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the woods in October

When you step into the woods and the month is October, you can be sure a ghostly and surreal mood will climb up your spine. I treasure the feeling. It reminds me that I was born. I carry a thermos filled to the brim with hot chocolate and I sit where the steam rises and tiny clouds of breath appear as I mumble words to myself. For a moment, I am the only human being left in this world until a joggers footsteps appear in the slushy snow. They say hello. I say hello. Everything is how it should be. I am not thinking about tomorrow or the summers passing - I can only see fog and the delight that comes with absolute solitude. I want to stay here for awhile, not because I have nowhere else to be, but because it is important for a lover of the woods to stay where trees are tall and the fog is hanging low. If I rush and run home to a world of buzzing and lit screens, I will have failed myself and a bad mood might follow. It is better for me stay put - listening for the cooing owl or the pheasant rustling through the brush - to feel the chill of October air on my cheeks is to be born again.

Music has been everywhere as of late. Over the weekend, I played a festival and it caused me to grin ear to ear. I got a standing ovation after playing a full set of my songs -- as it happened, I felt like I could have broken down crying. Never in my life did I anticipate a stranger could stand up for me and applaud to the air, almost as if they were saying "don't ever stop." If you're an artist yourself, you know the quiet battle that we tread on. We constantly ricochet between yes and no, good and bad, right place and wrong place, all in one day. We love what we do, but mostly, we need to do what we do. It is our food, our breath, and our livelihood. There are days where I want to lay the banjo in a case and stay in bed. There are shows where I return home feeling defeated, but for every moment of cursing the stars for being who we are, there are moments like these and they remind us of something so easily lost in the hullabaloo of life. Art matters. It keeps our insides from dying or being hooked up to a machine. Nothing should stop us from creating and being strange in our pursuits. If I can do it, this is a call to an art maker's arms and it says "don't ever stop."

 I have only a few moments in a day where I can be quiet in the woods. It fills me with the right kind of joy and understanding. I return home as one who found a compass leading to the meaning of life would. I remain strange and my life is greater because of it.

outfit details: american eagle jacket, free people turtleneck sweater, oasap skirt, montana boots

Tofino, British Columbia. the seaside

I wanted to write this post sooner — but I have been busy like a bird feeder in the middle of spring. There is no telling when the days will come to a pause and I will return to the normal speed in which life travels on, but for now, I am allowing the time to go as it pleases while I occupy my head with places to go and my feet with places to be. Every hour, there is music that is joyous and pure but I wouldn't mind a day where I can drift from bubble bath to bed and back again.

I want to put the kettle on, chew a marshmallow and lazily wander around the house knowing tomorrow is free and the day after, but with busyness comes adventure and with adventure comes a racing heart that says "you are alive."


These photographs were taken during our trip to Vancouver Island. It began as a warm day with a hint of wind, a most beautiful time to be traveling by the sea. Tofino, British Columbia was two hours from where we slept so we rose early, let the steam of a hot coffee say good morning to our senses and made sure the only thing left behind was any aches or quarrels we once had. After all, the road and sea both have their own way of saying 'let it go...let it be..' The road to Tofino was being fed by rain and unless you have stood in the old growth forest while this happens, describing to you the scent of earth rising would be like telling you the ending of a book. It is something worth experiencing for yourself — and I hope, whoever reads this, already knows or will come to know the feeling of rain reaching moss and 200 year old trees. I wish it was in me to know how to transport you there, but then if I could, I'd never be home.

We all have our places the ones we visit by memory when the day gets dark. Tofino has become that place for me. This was my first time seeing the jagged island being both caressed and slammed against the seawater. The beach waves rolling into me and the surfers in the distance being swept by the wind. I couldn't believe the absolute ruggedness that was here on this coast, it felt prehistoric, like humans had no place being there and yet there they were. The sun came out as we walked the sand and a warm shade of air lifted the spirits of all who felt it.

After standing by the sea in marvel and awe, we walked into the town site where little bright houses lined the streets and fishermen bring their daily catch to the myriad of restaurants. I wouldn't want to be here in a storm, but any other time, this would be the dream I wouldn't dare try to wake from. It was time travel at its best.

Tofino, bring me to you again.


qualicum beach. the seaside

 The radio plays a slide guitar song. The grit is gone. They took the bends out of each note and replaced teeth with cherry bubble gum. I prefer the early kind of music, the one that is primitive and natural like taking a breath. I'm not saying there is a call to arms when listening to music that isn't this way — I just happen to long for the groans, the aches and the belly butterflies that occur when hearing imperfections scratch and claw at the heartbeat that is folk or rural music. I want to feel the mountains and sea in my step even when I cannot look to a window and see them standing there. It was in this spirit, I took to walking across the pebbles and seashells of Qualicum Beach. I was here to listen to sea waves roll in and out like a song telling me that the world had hardship, but it also had hands to hold, the world had shadow, but it also had sunlight.

