Success Is a Word with a Hidden Trap

Appalachian Autumn

It’s Autumn, finally. The forest empties herself. Before there’s even a real flash of color the Buckeyes have already dropped all their leaves. They are, after all, the early birds of spring, putting out leaves before any other trees. They have made their gleaming nuts and gone to bed before anyone else. The wild cherry is done just as the black birches start to put on their   yellow dresses. Some trees are all about the party that is Fall, and others are already asleep.

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Why I Keep Writing

handprintsTen years ago we installed a big black wood stove in our home. It was our first home-improvement project. We tore out cabinets and poured a concrete hearth four inches thick. While the concrete was still wet we pressed our hands into it, leaving an arrangement of handprints that grew in size.  When the concrete dried we heaved our beneficent iron giant onto it, and luxuriated in its heat winter after winter (Really there is nothing like wood heat). Our intention was to tile the hearth and the wall behind the stove someday. Surprise, that someday never came.

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How I Found My Path to Aliveness

Sketch of Grasses and Galax by Stephanie Thomas Berry{Sketch of Grasses and Galax ~ 7 March 2015}

My friend Whitney calls me at 10 am on a brilliant and warm Saturday morning and says hike?My tail wags expectantly.
I have thirty minutes. I will have to hurry because I am still in my pajamas. Amazingly I arrive only 14 minutes late.

There is another woman joining us, Michelle. I have not spent a lot of time with her so I’m looking forward to that. Michelle is lean and fit and she has a watch with a little GPS thing that tells her how far she’s hiked or run, and then maps out where she went. She tells a story about tiring out her half-marathon-running-sister on a hike. I know I am out of my league here. I am neither lean nor fit nor even a tenth-marathon runner. Whitney, I already know from experience, can sleek up a mountainside like a rambling cat—quiet, efficient, and fast. I began to feel anxious. I love to hike, but I don’t want to slow these women down.

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The Sloth Life: a cure for what ails us


Last week I went on an amazing hike from the valley floor to the top of Mount Mitchell. Two dear friends were with me, mommas all. Never mind the blaze of Autumn color–it was the the regal, dark brilliance of the tall Spruce People that spoke to me. And I couldnt stop and listen. We had to rush, a bit, to get to the summit, because we had to pick up our kids. This is not a complaint, but an observation. Life moves at a quick pace, even when you are recreating.

I have a t-shirt that bears the advice, “Live Slow.” It also has a sloth on it. I like sloths and I think it’s very interesting that they are named after a deadly sin. Not that anyone cares about that so much anymore, but what moralist would have thought that a deadly sin would become necessary to balance the pace of life?

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