Sorbet for the Soul, Giant Wishes!

There we were, hiking down a trail in Meyer Ranch, Colorado this summer, when we came upon a meadow with the largest dandelions I’d ever seen. It’s like the universe was saying, “Hon, writing and publishing Kidlit is such a herculean ask, you need wishes big enough, loud enough, and strong enough to be carried all the way from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. Take a deep breath and blow!”

Turns out the palm-sized puffballs aren’t dandelions, but Western Salsify whose flowers looks like a yellow daisies. Soon after, we met the infamous llamas, Stardust and OnFire, and that chance meeting was even more spectacular than hiking in the Rockies, discovering golfball-sized dandelion lookalikes, listening to the click-click-click of a flying grasshopper, passing an elderly man hiking uphill with a cannula and portable oxygen, and saying hi to many happy dogs with their people.

Then, a week ago I was on a run and stopped mid-stride to take a pic. I asked the homeowner if he’d put “Don’t Give Up” out just for me and he said, “If that’s what you need…”

It is. It’s what I need.

So, in an effort to take a deep breath and blow my wishes and energy and thoughts and words and characters and layers and stories all the way from my imagination to the page to childrens’ imaginations, I’m posting a series called Sorbet for the Soul–photos and sentiments along with literal and figurative signs which beg for my attention.

Maybe if I take a moment to blow giant wishes and absorb messages and do the thing that informs my life–finding the extraordinary in the ordinary–my herculean ask will one day soon come to fruition.

Western Salsify flower, image source: Wildflowers of the United States.


Dragonfly or Fairy?

The most unusual thing happened this week.

I was walking Lucy when something on the sidewalk caught my attention. I bent down to find a dragonfly sitting motionless–was it alive? I touched it carefully, but still no movement. I put my finger near its front legs and, guess what, hon? It crawled onto my finger and didn’t fly off! The dragonfly stayed with me, its beautiful, dew-drop, lace wings glittering in the morning light. When I got back to my house, it stayed put, cocking its head as it cleaned its face. Fascinating!

Contemplating my new little friend, I wondered: Was it waiting for me? Was it a sign (from someone)? Was it a fairy?

I tried with all my heart to listen because, surely, the dragonfly was telling me something important. I’m not sure if this was its message, but I thought:

I have a child’s curiosity 
and that is magical.

I told my little friend how grateful I was for its visit and then set it on a purple petunia in a window box. When I checked later, it was gone. I imagine it flew off to deliver a message to another curious soul.

Reading the Signs

Lake George, NY, sign at the entrance to Tongue Mountain
Lake George, NY, sign at the entrance to Tongue Mountain

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday.  Well, maybe it wasn’t the strangest thing, but it ranks up there on the top ten list.  (Hmmm, future post? I digress.)  Back to the odd confluence of signs. (Confluence popped into my head so I looked it up in an actual dictionary and it’s defined as the “flowing together of two or more streams” so, boy, does that word work.  I digress again.)

Back to the confluence of strange signs.  Yesterday, I attended a Meditation Workshop sponsored by the national writing organization that I belong to, SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators).  The goal was to learn how to meditate to learn more about our characters, plot, scenes, and the heart of our stories.  We had eight fifteen-minute meditation sessions followed by free writing.  I had never done anything like it before.

The author, Laurie Calkhoven, who led the meditation sessions guided us with visualizations, some of which were bodies of water.

In one session, she guided us to think about an object, maybe one on a shelf.  Guess what?  In my chapter book, a luggage rack on a train is key in the climax.

In another session, while contemplating the bubbling up of ideas on a lake, I heard a train whistle and clickety clack outside.  Weird.  My story takes place on a train.

Get ready for goose bumps….  In several sessions, I concentrated on inviting my spirit guides, if i have spirit guides, to surround me.  I asked for fortitude and courage to reach my goal, my dream, of getting my children’s book manuscripts published and start down a career path I have envisioned for myself for the eighteen years I’ve spent raising triplets plus one.  I asked to be able to read the signs.

The whole subject of spirit guides may make your eyes glaze over but, hon, I am open to lots of ideas.  I am willing to discuss, consider or contemplate such matters.  Not quite sure if I believe but I like the idea.

Just as I finished asking my spirit guides for help, and after I heard the train and thought about the scene involving the luggage rack, the door to the building we were in blew open for a few seconds and then shut on its own.  It was odd enough that the whole group turned and looked in amazement.  I blurted out, “Those were my spirit guides!” 

I’d like to believe it.

Are you on the “goose bumps” side of the fence, the “that’s a bunch of hogwash” side of the fence or perched on top, smack in the middle?  I won’t judge either way, I promise.