A Quiet Place: Finding Joy in Nature

“It will be hard to create a quiet place

where your children can find their souls. 

You must first quiet your own world

and then approach theirs. 

They are accustomed 

to the barrage of noise

and will complain loudly in its absence.

But you can find a quiet way. 

What can you do today?” 

– William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, Ancient Advice for Modern Parents 

Photos taken in Glacier National Park, Montana and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – July, 2017

In Search of La Dolce Vita

Like a tea bag pulled out of the hot water after a good steep, I re-enter my habitual life after a dream-like frolic with the ancient, devotional, artful aspects of Italy. I was there for a reunion with some of my oldest friends and we dipped into the world of slow food, fresh melons and prosciutto, local mozzarella, white wine and goat cheese, staying in a 400 year old ‘convento,’ which drew us together for three hour dinners under an old stone archway.

It was just my youngest son and I traveling and I got used to parenting only one. Attunement to his needs was more easeful. I could enjoy the simple gestures that inform the daily bonding of a mother and her child in a way that I can’t when I am balancing the myriad needs of all of my children combined. I could see him more clearly. It was an unexpected gift. This – combined with the luxury of finished sentences, time with old friends, delicious food, good coffee and the never-ending beauty of medieval stone towns, old cathedrals, vineyards and olive groves – was truly the good life.

Returning home to family life with fresh eyes, I immediately feel the effects of splitting my attention amongst three. The essential questions have become: how to not succumb to scatteredness? How to stay centered and remember the simple pleasures of life? And, how to cultivate ‘la dolce vita’ here at home amidst diapers, fevers, almond butter and jelly, dinner thrown on the floor and the barrage of whines? I start with slow sips, remembering to drink in each moment at home just as I did the gorgeous light of Tuscany. Then, I weave in doing something I love each day and making sure to bring the kids along, even if they resist. I remember the nourishment of just being alive: the feeling of air on skin, the beauty of sunlight on a wall, the taste of food (even if not cooked in local olive oil). In this way, we don’t have to travel far to find the sweet nectar of being alive…

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Season of Ice

“I have news for you:
The stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone
Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course
The sea running high.
Deep red the bracken; its shape is lost;
The wild goose has raised its accustomed cry,
cold has seized the birds’ wings;
season of ice, this is my news.”
– 9th Century Irish Poem

photo 4 (7)photo 2 (11)photo 2 (7)photo 4 (2)Thermopolis, Wyoming, taken earlier this week

The Source

IMG_1804IMG_1806IMG_1822IMG_1820IMG_1809Photos taken at the source of the Hot Springs near the Big Horn and Owl Creek Mountains in Thermopolis, Wyoming. The Springs have been active for some 70 million years. It was where my mother, baby and I landed for a few days of much needed quiet rest and nourishment right after Mother’s Day. It was where I reminded myself  of my own sources of wellspring and well-being: rest, a bit of solitude, a step back from routine and  habit, quiet time in the outdoors, and a moment to relish the Earth’s beauty and generosity…