March 28, 2019

A Season of Hope after the Polar Freeze

Michigan's winter was intense this year, long, snowy, and so, so cold! The frigidness was breath-taking, literally, and winds strong enough to take trees down and blow a person sideways. Other regions in the United States had it worse with storms, rain, rain, rain, mud slides, massive flooding, so I will not complain. 

The entire Upper Peninsula was hit with over 200 inches of snow. Yet, when I spoke with our Marquette aunt and uncle about how they were coping, they quipped with a twinge of humor, "what can ya do?" … "we had to rake the roof again" … "chip the thick ice off the driveway" … rumor is that their son and his family even built an igloo. My mid-70-year-old aunt then shared that she waded through the chest deep snow to help elderly neighbors by clearing ice and snow from outside ducts. She'd laugh about how she must have looked with snow "up to my boobs!" - we giggled, partly because she doesn't talk like this, partly because this is so her - helping and diving into the task. Such positivity coming down to us in mid-Michigan. Hardy doesn't even define the depth of countless Michigan Yoopers cheerfully enduring the Polar Freeze and raging snow this winter.

March arrived with the heart and roar of a lion! But, and thankfully, spring is squeaking in with bright blue skies and temperatures 30s-50s - we'll take it. Our snow and ice have mostly melted. Walking in the woods this week a herd of deer bounded away with their bright white tails flashing us in the grasses. My conservation steward daughter rescued a couple caterpillars walking across the trail - and heard the abundant varieties of birds - some scolding us as if we were intruding on their territory. A highlight was when my husband and daughter were graced to see the first platter-sized leather back turtle leisurely (and gleefully) swimming in the park's pond. Signs of hope.

Spring – a time of renewal, rainy weather clearing out the mushy snow, crocuses, promises of the rest of the year engulfed in tolerable climate, the smell of manure on the farmer's fields. The exquisite, tantalizing smell of blossoms. Bees, yes, don’t forget the buzz of bees and the heady happiness of birds and land creatures. Spring is a balm for the weary wintered soul, a fragrance of hope and continuity of life. I figuratively hug the aromas - even that of spring skunks, a certain sign of the changing season.

March 7, 2019

An Elusive Purpose

How do you find purpose, a drive, a reason to get up in the morning, during a "dry" time in your life?

Purpose feels elusive to me lately during this season of reevaluating old friendships, retirement, recuperating from an ankle break and tendonitis, and the annoying concern about my auto-immune process.  

I’ve always tried to be kind, helpful, positive. Where did I learn that to be would be adequate for a fulfilled existence? I strove to be - all my life – but it’s not working for me anymore. I need something more tangible.

My wood-walking in the past has brought clarity in my direction but due to a slow healing process have not ventured on a trail since the end of 2018. I miss quietly traipsing in Mother Nature’s warm embrace and wrapping her peace around my very soul – but also know that my return to the woods is imminent.

In the meantime, I am open spiritually, emotionally, and mentally as I spend time writing at coffee shops and bookstores, listening to inspirational music, and attending writing and accessible outdoor events. You could say I am on a quest – trying to capture or glimpse the “it” for which I seek.

(Questing - The act or an instance of seeking or pursuing something; a search.)

I would encourage you to place yourself in areas of your true or possible interests – listen – record, at least in your mind, what you might like to “accomplish” or attempt.

The following dreams have been fluttering around my thoughts and found some semblance of rooting into my gonna do it list this year. Do you have a list of your own?

  • Self-publishing the story of our adoption from Russia
  • Self-publishing a compilation of all our family newsletters, The Olsen Chronicles
  • Walking portions of the North Country Trail
  • Learn how to start a website, and begin one
  • Photography editing eludes me, but I’m more than capable of learning enough to post better pictures on my blog
  • Find a perfect place in which to volunteer – which has people to meet and so I can feel a part of something larger than myself
  • Still be a good person and be kind
I received this e-mail from an old, cherished friend, who was an accomplished author and journalist – these words spoke directly to my heart. I carry her words around with me and cherish not only the encouragement she offered, but that she would take time to share it with me.

But, my dear Connie, I have read enough of what you have written - including numerous entries on your blog - to know that you already are a good writer!  You have a good command of the English language and a wonderful way of turning thoughts into words when you express an idea or tell a story. So, I would suggest that when you have a little time, pick a short topic that you're interested in, or something that you've experienced, and consider submitting some of your writing for publication.

A New and Exciting Coffee Experience

It takes a village to raise a coffee lover. My own village included my Swedish grandmother, who poured her coffee into a saucer and drank fr...