Here I am, walking with my yellow rain boots across the sand. I don't remember every thought I had as I chased my dogs into the water. I only remember how it felt, which is usually a trustworthy guide for how good a time was. The conversations blur, the surrounding noise blends, the tastes are forgotten, but the feeling remains and if you're anything like me, your greatest burden will be your desperate need to find ways to return to these memories, to make them new, even when the trip has ended and suitcases have returned to their rightful place below the stairs. It puzzles me how I could ever use the word boring to describe a day when the world has seas, mountains and people in it. I imagine it's because these joyous things aren't always within my reach.
When night fell, I watched the stars with C and my dad. Although it shook me in ways only a night sky could, I felt humbled and stood in merriment knowing I was still my crooked little self, and it was okay for me to be this crooked little self, because life is a short gravel road and we're always running out of sand. The tide goes in, the tide goes out, and there will be a time when the tide goes out for the very last time, so how could I bare living if I rose every day to a mirror that said "you should hate yourself." The stars looked at me, I looked at them, planes dropped flares in the shimmery distance, lighthouses told boats which way they must travel, it was like watching an old movie, but the movie was my life and the sea rode on beside it. 

Nostalgia sets in.

I don't want to lose the magic that sits on my retinas when I look at my loved ones or with sights such as these. I could never grow tired of seagulls and kingfishers dropping shells from the sky for their supper or playing "I spy the seal in the water." When I am standing here, I learn to forget my troubles because they are not what makes the waves roll in and out. I am who I am and I'll be damned if that's not worthy of some joy. After all, why does the sun still rise after bouts of crying? Why does the sea make our hair curl? Why does the moon spook us as it glistens on the water? Why is it that we're here and not there? We don't always have the answers and it has taken me plenty of trying and heartache to realize that we don't always need them either. Some things in life just are. I'm looking at you, mirror. I'm looking at you, heartbeat and hometown. 

I needed this trip, I think we all do.  I don't know how healthy it is to stay cooped up in the home and forget the natural world is out there, waiting for us to listen to it. I learn a lot when I change my surroundings, even if it is for only a week. I ate fish tacos and oysters as the sun set on the water, I stood next to my favorite people and watched their eyes squint and reflect the joy that comes with being ocean people who are ocean bound. Here's to you, seaside. May I always remember the way you remove the word boring from my vocabulary and replace it with fortunate.

outfit details: winners dress, free people socks


home from the road

We walked over tree roots and fallen leaves, we stood beside the sound of waterfalls and silent creek beds. I watched pebbles roll down from the cliff side and I made sure not to trip as the fall would be long and not worth the trouble. I survived again and I will see my hair grow longer and my heart grow deeper as nature encourages this kind of resolution. I will see more days. I am here. I will listen to nature's endless symphony, which you can hear no matter where you are standing. I will cry. I will laugh. I will have moments of cursing the air for not making me feel like I belong and I will have moments where a grin forms with the knowledge that I do belong. An otter here, a seal there, barking dogs, waves chanting at the moonlight, you, I, everything. It is such a pleasure to be alive today. And if I die tomorrow, tell the world I lived. I lived. I lived & I lived some more as the blue sea sings its song for those who want to hear it. 

It rained all through the night but the sun has returned for early morning how are you's. I laid in my bed as the soft sound pitter pattered against the grain of the roof and it felt like I was being rocked to sleep in a cradle. Something about the sea makes me feel less worried, less closed, less concerned about the way earth can feel at the bottom of my feet. I simply exist. And sometimes, that is all we can hope to gain in a day, the knowing of how we are existing, living and pumping blood through our roots. I don't have ego here. I don't have riddles running through the brain. I have nothing to solve. I have nowhere to be. The sea calls to me like a friend to say "This is it. This is it. You are here. Glad to have you."

The morning view from the porch where we stayed.

Frozen yogurt by the sea, no place else I'd rather be.

The mountainside in Alberta - on our way to beautiful British Columbia.

We returned home safely after a week on the road and by the sea. I have so many photographs and stories to share with you, but for now, I'll leave you with a few snippets of our days spent traveling to Vancouver Island and visiting the sea like it was where we were born, the truest home for us, the place where our troubles attach to balloon strings and float away into the sky.

I'll be seeing you soon.


and then there was autumn.

Tomorrow, we leave for the sea. You can't be blue as a berry when a road trip is ahead of you. I can almost feel the sea waves tangling my hair and the early morning rising with an extra spring in my step. I know it will be beautiful, especially at this time of year. There will be trees dressed in fox-like colors and their leaves will look electric as if tiny soft televisions are falling from the sky. I won't have any need to gulp my coffee as if it were water and I was thirsty. No, instead, I will drink slowly as I wander by beaches and beach glass and sea birds flying high.

And then there was Autumn and it invited the sea,
my favorite place to be.

If you'd like to follow along on my adventure, visit my instagram.

outfit details: winners sweater, topshop hat, montana tackstore boots