Every single day I redefine what the word home means to me.


Land of Living Skies

IMG_2392 IMG_2394 IMG_2398 IMG_2400We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  I can feel the change — in my very foundations I can feel the difference in the nature of the land here, like the bones of an old farmhouse can feel the wind change directions.  I brace myself and almost cry out at the glorious width of sky that presses out in all directions, reducing the land to a thin scrap of bristling green laying flat and low as far a distance as I can imagine.  The only relief to be seen for miles now is the pronghorn bedded down in their tawny pools of hide and horn, cozy in tall grass prairie.

What a prairie.  Oh, holy definition of space, time, stone and wind.  Black earth, clear heavens, a warm green body beneath a living sky.  Dust, breeze, dirt and aurora borealis; a swaddling of star and cloud.

Draw me in.  Hold me close.

IMG_2391 IMG_2402IMG_2410 IMG_2480

We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  The border crossing guard reminds me why Canadians are beloved all the world over.  He is sweet.  I make him laugh!  We forgot our papers for the dog and he says he’ll turn a blind eye…this time.  We confuse him when he asks who is a resident of which country.  We laugh again and eventually roll away North, telling Tater Tot he’s lucky he didn’t have to stay in Montana.IMG_2492

We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  The sky changes.  I remember everything I love about my home province, everything that makes it feel like home to me, my roots realign — draw themselves up out of Idaho and creep along behind us, down the highway, counting the dashes of yellow line until home.  I try to find words for some of my feelings and fall short because on occasion, home is an abstract thing, a notion, a feeling, a willow wisp we chase down to the broad flat rivers that carry us to the place that owns us.  I’m coming home.  On the road there, to home, my heart travels everywhere, looking for the one anchor, the one strong tether that encumbers the drift of the human spirit, the terra firma that roots the soul.

It is the sky that holds me.  That infinite thing that changes from cloud to blue to night sky to milky way to galaxy — the thing to root my very soul.  And oh, what a sky.


We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  We cross that glimmering ribbon of international agreement, civility between nations, invisible line-of-democracy-hand-shaking-truce that makes me something different than my husband, and he, something different than me.  I am from here.  He is from there.  I am Canadian.  He is American.  Someone, a long time ago, reached out and drew a line in the dirt between him and I and our families and now, no matter where we are, we straddle that line.  The border runs from East to West with a few wobbles in-between; it runs right over me, it cuts me in two, cleaves my heart right down the center as though my bones form the structure for a rickety continental divide — these rivers of the heart run in two mighty directions.  Everything is in two pieces.  My tongue is split.  The barometric pressures of my mind are confused.  Is this up or down, or is everything sideways?IMG_2624

We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  The sky changes, as I have come to expect it will, on these long drives home while we draw Norther and Norther, as though the toes of our boots are magnetized, pulling us up like the moonrise.  I quit looking for deer, antelope, fox, hawk, owl and coyote.  I begin to watch the clouds.  This is the land of living skies!  Alleluia!  Amen!  I could weep for the wide open of the sky here.  There is no place like this in all the world.    The sky can be cut into the four great quadrants of a compass — North, South East and West.  In each quadrant, the light splits the sky differently, as light will.  The land is given four different faces, a myriad of hue, a range of contrast, four different faces in four different moods built of two basic features:  earth and sky.


We cross the border, ride out of Montana and into Saskatchewan.  The sky changes, as I have come to expect.  Saskatchewan is for dreamers.  This dreamer has come home.

IMG_2657 IMG_2680IMG_3001

On the Edge of the Missouri River :: Jottings From The Road

IMG_2031 IMG_2094IMG_2099 IMG_2133 IMG_2184

Night bends like no other thing.  I stand at the river and watch the darkness pulse across the breaks, dulling the hard edge of shadows, inking the high places indigo, the deep blue of evening arcing through sturdy lengths of cottonwood grove; everything waits for the slow heave of the moon.IMG_2203 IMG_2218

We are camped along the rollicking width of the Missouri River tonight in a glorious cottonwood forest.  There is wild rose all around and though I can not yet see them, their perfect perfume hangs thickly in the air and pools around my senses.  Settling into bed is bliss.  The Airstream is terribly comfortable (we have a high quality mattress in the walnut bed frame that is chiropractic and amazing and small — we are almost forced to spoon, which I adore:  Airstream = cozy loving.).  It will be hard to get up in the morning.  Now I’ll shut off the lights, hold Robert’s hand in the dark and watch the moon rise through the window above the bed, and all other celestial bodies with it.

IMG_2229 IMG_2247
I woke up this morning around 5AM to see the sun blazing up over the cut bank of the river, through the forest and into the back window of the trailer.  I imagined to myself that somewhere, a veil had been torn away from the entrance to the Holy of Holies and I was laying beneath the beautiful and shining face of God.  I was transported by the strength of the light, as I often am in the summer months.  I wonder, how much greater is the shining glory of God than the face of the sun which is, at times, more beauty that I can endure.

