How is it where you are? Here, it’s the height of spring and positively glorious.
I don’t think it’s possible to hear all the birdsong in the mornings and feel even a tiny bit grumpy or sad. The sheer exuberance of their calls and conversations is contagious. Add to that the sight of new flowers popping up each day, the huge bumblebees bonzai-bombing about, and the fresh green of new leaves everywhere and it’s a potent dose of happy. What a gift after the long dark, cold, and sleepiness of winter.
Oh, and the big news around here? I’m going to the Mountain! Yep, we got word that our request for employee couple’s housing was approved for this summer at Mt Rainier National Park. Woohoo! This means I’ll be spending the summer up at the Mountain with superhubby while he does his annual stint as a summer interpretive ranger. Now that we know it’s a go for me to join him, we’re deep into visioning and planning the details. And oh yes, time devoted to creating, exploring, and soaking in all that glorious mountain magic will be in the mix. The cool thing is that we’ll be staying in a different part of the park than he has in past years, so it gives us lots of new trails and areas to explore at our leisure.
I’m so excited I’m surprised I’m sleeping at all. And oh yes, you can expect field reports from the mythic wilds of the forests, rivers, wildflower meadows, and waterfalls in and around the Mountain this summer. I have a fun creative project for sharing those updates with you that I’m scheming and plotting about. Happy sigh.
There’s lots to share with you in this issue, so I’ll just leave you with that little teaser for now for what’s to come this summer.
Yours in wild wonder and creative magic,
On Deck This Week
- What’s on deck this week? Goodness, make that the past few weeks.I’ve been as industrious as those bonzai bumble bees outside. That’s why there’s been a few week hiatus in my Field Notes dispatches. Let’s see…I got everything backstage ready and registration open for both the Spring Session of Seasons of Wonder (starts June 1st) AND Softly Wild (starts June 3rd). Normally I don’t run multiple courses at the same time, but Seasons of Wonder runs all year long in back-to-back seasonal sessions, so there’s no avoiding it this year. Especially since I have some favorite courses I want to offer again and some new things in development. So, there you go. You have multiple options for what kind of adventure you’d like to embark upon in June.Oh, and I also have been craving some one-on-one time in creative conspiring with you, so I also got all the backstage bits set up to offer single Sparks Sessions this month (more on that in a bit). Can you tell I’m feeling better?
- Watching: Buffy. When superhubby and I were newly married just shy of eight years ago, we shared two of our favorite tv series with each other (so we’d have a richer nerdy vague-reference dictionary in common). I shared the quirky delights of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with him (and Angel, too). Superhubby, in turn, shared Dr. Who with me (bless the man). It’s been almost eight years since then and I found myself suddenly running a Buffy deficit, so we’re diving back in and watching Buffy from the beginning. And so it begins…again. (I preemptively apologize for any future overuse of Buffy references in these dispatches.)
- Fabulous recent read: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. This one has been heartily recommended by many of the women in our community. I’ll admit a bit sheepishly that it took a few chapters for me to warm up to it once I started reading it. Perhaps it was because winter plays such a prominent role in the story and my spirit was leaning into spring and the warmer days to come? Not sure. But suddenly the story turned a corner and I became completely engrossed. It is an enchanting, powerful, and heart-warming read. Such a great female protagonist and rich storytelling. There are two more books in the trilogy that I’m happily anticipating. Yes, Jessica, you were so right. I loved this book!Reading now: How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. Holy moly, what a book. I’m only a couple chapters in and am seriously impressed. Inspiration and clarity galore. It’s no wonder it’s getting so many early glowing reviews that have been lighting up my inbox the past two weeks. Oh, and on that note, check out “More Search, Less Feed” on Austin Kleon’s blog. Yep, that. I admit that very little that truly inspires me or I find meaningful simply flows willy nilly through my social-media feeds. The great majority I find by targeted searching and research on something I’m interested in or of some intriguing mention of a person’s work in a completely different context. All of which often leads down a few rabbit holes, but seldom without finding some true gold therein.
Also reading now: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (I’m not sure how I missed the Earthsea books as a teen, but suspect it may have been my obsession with all things LOTR during those years). I’m happily now immersed in the wonderful world of Earthsea. Such a delight! Big thank you huge to Podling, Rebbeca, for insisting I read it.
- Listening to (Studio Tunes): The Chris Botti Pandora station. I have it playing in the background as I write this. Pure heaven and the perfect cozy vibe.
- Listened (Audio Book): I finished The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. Hearing the brilliant narration by Simon Vance was sheer delight. While it isn’t the fuzzy Pooh voice by Jim Cummings (go HERE for a taste) that we know and love so well, I thoroughly enjoyed Simon’s performance. He truly brought the Tao of Pooh to life for me.
Softly Wild is open for registration
The Journey Begins June 3rd!
Softly Wild is a six-week journey for discovering a more soul-centered way of being and doing in your life that feels natural, creative, and nourishing. It’s a path for those who hunger for more meaning, magic, and soft wildness in their days.
Softly Wild is back! Yay! I’ve spent the past few weeks going through the class material and giving it a loving refresh (and a bit of extra sparkle). I can hardly believe that it’s been two years since I last offered it. Softly Wild is the first online course I created and serves as the foundation for everything I’ve created and offered since. With the new courses and programs I’ve offered over the past two years and the year-long Wonder Club I ran in 2018, there just wasn’t room in the schedule for everything. But I’ve been yearning to take this Softly Wild journey with you again. And so this year I made it a priority. It’s time!
