Monday, August 31, 2015


August has been brutal on the heart. For me, and for many I have known.
My step-grandmother passed away. I was able to fly back to Oklahoma just days before to say goodbye. I spent two and a half days driving around the city, holding new babies, visiting my grandfather at his assisted living center, doing what I could to help my step-mom prepare, hugging family, and kissing sweet Kay goodbye. When my dad dropped me at the airport I settled at my terminal and sat still longer than I had in days, and I realized how full my heart felt.
Not long after I arrived home from Oklahoma I had to make the decision to let my sweet kitty Frankie go. I've been jumping down rabbit holes to keep him healthy and comfortable for a while now and suddenly everything had come to a head. It was a quick decline and I couldn't watch him hurt any more. He was my baby and it feels so odd to be without him now. I was in such a state of reflection and readiness and then I found the next day my sweet niece Hadley took her first soul step from her body. Before she was two she was diagnosed with Krabbe's disease. She defied the odds and lived until she was 11 years old, touching hearts and inspiring everyone around her. A death as such, being mourned for years, is no less difficult. But there is a rejoicing in her being free.

After all of this I went to work with Rae at his garden. I needed to be with the earth. As I spent the morning harvesting tomatoes, searching through the tangled stems and leaves in search of fruit, I felt the joy and release of nature. Life, death, the process in between. Everything we need begins with the soil. It was an affirmation of the road sign I keep seeing. Therapy based on earth, soil and plants. I'm still feeling my way around the timing but there is no denying that my purpose is to connect people and earth, and connect people to themselves through the earth. Through loss we find our selves, our love, and what matters.

With all the life that is changing it felt so fitting that our weather had cooled. With every breath of sweet, rainy Pacific air I sensed a cleansing. These days are new. They are empty of souls I have loved but rich with their memory. With every loss I feel the wisdom of age adding layers to the soles of my feet. Something has changed here for me. I see this city with new eyes and feel more home here than I have in the past two years. As if the experience of loss in a place somehow intertwines your heart with the landscape. Whatever it is, my sorrow and gratefulness have carried me home to myself.


Sweet Hadley

Frankie sunbathing on vacation

Rest in peace and power, sweet souls. You are with me.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Last month we went to Orcas Island. We went on a whale watching tour in hopes of seeing our local J pod up close. And so we did. For most of the boating time they were pretty far ahead of us, thrilling the other boats and popping up to give amazing shots in front of Mt. Baker.

L-87 Onyx in front of Mt. Baker
Fun story about Onyx - he is an L pod orca but when his mother died he went missing. Typically, orcas stay with their families for life. When Onyx disappeared everyone assumed he was dead. He resurfaced again with the K pod until its matriarch died and now he travels with J pod, who is led by J-2 Granny. Granny was born in 1911 and is the oldest known living orca in the world!! Right in the waters outside my house! So exciting.

Anyway, we had gotten pretty far North when our captain turned off all but one motor. We were watching them surface from afar when suddenly these two popped up about 20 feet from our boat! I haven't been able to go through photos to try and identify them yet.

J-26 Mike
The captain turned off the motor immediately and then Mike popped up at the back of the boat, nearly touching it. We could hear them breathing, the most glorious of sounds. Deep, hollow, strong breaths. We didn't even see them coming and I keep imagining what they must have been thinking. Staying underwater until they got right up to us and then giving us a show. I know they are not here for our entertainment but they seemed to be saying hello as they surfaced and looked at us. Boats stay at least 200 yards away for the safety and respect of the whales, but they approached us and made our day. It was one of the most significant experiences I've had since moving NW.