“How does life get this crazy?” my friend Lori asked this morning, as we were trying to find a time to meet and plan a pollinator garden.
I knew her question was rhetorical, but I wanted to answer anyway, to remind both of us that we’re choosing to spend our time in positive ways. “Life gets so crazy because we’re both active and involved people,” I texted back, “which is a good thing.”
Lori recently retired from a career in healthcare, and her days are filled with family, tending her horse community, and projects to benefit the community, like the pollinator garden.
I am retirement age, and although I have retired from the work of re-storying houses because it was time to settle, I am not likely to ever retire from writing or ecological restoration. I still have things to say, books and ideas circling in my mind, and I am still engaged in removing invasive weeds and helping heal and restore my patch of this earth.
Which means my life will continue to be a bit crazy. I’m finally embracing that, because I have realized that I love what I do and I’m not going to change.
Here’s a brief summary of my crazy life since I last posted on this blog, two and a half months ago:
• I researched and wrote the story of a photographer’s life and work for what will be a truly gorgeous (and fascinating) photo coffee table book to be published this fall by Portfolio Publications. That work involved dozens of phone interviews and weeks of organizing the material into a coherent narrative, as well as writing and fact-checking photo captions, plus writing the jacket copy, pull quotes, and front- and back-matter. Over 20k words in total, in less than three months. Whew!
• I drove six and a half hours to Colorado to guest-teach restoration ecology for a class in environmental ethics taught by my friend Evonne Ellis at Western State University in Gunnison. While I was there, I visited my house in Paonia, did some yard work, and gave the house some love. (And said hello to some bighorn sheep.)
• I dreamed up and started filming “Weekly Wildflower,” my new series of one-minute-plus videos that profile local native plants and their relationships. I shoot each live on my morning walks, and they run on Wednesdays.
You can follow me on FB, Instagram, or Twitter to see the videos. Eventually they will migrate to Substack and come out as weekly newsletters. Once I figure out how Substack works, that is!
• I spent two weeks in Wyoming, mostly at Ring Lake Ranch, the spiritual retreat center/guest ranch were I worked the past two summers. At the ranch, I worked on eradicating invasive weeds, either by pulling them up outright or spraying them. And then I headed home to Cody to hang out with friends (thank you, Connie and Jay!) and soak up the sagebrush country in spring, resplendent with Indian paintbrush in bloom.
• I was barely back from that 2,000-mile roadtrip when I learned that the latest offer on my Paonia house (there had been several, but none had made it to closing) was actually going to close the following Friday. So on Thursday afternoon, I set off on yet another road trip to western Colorado, spent one last night in my Paonia house, attended closing, and drove the seven hours back to Santa Fe Friday night tired and very relieved to be home for good!
• Last week, I set up my recording studio in my closet, and began narrating the audiobook version of my memoir, Bless the Birds. This project has been nagging at me since before the book’s publication two years ago, but I wasn’t ready until now. I had forgotten how much I love narration, and the seductive lure of telling stories to an invisible audience. So you can think of me in my closet, headphones on, reading away.
These are not easy times, to say the least. But I am happy. I embrace my crazy life because I am doing useful and positive work, and I have wonderfully supportive friends and family. As I wrote in Bless the Birds, I am old,
I have lived through loss, fear, and pain. I am still walking forward, still finding joy in the lives around me, human and moreso. Still loving.
That’s the key: Still loving.
My hope for you, dear friends, is that you are also still loving this life and this planet. And that you are still working on positive contributions to our communities, each other, and our Earth, no matter the difficult times. Thank you!