I miss the outdoor commitment and blog

Last January

This may be an emotional blog. 

I drove along Skanee Road tonight, aimed for a meeting.  A foggy sadness gathered in my heart.  Descending darkness suddenly filled my sight and I was crying.

Grieving.

Last February

Missing last year’s 365-day outdoor commitment (Opening the door, Walking Outside) with emotional intensity.  Mourning its passing.  Feeling like a death happened, a mini-death, and suddenly I wanted it all back.

But why?  A month ago I counted the days until the end.  The feeling of “having to” go outside and write a blog, “having to” spend one to three hours a day exploring and creating, “having to” find photographic subjects and topics to write…just seemed too much as December nudged toward the Solstice.

When it ended my heart felt light, relaxed, at ease.  I barely picked up the camera for ten days.  Rejoiced in the freedom of doing anything in the Universe.

When I started this blog, I delighted in the possibility to write about Anything.  This, that, indoors, outdoors, a poem here, a spiritual thought there, a photographic display, a few paragraphs of random words.  This blog would be more like my life.  A mish-mash of everything.

Yet now I feel like a boat without its mooring.  Without a compass.  Without a sure and steady aim toward True North. 

Last March

“True North” in the outdoor blog was always about the Outdoors.  Nature.  The world outside the front door.  There was always a subject beyond self.  Sure, you could tie it back to human stories, but the focus pointed to the Outside.  It pointed to trees and wildflowers and snow and sunlight and Lake Superior waves.  It gestured toward the landscape even when the topics bore personal concerns.

I miss the outdoor commitment and blog so much tonight.  The excitement of declaring a goal and following it.  The enthusiasm of supporters who cheered one on.  The feeling of “Darn it!  I’ll strap on those snowshoes and go ANYWHERE to get a good blog.” 

These days I look at the fascinating orange frozen apples on the gnarly trees and want to take a photograph.  But no impetus drags me from the warm and cozy car to strap on snowshoes and wade into the deep ditches.  No impetus forces me to ski, to push boundaries, to find new vistas.  I don’t “have to”.  So I don’t.

Last April

The outdoor commitment now seems a gift worth more than silver, more than gold.  It was a precious year.  In many ways, more precious than past years because of its commitment and creativity.

And now?  How does one properly grieve?  How does one properly say goodbye?  How does one find a new rhythm, a different rhythm, built on the foundations of this incredible year?

I must reach for patience.  Patience to allow this missing, this sadness, to exist.  Patience to let the parts of self come up and express themselves…patience to learn to walk on this new pathless path.  To see what door opens next.

Last May

Every day I sort through the 10,000 photographs of the year, copying and pasting in a new folder.  Organizing.  Choosing good ones, deleting others.  It’s like viewing the year in slow motion, appreciating it through the photos.  I just finished through May 31st today.

Thank you for letting me share this.  I feel better already.  My friend Nancy just said, “You need  a puppy.”  I don’t think so.  Just taking the time to acknowledge this sadness feels right.

And tomorrow will bring new gifts.  It always does.

Last May: Tender Unfurling

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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14 Responses to I miss the outdoor commitment and blog

  1. fountainpen says:

    Kathy: How about another kind of commitment,
    that is, a certain day of the week….outside with camera….
    wouldn’t that work for 2010?

    Fountainpenmlk@msn.com

  2. Dawn says:

    “Wherever you are is the right place for you to be.” Someone told me that once when I was in deep grief, and I’ve used it for many other grieving people since. That’s what I love about blogs..you can use them however you need to and each day can be different. And it’s all OK. The blog is a place to put the sadness and you DO feel better just sharing it. I know.

    As for me and your blog? I’m just thrilled to read about life in the UP, and my Lake Superior. So if you don’t feel the impetus to get out of the car because you don’t “have to,” well…think about me and how I’d love to see those gnarly apples. And go get that shot!

  3. Lucienne says:

    Dear Kathy,

    I think it’s a normal reaction and I think you are processing it quite natural. Also remember: this change might take 40 days as well Lol!

    You can do a copple of things: just be with this grieving and see what happens. Like you said “tomorrow will always bring new gifts” or you can, like is suggested in the previous comment, find a new commitment.
    Not to replace the grieving but to give you a new sense of structure perhaps.
    Sometimes a clear and defined structure helps us to explore in realms where otherwise we perhaps might not go.

    However my sense about this is that you just “be with it” for a while. Feel whatever IS. It has something to tell you, not about the past year, not about tomorrow but about Now, get into the emptiness of it without trying to fill it in.
    And I know, just like you know, something will come up that opens a new door. And a new structure in whatever form will come, you are right, patience is the word. What am I talking about? You already know everything I say here. And what the ** do I know anyway. You just needed to share. and cry on our shoulders a bit. Well thats what friends are for.
    Huggies.

