5 goals for April & May

 It has been a little quieter around the blog as of late I have been busy with music happenings and trying to put my head towards windows whenever there are signs of spring. I never did do an April goals post, so here I am now with two months at once. Setting goals seems so easy when you say it. Of course I will do that, of course I can do that, but adhering to them is a whole another story. So, here, we go:
  1. Begin the garden. I am so pleased to be able to finally admit that spring is here and gardening is about to begin. I need to weed, pull out leftover plants, prep, and make the soil sweet for planting this coming season.
  2. Share my music video pitch. I entered a grant competition with a kindred spirit filmmaker here in Calgary. The idea is that you make a one minute pitch video featuring one of your songs and then your task is to campaign for votes. The ones with the most votes at the end of it all will get a monetary grant to pursue a music video. In a world where making art can be equally beautiful and terrifyingly vulnerable, I will need all the help I can get because asking for votes has a tendency to make my belly fill with butterflies (!)
  3. Dry the carnation bouquet. There it sits, by the windowsill, held up in a blue vase the color of seawater. How beautiful it could be if made to last by hanging it upside down in the dark basement. There, it will dry and then it will forever remain in our house, much like the snapdragon one in these photographs.
  4. Go to Griffith Woods. I love this space, it smells of pine and sounds of bird chatter. I want to live in a world where going here before the sun rises becomes a habit. (Google, How do I get out of bed before 7 am?)
  5. Explore more places on foot. Now that the warm weather is rising, I have plenty of reason to see the world before me without getting into an automobile. There is something to be said about traveling on foot, it has a tendency to make you notice little things in a poetic appreciative sort - of - way.
How are you?
Tell me of your dreams, your goals, your plans, your curiosities

6 reasons for leaving your house

Today, let there be throats singing and minds twirling at the promise of springtime in the woodland. I, a natural homebody, have learned over time that I need both here and there in equal measure before I can say I feel good enough. Sometimes, I forget it because I am so used to longing for home when I am not home and then when I am here, I wonder how much better I might feel if I were there. A conundrum of the city dweller and prairie minded woman, I suppose.

I used to stay home every night, never leaving my own cocoon of safety, sacrificing friendships and time spent exploring so I could be by myself. I thought it was near impossible to bring this inner world into the outer world and so I feared it. I spent hours in my room, making messes, feeling warm in the cheek as I laughed at my own jokes and invented my own wellspring of fun. I did not need anybody else, for anybody else could mean expectations and expectations were dangerous for the creative spirit, or so I thought. It took two hands and one banjo for me to realize that leaving home could mean the difference between an echo and a song. If I wanted to sing and reach from the grave that is loneliness, I needed a place to do so and that place couldn't only be where pillows lie or dresses hang in closets. 

When I started leaving here for there, I realized just how much a human can take of breaking free from the starting point you cling onto because it seems easy. I will always be a homebody at heart, a delicate way of being inherited from my mother — but leaving showed me how far I could stretch to taste this life and at the end of each day, places are always made sweeter when it's not the only place you visit, a person always made wiser by doing what they think they cannot do.

From one homebody to another, here are 6 reasons why leaving your house can be a good thing.

  • You never know who you're going to meet. Yes — people can drain your energy reserves and make you want to put on running shoes and head for the hills, but they can also teach you, love you, and add birdseed and flowers to the unknown road that is life.
  • Leaving home doesn't have to be forever and life doesn't have to be measured by homebody vs those who appear shinier when around others. Know your own limits and stretch it ever so slightly so you can enjoy the best of each world.
  • Take a break from our own minds. Go to a coffee shop by yourself and eat a dessert, listen to the faintest sound of chatter, see how people are moving about, put your phone away and sit in that moment.
  • Inspiration can come from anywhere. If you are always occupying the same spaces, you are likely to have the same thoughts, exploring somewhere new can bring you all sorts of untouched ways of seeing the world. 
  • Adventure — whether in the woods or in the city, whether scenery or people, stepping outside of your comfort zone can kick start your heart and who knows what will grow from it.
  • You can always go home. Don't let anybody tell you that once you are out, you have to stay out. If you aren't having any fun, if anxiety is rising, or if you just cannot wait to hold the next chapter of a book or a film in your knuckles, go home. You tried. There will be other times and friends worth having will allow you to be you. 

To further prove how much I cling to home is to tell you how much trouble I ran into coming up with this list. If it weren't in argument of leaving home but instead for staying, it would probably come to 100 reasons or so. Now, I'm off to put the kettle on because home is where I'll be today.

Let me know your own reasons for going or staying in the comments - I am curious!

outfit details: thrifted value village blouse, montana tack store lace up boots, indigo chapters music notebook, shade of a bonsai constellation/zodiac brooch

a trip to the garden center

The garden center — known to me as the gardeners' version of a swimming pool or a lemonade stand. It is here where I could spend hours being pulled in by every petal and plant, as if my eyes only exist for the light of pretty things that grow towards the sun. Here, a blue print for happiness. Here, an understanding that rises in my mind of how to go on living without so much worry. As I run from flower to flower, I have no thoughts that my life could be written in lowercase letters, instead, I feel as though the very point of why I am here is this. I do not know what it is about my annual goal of planning the garden, sowing the seeds, and spending the rest of what I hope to be snow-less days tending to them, but I feel like all has been mended when I do.

