summering

This season is the busiest part of my year, and often the most overwhelming, but with that comes great, great joy.

This morning, I’m sitting at the picnic table outside the camp office, which is my favorite spot in the summer. Music is drifting from the Art Barn next door, where Jonah is busy cleaning for the next group of campers. A family of geese are making their way up the lawn from the lake, the babies nearly 1/3 grown, their feathers darkening by the day. I can hear cooking campers in the herb garden, seeing what chive blossoms look like up close. I sent off ranch and basketball campers just after breakfast- their mornings’ spent elsewhere, exploring and playing.

A huge robin is sitting in the tree above me, scouting for a morning snack to share with her babies. The lake is swelling to full pool and the nights are staying warmer. The solstice is this week, when the sun will linger til nearly 11 o’clock. Last night, I watched the most brilliant rainbow dance between the pines in the late evening, while campers settled in for their first night.

The rhythm of camp life is in as many ways routine as it is sporadic. The bell rings each morning at 7:30. We sing, we eat, we pray. Campers come and go, staff learn a new set of names each week, the moon rises a slightly different place each day– community continues, the earth continues, joy continues.

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“you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace, the mountains & the hills before you, shall burst into song & rejoice,

and all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands, for you. ”

We sing this blessing to our campers each Friday, at the end of the session. As the summer sinks in, I pray you, too, go out with joy.

 

xx, k

last light on the swan river


I tried my best to get out to ski last night but it wasn’t in the cards so I settled on a quick walk along the “Wild Mile” of the Swan River. It’d been a long, kind of tough day so my mind was spinning a thousand miles an hour, and I felt very restless- a feeling that usually dissipates when I’m outside. I wandered down the trail for awhile, feeling anxious and unfocused when I came around a bend and saw the setting sunlight beaming across the river. I climbed up on a snow bank to get a better look and marveled at the river’s midwinter strength and beauty. As the sun set I walked further down the trail, watching the trees sparkle and sway in the breeze and finally felt some calm. 

This Lenten season I am committing to practicing gentleness and forgiveness, with myself especially. To intentional daily movement, to finishing books I’ve started reading, to screen free mornings. 

I believe in adding to our lives during this season, joining Jesus in the wilderness by challenging ourselves to be better servants and more wholehearted justice seekers. What is lent calling you to this year? 
Be brave, spring is coming. 

giving thanks (these days)

What a week, huh? It feels like it’s been months of struggle already but it’s only been 11 days. I spent much of last week driving across Montana, attending the women’s march, hosting a youth event, recruiting summer staff at three different colleges and getting on the ski hill as much as possible between all that. 

I’m grateful for the brilliant blue sky, reminding me that the light always returns, 

For incredible sunrises & reminders of hope, 

For new views, sore legs & hard working lungs, 

For road trips, the wild Montana skies & comfortable silence, 

For partners in the resistance (just 5 of the 10,000 in Montana alone!)

For laughter in ridiculous situations, 

and all the miles we travel together. 

In the midst of all the hurt, anger and confusion I felt at the news last week, I was reminded over and over to be joyful. Joy is resistance. Joy is fighting. Joy is hope. For me, joy is playing cribbage & laughing together after a long day. It’s trying every free sample in Costco. It’s hugging friends all over the state. It’s dancing to a terrible rapper at a dive bar. It’s singing to the sunset on the way home. 

Fight for joy. Be brave. Love y’all. 

winter song 

Bits & pieces of this season. 

The lake is frozen the whole way across on the north shore, deer carefully making their way across in an attempt to find a small pool to drink from. Camp is covered in snow & last week the moon rose so clearly it cast shadows across the shore. I’ve been outside as much as possible, skiing on Big Mtn and Blacktail & hiking around camp. It’s warming up a tiny bit this week, maybe we’ll get above freezing for a few hours. 

Thankful for slower days, stillness, the calm of a gray day, the electric joy that comes with the sight of blue sky, sunsets over snowscapes & the clear face of the winter moon. 

giving thanks, these days

This autumn has been a whirlwind in the best and worst ways. I have been completely filled up with love through one of the most emotionally difficult months of our country’s recent history. I have had some incredibly encouraging conversations with dear friends and allies this month but still feel gutted by the knowledge that the president elect holds such deep oppressive values. I know we will keep fighting, together, but some days it feels difficult to have hope. 

In the midst of this, I’ve been so grateful for new adventures to incredible places, 

for the pure joy that comes with fresh snow, 

for the wide open spaces of the wild, 

and for all the places we call home along the way. 

Remember that you are loved, important and worthy, today and always. Practice gratitude & be brave, babes. 

north fork, october 


If you’re John Muir you want trees to live among.
If you’re Emily, a garden will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself.
If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body
gladly lingers in the wind or the rain,
or splashes into the cold river, or
pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite
understandable. But holiness is visible,
entirely.

Some words will never leave God’s mouth,
no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will
not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees, the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out
of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly
through the forest. What wonder and
glory I would have missed had I ever been
in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still
it explains nothing.

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way, Mary Oliver

 

giving thanks (these days) 

This month has felt at once like a deep exhale and an emotional roller coaster. I am so thankful for all the friends I’ve hugged these past few weeks and for the entirely unique beauty of Montana in autumn but my heart hurts for our country as we navigate this difficult time. It’s worth repeating that our hope has to be in community, rather than on one leader. We must work for local change, be good neighbors & love those around us, as well as being engaged nations citizens. Please, I implore you: vote. Do your research and VOTE- for the president, for local leaders, for the ballot initiatives in your state. What a privilege we have- use it. 

Lately I have been grateful for the moody days of autumn, 


For tiny clubs and loud music and good friends, 


For how the light looks in the late afternoon & for pit stops on my trail runs, 


For dear friends, near & far, 


And for daily joys. 


What are you grateful for today? 

kinship

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“Because we have forgotten our kinship with the land,” she continued, “our kinship with each other has become pale. We shy away from accountability and involvement. We choose to be occupied which is quite different from being engaged.” (from Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams)

photos taken at Glacier National Park, mid September