October 3, 2017 @ 5:12 pm | Filed under:

I’m starting to feel better, for real. For the first time in weeks, I felt up to a nature walk with Huck and Rilla. Sure, we only went around the block, but after weeks of radiation fatigue, that felt like a really big deal. We wanted to see if the giant conifers at the end of our block are Douglas firs. They aren’t! But we found one in a neighbor’s yard one block over. And then another, and another. The cones are quite distinctive, with little upward-pointing bracts between the scales. Our pinecone collection is growing. Big excitement for my SoCal chaparral kids.

In one of the firs, we spotted a Northern flicker directly overhead. We watched him until our necks ached, then hurried home because Rilla needed to paint him before she burst. We know flickers pretty well through my parents, who have a nesting box with webcam in their backyard. Wee ugly baby birds every spring—very cool. So it was extra exciting to encounter one in our new neighborhood.

Northern flicker by Rilla

These days I find I dread opening tabs in the morning. The news has been unremittingly awful for so long. I’ve fallen quiet on most of the platforms I used to be chatty on. Facebook and Twitter have become outlets for activism (which annoys some friends, but I can’t help it; I can’t not try). Only on Instagram do I shut all of that out. I worry, sometimes, about sharing happy and peaceful photos over there, or here, when there are so many horrors unfolding everywhere. But I need it, I need that space for celebrating the good. And since Instagram is a stream platform where the feed, hosted and controlled by another entity, scrolls away and could disappear altogether some day, as platforms do, I’m compelled to bring those memories over here too, where I can keep them safe. Thus the repost of the thoughts above, which I shared on IG yesterday.

I find I’m using IG Stories more often, too, to show quick glimpses of our day-in-progress. I got a sweet note from a reader yesterday who mentioned that she appreciated the window into our homeschooling days. I know how she feels; I love those peeks into other households. IG Stories disappear after 24 hours, and although my online urge is always toward preservation and archiving, I like the transitory nature of those photo and video snippets. It feels like sharing just enough, not too much.

I started this post this morning, and now it’s dinnertime and I’ve forgotten where I was going with it. Ah, well. Back to the salt mines. (Rilla got curious about that phrase yesterday and we spent twenty minutes watching videos about actual salt mines. Because of course we did!)

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Penny says:

    That *is* a big deal! I am so glad you are feeling better!!

    I agree about the newsfeed and tabs. I am just about ready to chuck the internet (except for e-mail, obviously, can’t live in the now without that) for a good long while. Maybe I’ll go find my Esther Averill books and spend some time with Jenny, and maybe Milly-Molly-Mandy as well, in their worlds where problems are solved peacefully and friendship rules.

    I can’t believe how grown-up Rilla and Huck look – and THAT SWEATER WITH THE OWL. Gorgeous!


  2. tee+d says:

    I am well impressed with that flicker! I’ve just found a sweet black phoebe which sings on my back fence at me as I make my tea in the morning, and realize I need to get yet another birding book… you switch areas within this state, and suddenly you’re like, “wait, what the heck is that!?”

    Liss, the news cycle has been so unrelenting that your space of quiet joy is NECESSARY, now more than ever. I’m not on instagram or FB, but even bits of beauty you bring back here for safekeeping help to make things better. Also, your children look like they model for Gap in their off moments. All of you are so pretty! And you just come out of the box like that? Amazing!

    It is glorious that you were up to a walk around the block. Go, YOU!

  3. monica says:

    NEED to know where you got that calendar. I WANT ONE!!!!

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      I got it for 20% off at Papersource. It’s on Amazon Prime but full price: http://amzn.to/2fRMtwy (affiliate link)

      It’s Aug 2017-Dec 2018. I thought about taking it apart and papering my studio wall with it, but turns out it’s double-sided so you can only do that with every other month!

      • Beth says:

        I used to make calendar wall hangings of my favorite ones — pull the months apart and attach them so the pictures cover up the days. And then every now and again you flip and turn and you are looking at the other 6 months. If I remember right there is usually the cover on the outside that you keep and attach with paperclips to cover the days on the bottom, so it’s always in view.

        I’m glad your energy is coming back so you can pick up more dropped strands. Take care!

  4. Penelope says:

    I love that photo of the kids — oh! They were *just* babies weren’t they?!! …sigh…

    I don’t have IG and don’t know what Stories are … I keep thinking i’ll get an IG account mainly to post comments as so very many of my long time favorite online people seem to almost post more on IG than their blogs these days (coletely their choice of course!), and so often i’ll have something to say but can’t …

    Hugs and prayers and hooray for walks around the block and lovely moments captured in words and pictures. That gate! Love. xoxox

  5. sarah says:

    I’m so glad your recovery continues apace. Beautiful bird! And I agree with Penelope – surely those two were babies just the other day? I also agree with you about social media. I have a lot of online acquaintances who advocate only posting happiness and light to uplift other people, and who disapprove of political posts. But it’s impossible for me to stay silent in the face of such dreadful happenings, and I have a suspicion, deep in my heart, that focussing *only* on the positive, and not speaking about evil, contributes towards evil gaining more power.