Softly Wild helps you to reconnect with your inner wisdom, intuition, and the natural world around you, so you will always know where your true north lies. And that’s where the real magic and adventure begins.
When you feel those connections and can bring them to your life, all sorts of wonderful things start happening. You become more certain of who you are and what’s most important to you. You become more grounded in your own truth, body, and wisdom, and Nature’s energies and rhythms. Your creativity comes alive and wonder and joy become your traveling companions. And the next steps on your path start opening up with more ease and clarity.
You’ll find all the details about Softly Wild right over here.
A Tiny Cabinet of Wondrous Things
Here you’ll find a collection of curiosities and creative bits of magic found lurking in plain sight ~ in the physical world and in the wilds of the interwebs.
1. The “Spellbound” exhibit at the Ashmulean and the catalog. I’m drooling over this one. Thanks for pointing us to it, Pamela!
2A. If you watch nothing else this weekend, watch this. Theaster Gates and the power of restoration… and seeing (and creating) beauty right where we are, no matter the ugliness that has taken root. Deep bow to Wonder Sister, Dahlia, for sharing this video with us in Seasons of Wonder. There are no words for how powerfully this landed. Here’s a bit of Theaster’s bio from Art 21’s website:
“Theaster Gates creates sculptures with clay, tar, and renovated buildings, transforming the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for the community. Establishing a virtuous circle between fine art and social progress, Gates strips dilapidated buildings of their components, transforming those elements into sculptures that act as bonds or investments, the proceeds of which are used to finance the rehabilitation of entire city blocks.“
2B. That reminds me of a bit in an interview with Austin Kleon by Chase Jarvison CreativeLive, which also speaks to the theme of seeing beauty in a wasteland (whether it be in the context of violence in the inner city or out in the numbing homogeneity of the burbs). If you don’t have time to watch the whole interview (and it’s definitely worth a watch), just catch the part from 48:24 to 51:45 where Austin talks about finding inspiration “in the suburban wasteland” and wonder in the mundane. Similar to Theaster, he see an artist’s work as refinery…a refinery of the ugliness and waste and unappreciated around us. Transforming it into something meaningful, something good, something that feeds our souls, brings together communities, serves others, or in some way leaves the world better than we found it. Amen, Brother. Amen. (Are you starting to see why I appreciate Austin so much?)
2C. And that interview reminded me of Mary Oliver’s words:
“When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
And that makes a magical three…
3. If you’re curious about Austin Kleon’s new book, Keep Going: 10 Ways to Be Creative in Good Times and Bad (which, BTW, I highly recommend), you may enjoy this recorded talk from the Bond Conference as much as I did. There are lots of fun little asides + his quirky delivery that make it sparkle.
4. Tolkien, the movie. I mean seriously, have you seen the preview? I admit, they had me at the title, but once I saw the movie trailer I got truly excited. It opens on Friday, May 10th. I consider it an early birthday gift.
5. Enchantment Alert: Ellen Tyn on Instagram. I was introduced to Ellen’s world through Grace Nuth’s article “Woodland Wonderment: The Enchantment of Ellen Tyn” in Enchanted Living’s spring issue. Ellen lives in a cabin on the edge of the Karelian forest in Russia and her photography, art, and hand-crafted creations are nothing short of breathtaking. After reading The Bear and the Nightingale, immersing into Ellen’s gorgeous images on IG felt like stepping into a piece of that mythic Rus’ world in the modern day. Her mini bio on Instagram is perfect, too: “Designer. Crafter. Woodland creature.” The artist roll she created caught my eye in the EL article immediately. I mean, who wouldn’t want this to carry on their adventures?
6. The Wondersmith is releasing an ebook soon! Betsy (AKA, the Wondersmith) sent me an early review copy this week and I instantly fell in love with her new creation. Wowsa. After about devouring it in one gulp, I’m now slowly going through it again and savoring all the gorgeous writing, images, and inspiration she shares. I’m so happy for her (and us!), I could pop. Beautifully done, Betsy! (Oh, and she also has a wonderful new article out, “The Secret to Wild Plants” in the spring Enchanted Living magazine, too.)
7. A new book and deck by Nick Bantock? Yep, it’s true. Okay, I make no bones about what a huge fan I am of Bantock’s work. I find myself turning back to him and his work again and again as a creative touchstone. It’s not because I want to imitate him (perish the thought), but rather because of our shared fascination with old correspondence and ephemera, weathered gilt and patinas, artifacts, and the wonder in the offbeat and odd. It’s also because he inspires me to create from the unique perspective of my own view of the world, what I’m curious about, and what I collect in my imagination’s own cabinet of wonders. So imagine my delight when I saw the announcement on his Facebook page that he’s just finalized a publishing contract for a combined book and card deck on the development of archetypes. I’ve been wondering for years why he hasn’t created a deck given how well his imagery, love of oracles, and ideas about creativity, the subconscious, and the liminal would translate so beautifully to the exploratory nature of card decks And now he’s doing it. I. can’t. wait. No details yet about a publication date, but I’m on the prowl for intel.
“Tell me to what you pay attention
and I will tell you who you are.“
~ José Ortega y Gassett
Know someone who would enjoy reading this? You’ll receive my deep gratitude (and bonus house points) if you’d forward it on to them.
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