Snapshots of Fall 2017

Snapshots of Fall 2017

Fall 2017 marked Stephen and my second anniversary and my first year living in the south.

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It had some of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen.

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It was the start of my second season watching the Falcons.

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And I got a new roommate…

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…he’s pretty cute and makes a mean fire.

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It was the fall of the first Oktoberfest at the local brewery and the band playing at the amphitheater in town.

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It was also the fall we learned the band was going to be uncles!  Eva (singer) and Kelley (drummer) are expecting twin girls this spring ❤ ❤

We showed off Atlanta to our Portland houseguest.

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Before I jumped on planes myself and went to Minneapolis and Portland.

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We drove to Birmingham for possibly the best named early Thanksgiving, “Turkey in the Ham,” a 35+ year family tradition I’m in my second year attending.  We were hungry just in time for Thanksgiving with local family I consider myself very fortunate to have found myself a part of.

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(I have no other pictures because I was either too busy stuffing my face, talking, or holding the cutest baby imaginable.)

It was the fall of knitting a blanket larger than I intended while audio-booking the Maisie Dobbs series and picking up pumpkins at my favorite little church.

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There were trivia nights and candlelight.  Halloween parties, housewarming parties and our councilman won parties (!).  But more importantly, tucked in amongst all of the pictures of things and places are the people I am grateful to have met, continue to get to know and that show me such kindness I move through this world able to call a lot of places home.

The Magic of Timing

The Magic of Timing

A couple of weeks ago Stephen and I went to dinner at a new to us place.  I attempted sushi for the first time since I moved (it wasn’t the west coast’s, but it was good!).  We talked about how fast the last year has gone.

The change to fall immediately made me feel more settled.  Fall is my favorite time of year and I was finally experiencing something in Georgia for the second time around.

As we walked out of the restaurant a light rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds.  We quickly jumped in the car and took off for some of our favorite country roads.

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The sky was orange and mist rose over open fields.  Around each corner I thought we had reached the pinnacle of beauty until we’d turn the next corner and I realized we hadn’t.

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We drive these roads all the time, but I had never seen them like this.  It was a gift we were lucky to experience by being in the right spot at the right time.

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Sometimes timing can feel off.  Someone’s having a bad day.  I’m having a bad day.  Expectations don’t match reality.  Reality may feel way too real.

I thought as I got older I’d get wiser.  But the older I get, the less I know.  It’s scary but sometimes liberating.  Some days I go from freedom to fear in the same moment.

And then sometimes all of that gets pushed aside and magic just shows up without any input from me.

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Maybe you’re traveling for Thanksgiving.  Maybe you’re not.  Maybe you’ll be surrounded by people.  Maybe you won’t.  Maybe this right now feels like precisely your time in life.  Or maybe right now this absolutely does not feel like the right time in your life.  Holidays have a way of bringing expectations to the foreground.  Sometimes that can be magic.  Sometimes it can be crushing.

While I don’t know much, I do know this.  We all get our share of magic, it’s just a matter of timing.  Wherever you are, I wish you well.  If you’re in the magic, enjoy.  If you’re in the fog, keep going.  And if you need a break, take it but come back soon.  We need you.

 

The Things I Carry

The Things I Carry

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I took this picture over a year ago on one of my last mornings living in Portland.  Fisher and I were on a walk and stumbled upon these little heart leaves that dotted our path the whole way home. Yesterday I got back from a few days in Portland.  It was the first time I had been back since I moved to Georgia last year.

I was curious how I would feel.  I lived in Portland for 12 years and Seattle for a few years prior.  I love the Pacific Northwest.  I have amazing friends, colleagues and memories in that part of the country.   I wondered if I’d have a hard time leaving, if somehow my thoughts or feelings about Georgia would change.

Moving to Georgia was big.  It was a move of opposing forces.  It was both weighty and also the simplest decision I’ve ever made.  I could tell it made almost everyone feel uneasy, yet there was also a lot of excitement for Stephen and me.  I was giving up roots and stability to move somewhere completely new.  The climate was going to be changing–both politically and weather-ily (totally a word).

As I was flying home yesterday, 30,000 feet up in the air with my only distraction being the question of whether or not I should watch Anchorman again, I looked out the window and thought about how I carry both places with me, along with everywhere I’ve been.

And this is the wonder, the thing I keep coming back to.  Even though everything is different, it’s all the same.  It doesn’t matter where I am.  I love the Northwest and I love Georgia.  I love cool weather and I hate the heat.  I love sunny mornings and Saturdays, people who are thoughtful, kind and care about others and their community.  I hate close-mindedness in all of its forms.  I both love and hate that I was so careful for so long.  When opportunity presented itself, I could take a risk and be just fine but what else have I missed out on by waiting?

The three of us walk now.  Around the lake we crunch through golden leaves made brighter by dappled sunshine.  We talk. We plan. We crack jokes and then stumble upon hearts that dot our path here too.  We stop for a moment to appreciate them before moving along quietly.  We’ve picked up something new to carry.

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here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

e.e. cummings
from i carry your heart with me

Poe

Poe

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It is common for the small towns around here to have a commercial square at their center.  I have written about our town’s square before.  It’s one of my favorite places–home to two bookstores, trivia nights at the bars, and a great little coffee shop where we warmed up all last winter and played cards.

Today I introduce you to Poe, unofficial square ambassador.

Poe belongs to the oldest bookstore in Georgia–a shop with dark hardwood floors and old drugstore shelves that contain books on local history amongst the latest best sellers and classic children’s literature.  There is a knitting group that meets once a month in the cozy basement downstairs and a fireplace tucked away a corner.

Every morning Poe leaves the bookshop to spend his days in the Square.  He looks both ways before crossing the street, waits for the owner of the barbecue joint so he can traipse to her car where he gets treats.  Some days he forgoes the routine all together and just lays on top of her car swishing his tail and waiting.

The bookshop takes in foster kittens from the local humane society, but Poe seems to prefer the company of people on the square.  He’ll sit in chairs across from solo diners, give you a single, gravelly, Tom Waits style meow when you say hello and occasionally presents his belly for scratches.

Every night the bookshop owner’s daughter comes looking for him asking if he wants to go home.  He allows her to pick him up and carry him back to the shop so he can rise and do it all over again tomorrow.