I thought to myself, as I lay there in the sunrise, that I needed to get up out of bed and find a way to photograph the sun in the forest but I couldn’t make myself roll out from underneath the blankets, so peaceful was the world, so handsome was Robert where he lay sleeping, so aware was I of my clattering human heart making gentle rings of joyful waves like a raindrop into infinite blue waters.  I watched the world outside of the Airstream window for a while before blinking and nodding my way back into sleep.IMG_2332

The cottonwood forest is filled with so much grace.  This grove is filled with especially graceful trees.  I can feel and see that they are of the same family, sired by the same grandfather tree — the resemblance of each tree to each other is uncanny.  Trees don’t grow like humans, instead of having a certain nose or wide set eyes, I see the way the trees here are similar in upwardness; they grow lanky, tall and straight, branching off into arcing crowns that sweep out in smooth, unbroken curves so that the edge of the forest seems to be bending towards me as I stand beneath the canopy; reaching for me, hoping to deposit silver stars in the pockets of my denim shirt.  I think they are reaching down to shake my hands, their branches are the tail of a crisp salute.  At ease, trees!  At ease!   Oh, you beautiful, stalwart companions. 

It’s truly a magnificent forest.  A handsome family of trees, if I ever saw one.  From where I stand I cannot see a single blighted, dead or rotting tree.  The undergrowth is lush, tender and bountiful.  I’m glad we landed here overnight.  I feel energized and soothed by this environment.

IMG_2261 IMG_2279

The birdsong is beautiful, a delightful chorus.  It has a slightly foreign sound to it.  I tell Robert it’s like being suddenly surrounded by Canadian accents when I travel home to Saskatoon.  It’s a sound that I fit into but have been away from long enough that suddenly hearing it again is a homecoming carefully seasoned with a peppering of strangeness.  I know this bird chorus, it’s a blend from a river that passes through grasslands, it’s an arrangement of bird noises similar to what I hear on my home river in Saskatchewan and I’m suddenly aware of how good it feels to be more North, more homeward.  Roots have snuck out of the heart that rests inside my chest.  I can feel them magnetically pulling me closer to the border, inching like caterpillars towards the Great Northern Plains and the wide open sky of that place.  I am headed home.  Home.IMG_2284 IMG_2297 IMG_2315 IMG_2330




IMG_0899 IMG_1920Keep an eye out on the highway and be sure to give a little honk and wave if you see a burly Dodge Cummins towing a 30 foot Sovreign Landyacht with Idaho plates and an orange smokejumper decal on the rear end.  That’s us.  We’ll be sure to wave back; we always do!


On Working Hard For Something Special

Most every day, as soon as I step into the Airstream to dabble with work, I find myself feeling kind of amazed.  With myself, with Robert, with life…with Goodness.

I.  Worked.  So.  Hard.

For this Airstream.

For a portable studio space.

For the right to live where my husband lives in the summertime.

For the health and well being of my marriage and a nomadic lifestyle.

How did I do it?  I did it the old fashioned way!  I slaved in the studio until I had enough profit from my work (after paying the mortgage, buying groceries, paying all other living expenses and resupplying my work materials…) for us to purchase this big old rig.  Then, I funded the refurbishing, and continue to fund the refurbishing with the profits from my work.  It’s been a pure kind of business funding business.  No credit cards.  No loans.  No inheritance to squander.  No nothing, besides elbow grease, early mornings and late nights.  And let me tell you, it hasn’t been cheap.  Not even remotely.  With that said, let me also say that Robert has toiled and worked his head off his broad and attractively well-muscled shoulders doing all the physical construction work on the refurbishing of the Airstream and he is, as you all know by now, utterly incredible and painstakingly perfectionist in all his project work.  To put it lightly, he is my better half.

When we hooked up the Airstream to the truck in May and hauled it up to Washington, I spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror as we streaked down the highway feeling so thankful and grateful and proud and pleased as punch for this thing we had toiled for.  This thing we bled for, cried for, lost sleep over.  The Airstream is a tangible result of our work, our team work.  It’s so special and remarkable.  I appreciate it every single moment of every single day.

Anyhow, today I found myself wondering about what special thing you have worked for lately?  Big or small.  A perfect party dress, a bigger chunk of free time, new nail polish, a house, a horse, land to put a house and horse on…a pair of Frye boots,  a truck, a tattoo, a piece of art, a fancy dinner out, a vitamix (!!!), new shoes for your babies, opera tickets, a trip home…tell me about it.  If you are in the midst of working hard for something, I want to know about it.  I want to be a tiny part of that dream you are bringing true.  Will you share?


I feel I should add that I didn’t want this post to be about *listing everything* we want in the comment section like materialistic fiends.  I realize not all the examples I listed were purely noble or brilliant in nature…I just spewed out a random list of stuff.  I also want to state that I don’t think it’s wrong to want things and have things.   Not at all.  This is all to say I have been thrilled that of the ten comments left on this post so far, the responses are REAL responses, wonderful responses, from hard working folks. Beautiful dreams. Wonderful success stories.  Just what I was hoping for.

I did want to make you stop and think about why you work, or why your spouse works, about life goals and paths because I am in a place where I’m looking broadly at my life and am ready to set fresh goals and take new directions. As always, thanks for taking the time to respond.