As I am writing to you, the seasonal blues appear to have lifted, and so I have jumped from that thin trapeze directed by winter and onto a trampoline where dandelions and songs can sprout from. Time is strange and fleeting  — I hope as I grow older I can learn the way of not wishing days to pass just so I can be closer to daylight in the garden. A day is a day and so many fine things can be found there.

For previous visits to the garden center, you can look here and here.

outfit details: emily and fin dress, free people boots, thrifted beret and blouse
location ✈ Sunnyside Garden

my life in photographs

I often dream of having a giant field where I am free to garden and play my banjo. Here, there is a home where the snow never shows uninvited and the kitchen stove is always brewing something for the bellies of anyone who lives or visits. I grow snapdragons in every color, they live like they're beanstalks and ladders, beginning as baby seeds in earth and stretching well above my head, even on my tallest day. The garden grows wide with so many flowers, if one is pulled by wind or weather, I don't feel like I am losing much. When all has been tended to and the dusk draws near, I find my chair that looks out into the country and I let my banjo ring. This is my often dream, and often dream of it, I do.
I'd rather be growing snapdragons in the yard and watching the bees.

This is how to leave your head or the winter or the nagging that comes on Mondays. Decorating my house with flowers and knowing there is a certain kind of satisfaction in doing these things I want to do, instead of just thinking of them and spending my days begrudging the energy required to do so. Tiny victories, that is all I am after today.

I do not know how I survived a bad day or a bruised self before I played guitar. It is in these strings where I begin again and again and again. This is our gretsch resonator, the guitar which plays best wearing a slide and used as a tool for letting your worries slide along with it. I could have found other ways to spend my time, but playing this silver stringed machine in open D makes me feel like it's a good thing life came to be the way it did.
I have been counting down the hours, the minutes, the seconds until the first sign of spring arrives. Seems to be the only poems or stories I write in the winter appear like I have no mind and only half get written, none are finished, but when the birds begin to sing again, when the day drops light onto the skin, when the berries break through the bough and the dirt of a broken garden begins to show, I know I am seeing through my own eyes again, instead of the rust colored specs of what was a gloomy winter. 
We had two kittens visiting us, one with grey lines like a wild cat and one wearing what looked like a black mask. Their fur was soft like only a newborn knows softness and their heartbeats sounded like a tiny orchestra. I watched them skirt across the carpet and climb onto high couches as their tails curved and swayed. They clawed at my hair as I knelt to get closer. They made what was routinely known as a dog person laugh and grow with joy and surrender to their sweetness. Imagine a ladder and escaping out of a grey day just by holding a kitten in your arms. 

Do not let these photographs mislead you - we are still waiting for the clouds to part so we can remember what it was like to have the sun on our side. We do what we can by living in a house plenty with dried flowers and cuttings from last year's garden. I title these 'my life in photographs' and I'm not entirely sure why, considering, they only reveal parts of my life, not the whole, but I cannot imagine anybody preferring to see me in my pajamas to a bouquet of bright flowers!

How has your life been lately? Tell me, what is on your mind?

Dreams and Embroidered Jeans

I would have liked for this morning to begin with a strong mug of coffee held between my hands and somebody to listen to me as I talked about the dreams I had last night. Instead, I am sitting alone in a slightly bright mood that waxes and wanes with the weather. In black ink, I write out the dreams and as I do, they begin to make even less sense and then I wonder how strange I must be to have dreams such as these. There were talking gorillas, an endless supply of watermelon growing on trees, somebody telling me the sun was on its way out, an uncle whom I haven't seen recently telling me not to be so hard on myself, cats the size of city buildings, music notes where pillows used to sit and potatoes growing where the snapdragons used to rise. When I opened my eyes this morning, I felt different than I felt when I closed them. Have you ever had that? A dream that takes off running and when it is over, if it is ever really over, you walk down the hall towards the coffee maker feeling like a new person, wondering where that old person went, all because of a dream you had as the moon stood bright.

I have never been somebody who believed dreams had a hidden meaning, most of my dreams are puzzle pieces where every edge has the same jagged shape. They don't fit together, they just exist. I am far more curious about the leftover feeling, when it stays with you, when you have already woken and yet what you felt or seen or heard lingers on. I sit here, hours later, feeling like there is something in me that wants to begin again, like roses do even after the harshest of winters, so I trade the usual dresses for denim and I walk into the usual woods where dreams of what could be have suddenly returned to me. After months of lacking any paint on the paintbrush so to speak, it is a welcome feeling this feeling of being able to dream again.

Hello comes the prospect of sunflower seeds, goodbye goes the dreariness of a month ago. 

outfit details: american eagle jacket, thrifted blouse, topshop at hudson's bay embroidered jeans, asos butterfly necktie