Sometimes a book inspires me to action
bookworm fishing illustration coleen patrick

Wisdom as prompted by Illustration Friday‘s weekly art challenge.

This challenge got me thinking about those books that I read

that inspired me to fill my fridge with enough produce to make a five-pound bowl of parsley salad. Or buy running shoes. Or a tent. Or art supplies. Or the sequel to the book. Or follow the author or illustrator on every social media platform (it’s not stalking if they put the icons on their website).

All in an effort to stay in the zone

of inspiration

and

discovery

(which a lot of times is pretty cool and rewarding)

but occasionally means

gaining the wisdom to know that I will never be a champion of parsley salad.

 

What are you reading? What book inspired you to take action?

Right now I’m reading Running Like a Girl, but Alexandra Heminsley. I have no plans to sign up for a marathon, but I may have researched running gear. Just a tad.

xo

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Last week the hub and I drove to Georgia and took a ferry from St. Mary’s to Cumberland Island National Seashore.

We were greeted by a boulevard of trees.

hiking cumberland island national park

Welcome!

The island is mysterious and kind of dreamy with it’s gnarled oak trees and Spanish moss, mansion ruins, unspoiled beaches—and wild horses.

We stopped to take a few photos, others disappeared into the maritime forest in groups and pairs.

Except an older woman, setting off solo, down the boulevard of trees.

Something about this woman had me looking over my shoulder for the rest of her party. But I didn’t see anyone else. She lagged behind them, taking it all in, I supposed.

Cumberland island tree trail

We hiked the island. Trails led to ruins, wildlife.

The forest opened to marsh lands. Marsh turned to dunes, and then the unspoiled beach.

The ocean.

white horse Cumberland island

And there was the woman. Sitting on the beach. Alone. She had a book, or a journal. This time I noticed she looked to be about my mom’s age.

And again I was curious that she was by herself.

I wondered about her. And for a moment I considered myself in her shoes.

Because there are two familiar thoughts that I peck around at lately: freedom and need.

woodpecker cumberland island

Pileated Woodpecker on Cumberland Island

Right now I feel like I’m in the thick of the “empty nest” transition.

There’s a lot of freedom in my life right now. Great, yes, but also unnerving to go from so much mothering responsibility to so little.

And I’ll admit my first instinct was just to jump right in and fill those spaces.

birds in a row Cumberland seashore

But I’ve started to realize the freedom has more to do with figuring out my identity now and where I want to fit…

and that takes time

and exploration

but then there’s these wide open spaces of needing to be needed.

cumberland island horse tree swing

And yeah, I want to fill those too.

But well, time, and exploration.

Cumberland Island wild horse grazing

At the end of the day, after an exhausting, but exhilarating hike, I saw the woman again. At the ferry dock.

She was barefoot.

She got up and I overheard her ask someone about the bathrooms. When they didn’t know I pointed her in the direction. She then proceeded to carefully pick her way over the gravel and sticks.

It took her awhile and I wondered why she didn’t put her shoes on.

And I wasn’t the only curious one. Someone said something about her feet and the rocks, but I couldn’t hear the woman’s response. Only this from the other curious hiker:

“Well, sounds like there’s a story there!”

Curiouser and curiouser.

And here, my practical, yet need-to-make-you-smile-over-something-silly side, compels me to add that I also suddenly wondered how she got to the ferry dock without shoes. You only have to hike for 5 minutes to realize that the almost 200 wild horses on the island consider every footpath and sandy trail as not only their home but their bathroom.

Rocks and sticks aren’t the only landmines. Cumberland Island is very natural.

Anyway…

We got on the ferry and I only saw a glimpse of her after that: she

boarded the ferry barefoot, no shoes in hand.

I don’t know why I was so curious about this woman. I thought of my earlier emotions. Those conflicting feelings of freedom and need that came to mind when I considered a moment in her shoes.

Now her missing shoes.

And I came up with different stories. The first was imagining my heavy thoughts weighing her shoes down until she could no longer carry them.

Because I like to look for answers. And make things connect.

Or find meaning.

But some days I just like to take a hike and see wild horses in their element, and get a laugh out of hearing my husband yell, “Poop!” over his shoulder to warn me of another landmine as we walk.

Besides, maybe those shoes were in her bag

and she just wanted to be barefoot.

seagull cumberland island fly

 

Do you make up stories about strangers? What do you think happened to her shoes?

HAPPY MONDAY!

xo

 

 

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Last month I tried meditating.

The kind where you sit in a quiet place and repeat a mantra.

bird head bowed meditation prayer

It didn’t go so well.

Maybe I was a little too desperate for it to work, or maybe it was because my brain likes to tell stories and refute mantras in quiet moments. Either way it was kind of like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach while watching and waiting for a pot of water to boil.

I felt more anxious.

bird head in bird feeder

In the past, I found yoga calming, but sometimes those “yoga clouds” were not in fact carrying away my thoughts, but sorting into my to do list.

flying seeds bird feeder

A black-capped chickadee slinging seeds (and perhaps thoughts).

And walking. I love walking. But I like to go over projects and stuff. Or whatever. I just like to break stuff down when I walk, not push it away.

Then last week I wanted to take some pics of the birds in our backyard. So I sat on my deck, about ten feet from the bird feeder. I had to sit still while holding my camera and somehow that stance forced me to keep an even breathing rhythm.

And so I watched the birds.

bird watching me

Or did they watch me?

I was still. Breathing nicely. And my thoughts were…I don’t know. Like scattered seeds on the ground? Because wherever they were they weren’t bothering me.

Do you meditate?

blue bird illustration

HAPPY WEEKEND! xo

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