On roses, by any other name

Hi there friends, it’s me. Hoping you are doing very well. I just re-read something I wrote one time. It was so many words and while I liked what it said, at heart, it also felt a little bit like blah, blah, blah. I don’t want to write fancy. I want to try to understand…something. And writing is a way to sit here and place one thought, in a loosely focused way, next to another and see what happens. What road will it lead down? What will I learn if I’m mostly still, except for my little tapping fingers, and plumb the depths (or what often these days feels like the shallows)?

So, hello again. What happened to that writing streak of mine from the spring? Dave went away, which threw my rhythm a bit, and then he came back from a trip abroad bearing COVID. That was back in the old days when the kids had to stay home from school for a week if someone in the house had COVID. I think now they just ask you to pack extra tissues and not lick anything in crowded theatres, but this was 6 months ago. So he had COVID and we locked him outside on the deck (it mostly didn’t rain that week) and the kids thought it was the best time of their lives because in desperation I sequestered them into their bedrooms with electronic devices. Maggie’s class had a big camping trip coming up and I didn’t want her to have to miss it. No one else caught it, so that was cool. Then what happened? A lot of life. People getting sick. People having emotions. People using chocolate while having/avoiding their own emotions and/or witnessing and not immediately trying to “fix” the sometimes challenging emotions of others. People traveling to the UK. People traveling to France (!) People starting new jobs. People starting middle school (!!!) Inflation. Cheese.

I’m writing today for multiple reasons. Maybe the best way to begin is with a new header.

I have missed this

And by “this” I mean how much fun I was having back in the spring with creatively using headers in blog posts.

I’m not starting something new or making any promises

I have already started a thing. It’s called The Hearthling and I’m going to be publishing on Substack rather than via my own website. What does this mean for you, dear reader? It means I’m going to subscribe my whole mailing list automatically to receive The Hearthling. If you are reading this as a result of opening an email that was sent to you automatically, you will be subscribed to The Hearthling. So if you get something called The Hearthling in your inbox, it’s from me. It’s a little different from these notes, and if it isn’t your cup of tea, I still love you. I’m looking for something — out loud — and maybe you will be curious to come with me. You are cordially invited.

Now I have to leave to pick Sam up from school

But not Maggie because she is playing basketball on the JV team.

I’m home again but about to leave to pick up dinner. We’re having barbecue because Dave is out of town.

I hope to see you over at The Hearthling soon. I will start by sending the first three posts that I wrote in the spring so that the complete archive is available at Substack. After that, new posts may come every two weeks. I took a new job, starting in August, ostensibly to be able to afford to give myself a little bit of time each week to write. I’m not sure it will work out that way but the job is very interesting.

What about the ideas? Didn’t you sit down here at the computer because there are two specific topics that you have been thinking about writing about for six months?

The first I’ve mentioned briefly already: “Secret?” replied Llonio. “Have you not already guessed? Why, my luck’s no greater than yours or any man’s. You need only sharpen your eyes to see your luck when it comes, and sharpen your wits to use what falls into your hands.”

My pot of salt, the one that sits next to my stove, was running low. I will need to procure some salt, I thought. I am running out of salt. I need to buy more salt. The way to solve this problem is to write ‘salt’ on a list, drive to the store, collect the salt of my choice in the usual box or bag, etcetera. Llonio had other ideas: There is salt in the pot today. Enough salt. What might life do next?

Let’s say this was a Monday.

My neighbor was moving. Not the wood elf who chopped the logs but from the house on the other side (this neighbor also happens to be the mother of the elf). Seeing her in her front yard, she asked if I wanted to take a peek at the large quantity of things she would not be brining to her new home. Maybe there was something I might like or need. This was on Tuesday, the day after low-salt Monday. I know you have already guessed what happened next. It was salt. Jars of salt. Coarse sea salt, fine salt, flavored salt. So much salt. I am still flush with the salt left from that bonanza. So we’ll consider Llonio in an upcoming Hearthling.

And then I want to think about trees and their names. To ask if knowing the species to which a tree belongs is the best way to get to know one better. If the way to build a relationship with something is to figure out the boxes it belongs in or maybe to pay attention. To notice the spaces you share and anything you have in common. To become curious on a somewhat regular basis.

I hope you are enjoying the change of the season. There is so much change happening in the world right now. And so much goodness and beauty. Lots and lots and lots of people caring for one another and for other creatures. Like you. Lots of new ideas and transformations. I hope you are noticing little things, like the email from your dentist that they are no longer giving bags of ocean trash to every patient at the end of each visit. So much good we can support. So much beauty we can notice. So much healing we can nourish.

Take care,


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