Folk Hero

Pete Seeger was a true folk hero, and today, my heart laden with sadness, I find myself rolling the words to this song of his around in my head. I feel as though I have experienced a great and terrible loss. I also feel more strongly than ever before that I must stand up as an American woman for the things and people that I believe in. I have a hammer, and a song to sing, Pete. 

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening, all over this land
I'd hammer out danger, I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land

If I had a bell, I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening, all over this land
I'd ring it in danger, I'd ring out a warning
I'd ring in love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land


If I had a song, I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening, all over this land
I'd sing it in danger, I'd sing out a warning
I'd sing in love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land


Well I got a hammer and I got a bell
And I got a song to sing all over this land
It's the hammer of justice, it's the bell of freedom
It's a song about love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land

Friends, take up your songs, sing for the voiceless, for our environment, and for the minorities. Sing together.

Inspiration: Bob Dylan

Everybody's talking about Bob these days, and I'd like to take a side step from the Nobel controversy to share some of my favorite lines of song that he's written along with some photos of Bob as a young buck. 

 
Oh, sister, when I come to lie in your arms
You should not treat me like a stranger
Our Father would not like the way that you act
And you must realize the danger

Oh, sister, am I not a brother to you
And one deserving of affection?
And is our purpose not the same on this earth
To love and follow His direction?

We grew up together
From the cradle to the grave
We died and were reborn
And then mysteriously saved

Oh, sister, when I come to knock on your door
Don’t turn away, you’ll create sorrow
Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore
You may not see me tomorrow

- BOB DYLAN, OH SISTER


Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

- BOB DYLAN, THE TIMES ARE A-CHANGIN'

 
 
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship
My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip
My toes too numb to step
Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it

- BOB DYLAN, MR. TAMBOURINE MAN

 

Bob will always be the real reason I'm into turtlenecks. 

Inspiration: Georgia O'Keefe

Sorry for the blatant pun, but I've got Georgia on my mind. She was such a pioneer in many senses of the word. It isn't often you get to hear "The Mother of American Modernism," since the phrase is usually used for men pioneering in their fields, like, "The Father of Modern Physics, The Father of Photo Journalism, etc." But here, Georgia takes the title. In a time when art, sexuality, and influence were all considered to be part of "a man's world," Georgia was unafraid to create. She had commitment to her art, despite constant criticism from her contemporaries. You can see this in photos of her, I love her air of confidence and easy, simple style. May we all age as gracefully as Georgia!

My Favorite Books of 2016

I'm a big audiobook listener, and a rabid reader (that's right, I said it). This year, I read/listened to more books than there are months, so I thought I'd make a list of some of my top picks in different categories. I realize it's only October, but I just couldn't help it. I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Few, if any, of these books came out this year, so maybe next year I'll get up with the times.

 

FAVORITE NONFICTION:

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Inspiring, sweet, and honest. I listened to this one, and it's narrated by the author, which made the experience all the more genuine. Gilbert explores the relationship between fear, insecurity, creativity, courage, and freedom. She proposes that maybe, just maybe, we don't have to be slaves to our fears, that we aren't alone in all of this, and that magic may not be imaginary after all.

BENCHWARMERS:

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 

FAVORITE AUTOBIOGRAPHY:

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

If you don't love Steve Martin, we need to have a talk. Alternatively, you can listen to Steve read his own story to you and have your heart melted by the banjo strumming man himself. Having read some of his fiction as well, the bio gives incredible insight into the mind of a comedian, and the sheer genius and mental faculty it takes to pull off a single show. From his humble beginnings working as a shop boy at Disneyland to the wild days on SNL, the story is honest and endearing. Martin is unafraid to share his trials and struggles as well as his successes, easily transitioning from ernest to funny and back again in tone. Insightful and relatable, I thoroughly enjoyed.

FAVORITE BILDUNGSROMAN:

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

Other than an excellent excuse to use the word "bildungsroman" (just a fancy word for spiritual coming of age), The Alchemist may have been my very favorite book this year. I read it twice. Paolo Coelho weaves a tale with just the right portions of exotic adventure, old world faith, and lovable, relatable characters. Also, it's full of what I like to call wisdom one-liners. If you need any more convincing, I would love to share one of my favorite quotes from the story with you:

“making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

At risk of sounding like a total cheeseball, Paolo Coelho's story made my heart sing.

Bonus: If you listen to the audio version, it's narrated by Jeremy Irons, AKA the voice of God. (Other voices of God include: Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Judi Dench.)

FAVORITE FICTION:

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This one's for all you fellow mega-nerds, sci-fi geeks, and fantasy gurus. I'll be frank with you, I read a lot of fiction. It's the spice of life. Choosing a favorite for the year was tough, as you might guess, but V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic series takes the prize. The writing is colorful and grisly, and the characters winsome. Schwab's world is enthralling to the imagination and the plot is truly gripping. After finishing the first book on a flight to Minneapolis, I rushed around the airport like a bloodhound sniffing out the second, and today I am anxiously awaiting the third (set to be released in February of 2017).

Bonus: The cover art is so choice.

BENCHWARMERS:

The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy

The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson

P.S. All Imagery in this post belongs to the authors.

Late September in the Rockies

My dad always said the aspen leaves in the fall looked like glittering gold coins when they fluttered in the wind. I've never forgotten the image. We spent most of the last week of September hiking in the Rockies, and with those golden coins littering the ground, I felt very rich.

Our stops in order of appearance:

Sky Pond at Rocky Mountain National Park - the most magical, sparkliest, aqua water I have ever seen. Bonus: From our campsite in the Park we could hear elk calling all night long.

Hanging Lake - We saw our first bits of fall color dripping over the lake, which looked like glass.

Camping near Vail - The sweetest cozy campsite covered in golden aspen coins.

Backpacking Eccles Pass - Finished off the trip with a hike to Eccles Pass near Frisco, CO.