A New Season ( & Hi! How’ve you been?)

 

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I haven’t blogged in so long, it’s insane. Where to begin? Summer came, and summer went.

It was good, it was full; it felt exhausting at times, exhilarating at others. Highlights ranged from a whirlwind NoVa July jaunt and a favorite friend’s fun-fun-FUN Denver wedding to a love-soaked reunion under Chicago’s sticky summer skies. August was chock-full of music and weekends spent in tents at campsites near and far (far, as in, at the tippy-top of a mountain goat-dotted glacier). The end of September felt tinged with a bit of magic—the pinnacle being an amazing visit with my parents in the PNW during its finest show-off days and then a near week of togetherness in easy-breezy Oceanside.

For a long stretch there, work felt really steady (and almost too flowing at times), and the Seattle sun consistently blazed down on us as she’s known to do—filling our souls and Vitamin D reserves to the brim. (We have to store up, ya know; that’s just how life here works.) At one point, I felt highly over-traveled, and then grateful to regain my footing during several stationary weeks at home. I’ve gotten so much better at saying “no,” which is a relief, and I’ve seen the empowerment that comes from turning down gigs, trips and invites, simply because that’s the direction my gut tends to lean.

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Recently, a slowing of assignments has me feeling a little nervous, though admittedly not nearly as panicked as I would’ve felt once upon a time. This ain’t my first freelance-work-lull rodeo, after all. And I know for certain that waiting, patience and faith are the biggest challenges of this alternative lifestyle I’ve chosen—and perhaps the most important necessities, too.

This is the reality of my work situation at present: I am sending out a ton of pitches, a lot of emails, a bunch of check-ins—many of which I know will never get a response. I am used to this by now, and I *usually* don’t take it personally, but still—it can grow super old, really fast. The past couple weeks, I have done more “pro bono”-esque work than I’ve done since early CV-building days, but my reasoning is that this keeps things moving, the juices flowing, the pendulum swinging…toward tangible things that will soon “catch”—if I allow the unfolding to happen at a pace beyond my control.

Yes, I am so grateful to receive invites to dinners, receptions and press events galore, and to find super-cool surprise deliveries on my doorstep (apples! Olive leaf-tea! Gourmet pizza pies!). This is all amazing, lucky, spoiled—undoubtedly a very privileged perk to my wacky line of work. But sadly, this isn’t the type of compensation accepted by the collectors of my bills or the cashiers of my stores. (Surely these are the less glamorous glimpses into freelance life that don’t often make the social media rounds.)

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Yet despite the slowing of the season, I am well-aware that life continually presents us with periods filled with “planting” versus “blooming”… and with years (or seasons) that “ask” versus those that “answer.” I take great comfort in complementary thoughts shared by peers like the lovely Meg Fee, in her post rooting for the bamboo farmer in us all.

I am trying to follow the advice of wise gurus I respect who suggest that, at times like these, we keep on keeping on, living, giving, gifting—putting messages out into the Universe that I have enough, I am enough, there is enough.

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I can’t know for sure whether or not it’s working, but today I got a couple small assignments in, heard from an old, old travel friend and found a $5 bill on the ground just minutes after my favorite Turkish restaurateur-chef randomly presented me with a beautiful ring, just because she doesn’t “feel like selling them anymore, and not everyone appreciates their beauty.”

So I’m inclined to trust there is some truth to this approach. We must believe in abundance—of wealth, of health, of love, of whatever we seek—even when, especially when, it is something we currently cannot see.

I’m thinking it’s worth convincing ourselves: There is somehow always enough.

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Cyclical

Sometimes the ‘circle of life’ concept seems especially evident, strikingly in-the-face. During high-frequency weeks like last week—when there seemed to be so much movement—the duality seems particularly ironic. A week during which I learned that four beautiful babies were born (nearly all of them healthy) almost in the same breath that I heard that one well-loved dog had to be put down, a lifetime friend’s aunt is terminally sick and my grandfather is “ready to die” (expressed in his own tired language, some of the toughest words to ever hear from a loved one). How does this happen? How can all this goodness and sadness—these beginnings and ends—coexist, bundled up into one package?

