybe it can also mean pausing as you chop veggies to pay attention to the ramblings of your five year old this time or using this weekend to finally get down to the beach and take a restful afternoon to listen to the waves.
Maybe we can practice grabbing the opportunities as they present themselves instead of hoping, relying on the idea that some mysterious “next time” will appear, that we’ll have the chance later to do what we delayed today. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter, but sometimes it really does and I don’t know about you, but I can use all the practice I can get at this. So let’s do it. Let’s stop waiting for “next time” and start learning and listening and healing and talking and changing and growing this time.
We can do it, you guys.
Some days the driving feels long. The highway stretches out before us and the view blurs as unspecified agriculture and isolated gas stations and the occasional state welcome sign fly past our windows.
These are good days for audiobooks and long conversations about crazy ideas and…Read More
I came across this passage in my reading this week, written by priest, theologian, writer, and activist Matthew Fox:
“I propose that we can fall in love several times a day for the rest of our lives…We could fall in love with a star, of which there are 200 billion in our galaxy alone. Or a species of wildflower... Or a species of bird, of tree, of plant. Or with another human being- preferably one different from ourselves…We could fall in love with music, poetry, painting, dance. If we fell in love with one of Mozart’s works each week, we would have seven years of joy. How could we ever be bored?”
These words keep singing in my head, resonant with such incredible truth. In a single succinct paragraph, this man slices right to the heart of living a full, rich, meaningful, and wondrous life. Curiosity manifested as love, as wonder, as awe. To look out upon the unknown and instead of fear, we fall in love. How singularly beautiful is that…Read More