  4. divacarla says:

    Kathy, I had my first snowshoe walk OUT into the woods (not just doing errands near the house) and I thought of you. Thank you for writing your feelings. Commitment does become an entity to itself. Something that must be honored. It engaged and enlarged a part of you that you didn’t know about yet. That part of you is at loose ends now. You are a new person! How exciting. Kathy who is lonesome for the commitment will find something else to commit too (like cataloging the photos! that’s a commitment!) She has to fall in love again first. Has she tried speed dating, or the personals? Something like: Creative, spiritual, newly visual writer/photographer seeks compelling idea with capacity to alter perspective and reveal truth and beauty in unexpected ways for commitment worthy relationship. Must like long cold winters, and be willing to travel, and be OK with my husband coming along from time to time.

  5. p.j. grath says:

    Kathy, our ULYSSES study group wrapped up Joyce’s book with an Irish dinner and discussion of the last chapter on January 6. The discussion leader now e-mails me that he has post-partum depression. No other book measures up to ULYSSES for him at the moment. You don’t need my advice, but just know that wherever you go I will be riding along–or at least dropping in to visit on a regular basis. Loved your old blog and love the new one, too. It isn’t the subject that matters. It’s you, your thoughts, your eye.

  6. Emma says:

    It makes sense to me that you would feel the loss at some point. That was part of your life Every Single Day in 2009! As you know…it’s OK to feel this. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and some of the special photos from last year!

  7. Christy Dunlap says:

    Kathy,
    I so enjoyed your 365 day blog – it was a part of my morning ritual. When it ended, I felt like I lost something deep and important. Then today…I just decided to check back and see if you had written anything and you can’t imagine my DELIGHT when I learned of your new blog!!!!! Whatever you share and whenever you choose to share it – will be welcomed! Your photos are exquisite and I love reading whatever is important to you. I live in Ohio and love all things about Michigan. I am ready to absorb all that you want to show us. You are an inspiration! Many thanks!
    Christy

  8. Susan D. says:

    Thank you ….

  9. Kathy says:

    Thank you ALL so much! I really appreciate your support. I have had a floundering few days adjusting to this new year. It sounds like you all understand how challenging it is. I know it will work into its own rhythm of photographing and writing and going outside and sharing from the inside.

    A friend shared today that it sounds like how she felt after she left a beloved job. She said the sense of emptiness lasted for quite awhile. It was important to honor it fully even as she moved on to a new job which offered its own new joys and challenges.

    Feeling so heartfully warmed by all of you.

  10. Jessica says:

    A puppy does sound cute and furry. Or how about an entire team of trained sled dogs? Then you can let them get you to that tempting berry photo opp.
    Or better yet, how about taking my ferret? Oh, right, there’s the distance thing. Since you got to see the idaterod and who knows how to spell that, how do you feel about competing?

  11. Cindy Lou says:

    With as much of your heart and soul as you put into last year, it’s a natural thing to grieve, I think…..I pray for peace and the path through your sadness.

  12. Kathy says:

    Jessica, no way am I competing in the Idaterod (or however you spell it!) or even raising sled dogs. Although it was great to see the dog sled races in Marquette last year, it certainly was. No to your ferret, too…LOL!

    Cindy, yep, I think it’s natural too. All of a sudden tonight I’m feeling much more cheerful and settled. Go figure. Maybe it’s just because the sun came out!

  13. Jessica says:

    🙂 I knew when I suggested it you wouldn’t do it, but I hope I made you laugh, or at least chuckle at the thought of it!

    Since my tween son hasn’t taken his responsibility for the ferret seriously, I took command last night and declared it my own pet after I found out the ferret rescue is full and shelters around me aren’t no kill shelters. So what changed? I spent more money on the ferret today, that’s what changed. I cleaned the cage myself, muttering to myself through the stench. I sewed it new snuggle fleece on top of its new cuddle bed. I bought it fleece and cut it into blankets. Hmph, by the looks of it, I wanted that ferret to be my pet. But my tween felt no change! He’s still slacking. I’m open to creative discipline ideas…

  14. Kathy says:

    Dear Jessica, oh my goodness, I wish I had creative discipline ideas for you. I do feel support and love with my whole heart!! It can be so challenging to raise those tweens and teenagers. Oh, it can. Those were very challenging years. I guess…keep loving them…and keep seeing their highest potential. When things were the most difficult, I just kept envisioning one of my children (no names mentioned) at twenty as a happy, confident, assured, wonderful human being. And guess what? It happened! Sending you much love, although no specific disciplining ideas.

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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