Spring into Winter

November 4, 2014 § 6 Comments

Yes, the trees are now mostly bare and the ground is covered in dried browned leaves. But if you look closer, color still clings. The reds, oranges, yellows, and greens drained into more subtle mauves, salmons, goldenrods, and sea greens, hinting that spring is upon us rather than the onset of winter.

Leaves, Vines, and a Pink Grill

October 28, 2014 § 2 Comments

Random photographs from an afternoon walk:

Carpets, Canopies, and Side Glances

October 23, 2014 § 2 Comments

Leaves still hang like canopies from trees and creep along walls and fences. But many are falling en masse, carpeting yards, roads, and sidewalks in crunchy, vibrant color.

To Hamline and Back Again

October 21, 2014 § 3 Comments

Hamline University is a small private college in St. Paul where I earned my undergraduate degree and spent my formative years trying to shake my shyness and become something more than the sweet, smart, quiet girl I was in high school.

The shyness eventually fell away but I didn’t quite figure out the “something more” in those early years. I rarely knew where I was headed, and I didn’t feel comfortable with the choices I was making. I considered pre-med but suffered through organic chemistry. Eventually I hid behind an English major, but wasn’t quite sure how I arrived at that decision. I loved and did well in English, but never thought I was particularly good at critical thinking or creative writing, although I knew I had a strange and clever imagination that held stories waiting to be told.

In school and for many years afterward, I never called myself a writer and never thought I was particularly good at the craft other than the basics like grammar and structure and fact documentation. I was sure my career would never evolve beyond business or technical writing.

And so far it hasn’t. I earn my living writing speeches or presentations or articles or white papers or process documents about complicated financial products or hotel customer service or truck hydraulic systems. I like it. I’m good at it. But the desire to write without barriers, for those who appreciate a good story, hasn’t abated.

Approximately 10 years after graduation, I stumbled upon The Loft, nestled on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and one of the best writing centers in the country, and I’ve continued taking classes there for nearly 15 years. Earlier today I finished a fantastic and challenging class on flash fiction, a genre that fits my weird imagination, condensing all my wild thoughts down into small, mysterious, funny, sad, succinct narratives. For days I fretted over the last story I wrote for class, but my instructor’s and classmates’ responses and comments allowed me to linger in that “maybe I am a writer” space for a few fleeting hours.

Hours that found me back at Hamline where all those dreams of one day calling myself a writer but never believing it began. I returned to my old college library this afternoon, a place where I’d spent many a day and night fretting about chemistry formulas and philosophies while trying to craft papers on symbolism in Toni Morrison’s fiction.

Every so often I’d find myself peeking out the third-floor window, gazing across campus to my old dorm and watching the current students passing underneath, wishing I had the chance to start over again with the knowledge and confidence I possess now but lacked 25 years ago.

But then again, why go there? What is life (and, for that matter, what is a story) without struggle and indecision and despair and doubt, especially in those early years? I guess that’s what the journey is all about. If everything was crystal clear that early in life, we’d stop searching and growing and coming back to where it all started, looking to see how far we’ve come.

So I’ll continue to go back to The Loft and Hamline and other places that remind me of where I’ve come from but that continue to give me hope that I’m headed in the right direction. And with each visit, I’ll try not to look back with anything other than gratitude, for there’s much to celebrate since those tentative, thrilling, confusing, exhilarating college days. And why would I want to miss out on the present and future my experiences at these places continue to grant me?

* * *

One can’t go back to campus, of course, without bringing one’s camera. A few pictures from my afternoon at the place where I began adulthood.

Listen to Your Mom

October 18, 2014 § 1 Comment

Last spring Mom suggested I take more photos of colorful flowers. I reminded her I had lots of photos of flowers. She said, “You can never have too many pictures of flowers.”

Today we were on a walk. She pointed ahead to a brilliant red bush and said I should take a picture. I said I already had so many photos of leaves. She said, “You can never have too many photos of colorful leaves.”

Right again, Mom. You have to enjoy the beautiful times of year while they last, for they are fleeting.

Note: She also suggested I take a photo of the leaves looking through her Jackie O. sunglasses. Cool.

Red leaves, normal

Red leaves, normal

Red leaves , through sunglasses

Red leaves , through sunglasses

Apples

Apples

Crabapples

Crabapples

Peak

September 25, 2014 § 1 Comment

Peak leaf peeping on North Shore, Sawtooth Mountains

IMG_1808.JPG

Three-Hundred-Fifty-Four

December 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

Two-Hundred-Fifty-Four

Leaves that could pass for jigsaw puzzle pieces

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