Picture 1452 my fam

Here in the Oregon Coast bioregion, I have been making a living as a marine biologist for a little over a decade. I decided when I moved here with my son, who was just a year old and is thirteen and eleven-twelfths as of this writing, that I was going to find community and learn all I could about the flora and fauna of this beautiful place. I spent the first half of my life on a small farm in upstate New York, and if you dissected my heart it would be composed of two hemispheres: one half overgrown apple orchard, joe-pye weed flaming with monarchs in August, and the other half pumping salt water, an early morning tidepool wallpapered with purple sea urchins and kelp. This blog is over a decade old. It started out as standard mama-of-new-baby chronicles and has evolved into my best coping mechanism and creative outlet. I tend my garden and try to raise my kid right and love my husband and husband my fish larvae and moonlight at a farm stand selling organic vegetables. I take pictures of it all, and I write it all down.

Writing can be an act of caretaking. Baby chronicles graduated into preschool learning chronicles, which have given way to lifelong learner chronicles, all teeming with nature nerdiness. It is here that I collect observations, the field notes of a mama who endeavors to respond to the son who is growing in front of her, adapting and evolving more than adhering to any consistent prescribed parenting paradigm. Caretaking my own process is something I do in writing as well, curating a multicolored thread that stretches backward into my past and right up to my present moment, a once fragmented storyline thread now mended, the pieces now integrated parts of a whole.

Writing is also a bit like farming. There is labor involved in cultivating ideas and coaxing them into paragraphs; discipline in attending to seeds, providing them the necessary conditions to spiral into the world and thrive; patience in waiting for the blooms; a certain amount of defiance in turning the wasted and hard parts under in the compost and returning to them later, expecting to turn up treasure.

Then the harvest, writing as canning, carefully putting by the fruits of the present moment into rows of jars, wonder an essential ingredient. I line them up on the shelves of this blog so I can see their vivid colors, come back and open them up in some other season and savor a spoonful of storyline.

Writing is like tidepooling for me as well. On a given day, what do I pick up in my hand, what do I walk right past? What shimmering shell catches my eye, what expansive ocean vista draws my gaze? On a given day, am I pliant and tender like an anemone or coarse and spiky like an urchin? Huddling in a crevice or lifting off to take flight? Words streak through my mind like bioluminescent creatures having collided with a ship’s hull or the body of a breaching dolphin, disturbance the impetus for emitting light, a mystery I am content to never fully understand. I find magic in the mysteries, the edges, the connections.

~My original about blurb is now archived here. ~