finch talk

the finches had much
to say today –
about the dampness
of the day,
the amount of seed
remaining on the sill,
the early dark and
the lateness of light

winter prattlings,
cold weather natterings –
so different from
the ardent liltings
they will trade
between the buds
in the spring,
but enjoyable
to ears all the same

© Sarah Whiteley

My apologies for my absence lately. Some large projects have been keeping me rather busy which means that finding time and mental space to write has been difficult to say the least. Unfortunately, reading the blogs I subscribe to has also fallen by the wayside recently. Of course, not having internet at home since before the holidays has complicated the issue. However, that particular problem should (fingers crossed) be rectified this weekend and I will hopefully be able to start catching up on my reading and my writing soon.

My best friend and I have a hiking motto, birthed during our first adventure together through three miles of calf deep mud and down a hundred foot cliff (one of us with only one working hand at the time). That motto is “straight through the middle!” Meaning that sometimes the only way to get to where you are going is to keep moving forward. In news of the major life adventure variety, I am making arrangements to leave Seattle after many, many years and relocate to Colorado in March. The Universe has basically been yelling at me for a while now that It Is Time! So with much nervousness (and much exhilaration), I’m holding myself to that motto.

I will miss my quirky crows, my beloved Cascade Mountains, all those rainy hikes, porch beers with neighbors, and of course my best friend. But there is also so much that I am looking forward to: new hikes, new neighbors, new adventures, and finding new inspiration all around. So if I start writing about changes and leavings and whole families of dust bunnies found while cleaning out closets, you all will know why.

With much love and gratitude,
Sarah

fresh as new nothing

high above the canyon, the bumblebee wears its band of orange as it slips into the lips of the lupine

I have clamored up the steep creek, braving the slickness of rocks and roots for this spoon of solitude

up here, I am as anonymous to the wind as fierce-clinging heather – alone with ballads of bees and fresh as new nothing

© Sarah Whiteley

I’m slowly adjusting to my return to “civilization” after an adventure in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Mostly I am trying to hold onto that feeling of space and freedom for a while longer, but more posts about my experiences are sure to follow in the coming weeks. And for the first time, I journaled my experience with the help of a little weather-proof notebook my brother and his wife brought me on their last visit. Very handy!

Wandering Wonderful – A Hike and a Giveaway

On Saturday, I ventured out to the dry side of the Cascades for a little hike and exploration. By “little,” I mean 1,250 feet of elevation gain within a single mile. So I guess by “hike,” I really mean climb.

I brought along a copy of Wandering Wonderful, thinking it would be a great photo op for this little giveaway post I’ve been planning – imagine me holding my little book in front of the beautiful vista I’d just earned by scrambling up rocks along the ridge line. But the wind had other ideas – the gusts were so strong up there that I couldn’t hang onto both the book (without it flapping like mad) and the camera. Hence the ground shot. Which is infinitely less interesting than the actual canyon I’d just hiked out of, pictured below.

Still, the hike was breathtaking, heart-pumping, and everything I could have wished it to be. And I am back feeling refreshed and ready to give away a few books.

Normally, I would post a giveaway on Goodreads, but they’ve begun to charge (a rather large amount, in my opinion) to list giveaways. So instead, I’ll post it here and share on Twitter.

Now to the nitty-gritty. I will be giving away three signed copies of Wandering Wonderful. If you would like to enter, all you need to do is comment on this post. I’m not restricting it to U.S. entries only, so if you’re across one pond or the other, don’t hesitate to enter. I will leave comments open on this post until Sunday, June 23rd. After which, I will randomly select three winners.

Best of luck!
Sarah

Ophelia on the dash

I can’t see a Buick these days
without recalling crawling in
through the driver’s side window –

for nearly 8,000 miles
that rubber worshiped roads
with Ophelia on the dash,
the trucks blaring as we passed

she was more cause than cat,
and once walked the split-rail
on the edge of a canyon while
the khaki families stared

criss-crossing 17 states,
we were never lost together –
only ever found making a beeline
for the next rich horizon,

calling home all those roads
that everyone else forgot

© Sarah Whiteley

I’ve been longing for an old-fashioned road trip lately, and it seems like the bug doesn’t hit without also missing my partner in crime from all those years ago. Ophelia was a Maine Coon kitten pulled from a trash dumpster who would grow up seeing the country from the dash of my old Buick. I sat down the other day and tried to figure out just how many miles we’d seen together, and I can say I traveled with that cat for further than I have with any human.

the maps are out

hot coffee, and the maps are out –
the rise out of Box Canyon
an uneven line of red

a map may tally an ascent,
mark the twists in a trail,
lend certain assurances

what it cannot show is emergence
from a stone-heavy world
into the mercy of pines –

into the stalwart grace
of a waiting mountain,
where the rushing creeks sing
and the winds hum along

© Sarah Whiteley