Monday, October 31

the cycle of life & new forest boots

I am hopelessly romantic for the trees that once bore leaves and berries, for now they appear naked with the same amount of nakedness I have when standing without a coat. I admire them. I learn from them. I could never forget the shiny colors they wear when the weather was at its best. Trees are like people. No matter how hard you work to keep yourself from feeling naked or without the safety of pleasant things like fruit or colors, you still have to be bare sometimes. This is the cycle of life. Our hair it grows, our hair it falls out, our kneecaps develop so we can run, then time changes us and soon our kneecaps don't bend the way they used to, soon we cannot run like we want to. This is the cycle of life. The trees are green and food to the hummingbirds and ladybugs, but then they are not. You blink without choosing to, and when you open your eyes again, the view is not what you thought it was. Where there used to be home, there is a for sale sign. This is the cycle of life.

We can have names for it. We can curse it. We can wish it away, but nothing can stop time from wearing sneakers and riding runaway cars. We can sit at a window thinking of somebody, but only when we speak to them, will they know. This is the cycle of life. You wake up one morning crying because you don't want to be thirteen anymore, you feel more like twenty, you want adult responsibilities, you want to drive across the mountain highways like you read in some book and you want to drink spiked soda from a bottle. When the wind whispers into your hair, you feel alive, but then you remember how your mom used to wake you at thirteen for school, and although at the time it troubled you to rise so early and sit in a classroom, now you wish you could experience it again because of you, because of your mom, because you want nothing more than for time to take off its sneakers. This is the cycle of life. 

There used to be an old man who sat at a bar where I sang sometimes. He had wrinkles deep as sea water and although only a few words ever came out of his mouth, when he did talk, I tried my best to understand him. He sat there with a cup in hand whether the people around him were eating lunchtime sandwiches or the kitchen had closed. I often tried to imagine what he felt like before the wrinkles formed, did he dream a bright dream? Did he ever go fishing or look at the pine trees that grow outside of the city? What did he want more than anything in life? Did he ever get it? Where will I be when that much time has passed? Last I heard, he fell down a flight of stairs and nobody found him for three days. It is a sad thought, one that feels as cold as December's coldest winter. To imagine a baby being born just like me, learning to walk, talk, stick out its tongue and one day, the heart does not beat and yet the world goes on with only memories made of the living. More babies are born, more mothers are made, and we'll keep riding the train not knowing when it will stop.

This is the cycle of life.
I was recently gifted a pair of Dr Marten boots that are nothing like the other boots I wear. I'm so used to lace ups and ones that meet at my knees, but these green suede ones have me singing 'yeah yeah yeah let's go to the forest or town without having to stop to tie them up fifteen hundred times like my other boots.' They are also incredibly comfy and warm — it's a lot like walking through my own little fireplace which is needed if I am to survive a Canadian winter.

outfit details: Chicwish jacket, Union Jack shoes, topshop hat
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Wednesday, October 19

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
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Tuesday, October 11

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."

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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.

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Wednesday, October 5

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

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