Last week it was raining, and at times it got me down; but today I already forget that fleeting melancholy that hovered and then passed. Today the sun shines through the cafe window so powerfully and radiantly that it seems to penetrate my body, warming me (filling me) to the very core. I dream of springtime adventures, summer celebrations; I see promise and kindness. At least in this moment, I remember it’s all rooted in love.
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It comes, it goes, we fight it, we surf.  Keep on paddlin’, my friends. What a confusing but beautiful ride.

A Midsummer’s Anti-Recap

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People keep asking how my summer’s been, and I don’t quite know what to say. (First off, why the past tense, people? I ain’t saying adieu to this season just yet!)

Also, it’s been so much, a bit of it all; it’s been everything. There’s no tidy response. It started off with so much unspeakable sadness, and it will end with a bittersweet ache, too (my brother and sister-in-law move to the UK next week!).

But, man, in between, there’s been so much goodness. Life is so full, so multi-layered, so surprising, so rich. I pinch myself sometimes—the deep-rooted connections I’ve made, the beautiful music I get to hear, the waters I get to frequent, the fiery sunsets I get to drink in. These days, I’m just really sitting back and taking it allllll in.

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“There are no simple answers in life. There is a good and bad in everyone and everything. No decision is made without consequence. No road is taken that doesn’t lead to another. What’s important is that those roads always be kept open, for there’s no telling what wonder they might lead to.”~D.J. MacHale

Ducks, Groundhog Day, Seattle Summer

If I could count the number of times I’ve been working on this patio as the amphibious Ride the Ducks-mobile drives by, silly quackers and hat-wearing driver and all…And I want so badly to be annoyed at the ridiculous, loud cheesiness of it all. And yet when I look up, those vacationing tourists onboard look so darn carefree and smiley (well the majority of them anyway), that I often can’t help but smirk-smile, too.

As they wait at the light in front of the statue People Waiting for the Interurban (a neighborhood fixture that locals like to dress up for holidays and birthdays and graduations and the like), the tourguide driver, like clockwork, pumps up the tunes:

“Ooga-chakka-ooga-chaka, I can’t stop this feeling…deep inside of me….”

It’s a bit like Groundhog Day, to be honest.

Ahhhh, Seattle summer, please stick around awhile longer. You are so breathtakingly beautiful, frenetic, busy, ADD, tranquil and magical—all at once.

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Bridge diver

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Roll on, November! (Already, how?)

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Halloween’s come & gone:

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The leaves continue to fall and soon will all be gone:

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Rolling into a new season, here we go….

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“When chill November’s surly blast make fields and forest bare.”
~Robert Burns

Denial (& a Brett Dennen mood-lifter)

I am in denial that summer’s over. I mean, it’s not officially over, but it sure feels like it at present. It was such an amazing summer, and I’m not at all ready to let go. I love fall, but not just yet….please….

Labor Day has passed, there has been cold, dreary rain falling outside my parents’ house since last night, and today everyone I know seems to be mourning the end of the season.

This song kind of became the anthem of my 2011 summer, and it makes me really, really happy. So this evening I am cranking it up (on repeat) to lift my post-wedding-awesome-reunion-weekend-with-most-of-my-favorite-people-on-the-planet blues. It makes me think of cruising in Meghann’s car under the piercing blue Colorado sky, the gorgeous peaks of Boulder coming into view like a surreal mural.

The sun will come back out again, so I’m not saying bye to summer just yet. Besides, the chance to cozy up inside is a bit of a relief after a big weekend anyway (right?). I’m going to keep telling myself that until I fully believe it…:)

What gets you excited about autumn? I, for one, love:

*sitting in a cozy cafe with a piping hot cuppa

*stunning fall foliage

*dramatic sunsets

*candy corn, pumpkin bread, steaming bowls of soup

*holidays like Oktoberfest, Halloween, Turkey Day

*snuggly hoodies and soft sweaters with sleeves that hang just a wee bit too long