Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fall at The Lot

I spent two nights at the cabin this week, which hasn't happened in a long while. Friday, I was with my family. Every year I think it can't possibly be more beautiful than the last.
But the sky turns an indescribable shade of blue on a Saturday morning. And the aspen trees mingle with the evergreens above the sagebrush, the combination of which takes your breath away.
It's especially fun when we get to be with this little one.
I gave her a taste of my s'more and it was over.
She went on several small hikes with Papa in her jammies on Saturday morning.
Last Tuesday, Karli called me in the late afternoon. We've been trying all summer and fall to get up to The Lot. It was a spur of the moment decision neither of us could pass up. We hustled to finish work, met for dinner in the city, and then drove up to the cabin. We started a fire and were roasting s'mores by ten.
We accidentally stayed up until 3:30 in the morning chatting (part of that time I was working, which helps me justify it.) We wanted to see the sunrise, something well worth getting up for--even with only three hours of sleep. We drove to the top of the canyon before heading home.
The snow on top of the Uintahs faded into the pale grey of the morning sky. The sagebrush was covered in frost. Everything was quiet. (Until we got out at the reservoir and started playing around with the camera.)
Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa. We love The Lot.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

grace from a bottle

It's the first day of fall. Not officially, but it's the first day I don't grab an extra layer just in case, I actually plan to wear one. Along 19th, leaves pool in the gutter. They are the brave ones. The early birds, the ones not afraid to let go. Floating down like feathers, they land on top of one another forming a brilliant puddle of orange. They'll stay that way until the rain comes and they begin their long dissent downstream into their watery grave, a pond in the center of the city.

I draw a bath after what feels like the Longest Day. I grab a bottle from under the sink with the word Grace in big black letters and pour pink liquid out of it and into the hot water which stings my feet the first few seconds. I bring a book of essays into my boat of bubbles. I read about grace amidships my pool of grace. I read about love. And God. About brothers. I read that stories live forever, stories are how we shuffle quickest toward the Mercy greater than the ocean and denser than the stars in the sky. That telling a story is like reciting a prayer, thanking God for his good grace, but not the kind that comes from a bottle.

The drain slurps the water out like a thirsty child. Bubbles, thousands in throng, cling to white porcelain until they pop and vanish, like fog along the foothills in the autumn morning.

Monday, September 12, 2011

begin again

This morning when I went out to get the paper, it smelled like fall. I hugged the yellow plastic bag to my chest like a hot water bottle. Filled with tiny type, it kept me warm on the short jaunt from front lawn to back door. It was the pleasant kind of cold. The put-on-your-favorite-sweatshirt cold. So I did. I came inside, put on my blue hoodie from Annie B, and ate oatmeal standing up while I read the newspaper.

Last night we needed a comforter out on the lawn. The conversation centered around the usual, but there was fresh anticipation and a feeling that this very well may be it. Only fall can bring such anticipation, such optimism. The crickets chirps are getting farther and farther apart. (Tonight there's one that's scratching his legs to his own syncopation, like he missed his entrance, or maybe he just doesn't care. He's fine being a bit off-beat.) The air outside is finally cooler than the air inside. At night I watch the roman shades breathe in and out, in and out. With each breath out, the man in the moon says hello.

There are three fresh peaches on the counter, at least there were before lunch. Their plum-colored fuzzy bellies covered with thumbprints to prove they pass the fresh test. One of them still has a couple of leaves on it. Together they look like a Cezanne still-life. Early autumn peaches always make me think of Val and Brigham City. She'd bring a box full the size of softballs from home to the Santa B. We'd make homemade peach ice cream and divy it up in the quad.

By early morning today my hoodie was off. Though fleeting, I loved the familiar feeling of the fuzzy inside and the drawstrings dangling on either side of my neck. They tempt me when I'm bored. Leaves have started to whirl up in the space between the garage and the backdoor.

The very best part: It's just the beginning.

ink + paper

It's really fun to have talented friends. Especially when they bring you surprises, just because it's a Wednesday. And not just any surprise, but ones like these that you put up and stare at everyday.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


President Thomas S. Monson's thoughts on 9|11, taken from this article.

"There was, as many have noted, a remarkable surge of faith following the tragedy. People across the United States rediscovered the need for God and turned to Him for solace and understanding. Comfortable times were shattered. We felt the great unsteadiness of life and reached for the great steadiness of our Father in Heaven. And, as ever, we found it. Americans of all faiths came together in a remarkable way.

Sadly, it seems that much of that renewal of faith has waned in the years that have followed. Healing has come with time, but so has indifference. We forget how vulnerable and sorrowful we felt. Our sorrow moved us to remember the deep purposes of our lives. The darkness of our despair brought us a moment of enlightenment. But we are forgetful. When the depth of grief has passed, its lessons often pass from our minds and hearts as well.

Our Father’s commitment to us, His children, is unwavering. Indeed He softens the winters of our lives, but He also brightens our summers. Whether it is the best of times or the worst, He is with us. He has promised us that this will never change.

But we are less faithful than He is. By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.

If there is a spiritual lesson to be learned from our experience of that fateful day, it may be that we owe to God the same faithfulness that He gives to us. We should strive for steadiness, and for a commitment to God that does not ebb and flow with the years or the crises of our lives. It should not require tragedy for us to remember Him, and we should not be compelled to humility before giving Him our faith and trust. We too should be with Him in every season."

image by Fynnegan Sloyan

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lord, what fools these mortals be

We are tiny. Mortals next to majesty. Rocks reach as high as God. They are temples, made sacred by the holy waters of history: tears that left scars on the surface.

Green pushes up, strong against rock, defying desert, clinging to a craggy stone front, like a child to its mother.

Sand and sage. Red clay. Blue sky. Stillness.

Every panorama a painting.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


She loved a boy once, but that was a long time ago. She loved his blueberry pancakes and the way he forgot to dot his "I's". That he'd bring her an apple and leave it on her desk in the studio. No note, just an apple, but she knew it was him.

He is gone now, but she thinks about him every so often. Like when summer turns to autumn and when the first snow falls. Or when she eats really great bruschetta.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baby N

Until my sister tells me to do otherwise, I will shamelessly post pictures of my niece on this blog like she is my own child. She's kind of my favorite.
(All of these images are owned by the photographer and are therefore copyrighted.)