Shifting Sand

I believe in sunny afternoons in out-of-the-way parks. In thick, just-shy-of-scratchy blankets. In grass left stuck to the inside-out side. In detours for emergency snacks. In bulk bin trail mix. In no M&M left behind.


I believe in the occasional hour of Nothing Too Exciting. (In planning it. In saying “no” sometimes, to preserve it.)


I believe in bringing a book wherever you go. In feeling inordinately pleased, all by yourself. In slow-sipping something not too hot, not too cold.


I believe in top sheets left untucked. In pretty pillows put on the floor [temporarily]. In windows flung wide open, whenever/wherever possible.


I believe in clouds passing, seasons changing, plants blooming. (Yadda, yadda, yadda — yeah, I know. Permission to bring home another plant baby?)


I believe in steering clear of people who JUST SAY NO to pizza, pasta, cookies, cake. I believe in asking for what you need. (Even if it’s in an email, and it took you 18 months to put it in a postscript and press Send. What I really need to hear is that you will love me no matter what. No matter what I look like. No matter what I’m doing for work. No matter how much money I’m making, or whether or not I’ve been able to make you proud.)


I believe in doing things just a tiny bit before you’re ready. I believe in feelings coming and going. I believe in doing whatever you need to do to make sense of them while you’re with them, but also in coming to terms with yourself and agreeing to look mostly forward, ahead.


Lately I believe in something my friend Bryce shared a little while ago, about life being like a double helix. I won’t attempt to illustrate it as beautifully as she did, but the gist of it is: we’re all moving continually up this strand. And although at times we might feel like we’re in the exact same place, we aren’t. It’s possible we’re in the same position, but now there’s all of the wisdom and growth of the time and space between rungs on the ladder.


She wrote “that feels good and true and gives me a new/different vantage point from which to survey my life.” And I agree.

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This was a good week. This is a better trajectory. I don’t feel so much like I’m stagnating anymore. Like I’m waiting for life to begin, but half hoping it won’t.


It’s been a little rocky getting back into the swing of things (remember to feel proud when you eat more, not less; remember for you it’s harder to stay home than it is to go to the gym), but it’s easier than it was last time. I have the answers to the questions I’d had. Would I be happier thin? More lovable? 

I’m uncomfortable now, but at the same time, this is familiar territory. And it’ll be that way right up until it’s not, and then it will be better than it ever was before. Not because anybody promised — because I’m going to make sure of it.



“The air smells like gently frying garlic and oil. It reminds me of home, and for a moment my breath catches in my throat. I have a vague and distant memory and there’s that same smell, oil and garlic in a pan — the way all good meals start. The beginning smell.” -Hannah Tunnicliffe

“I missed the ocean. The way its saltiness would fill up my senses and make even the texture of my skin feel different after a few days. I had this ritual. I’d walk down to the beach in my bare feet and stride right into the water up to my knees. I’d stand there and stare out at the vastness, feeling the pull of the current sucking at the sand between my toes. I had this thought: If I could plant my feet in shifting sand, everything would be all right. -Catherine McKenzie


“I water you, you water me; we grow together.” -Brandon Nembhard

“I began to understand that all of life is practice: writing, driving, hiking, brushing teeth, packing lunch boxes, making beds, cooking dinner, making love, walking dogs, even sleeping. We are always practicing. Only practicing.” -Dani Shapiro

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“Know yourself and go in swinging.” -Patrick Ness

“People think you have to know what you want to do with your life by the time you’re nineteen. Wrong! Or that you have to be in a significant relationship in your twenties. Wrong! It’s all just nonsense.” -Tilda Swinton

“You really didn’t see the sadness or the longing unless you already knew it was there. But that was the trick, wasn’t it? Everyone had their disappointment and their baggage; only, some people carried it in their inside pockets and not on their backs.” -Maggie Stiefvater


“There were times when I knew how you felt and it was hell to know it.” -Vladimir Nabokov

“It never ends, the bruise of being.” -Kevin Young

“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.” -Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


“If you think you’ve got to sweep the reality of your brokenness under the rug in order for someone to love you, you don’t know what love is.” -LB

“When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.” -Stephen Covey

“I think love looks like stepping closer — not so that your voice would be heard any louder, but so that you might be better equipped to hear.” -LB


“If you see beauty in something, don’t wait for others to agree.” -Sherihan Gamal

“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle.” -David Nicholls

“I know there are terrible people out there but I also know that there are people who stop and smile at tiny plants growing out of sidewalk cracks, people who compliment others randomly, people who ramble about things that they’re passionate about, people who blush and stutter, people who are kind, people who are warm, people who love and love and love and love.” -Unknown


“And when you see those good things — and I promise you, there are so many good things –they’re going to be so much brighter for you than they are for other people, just like the abyss always seems deeper and bigger when you stare at it. If you stick it out, it’s all going to feel worth it in the end. Every moment you live, every darkness you face, they’ll all feel worth it when you’re staring light in the face.” -Emily Henry


“It seemed like a great sign that we should meet again so soon. And whether or not it actually was a sign, the crucial thing is that we were both willing to see it as such.” -Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts

“I think that’s what scares me: the randomness of everything. That the people who could be important to you might just pass you by. Or you pass them by.” -Peter Cameron


“‘Life is suffering,’ she says. ‘Always?’ I sound like a child. She reaches over and takes my hand. ‘Not always.’ I swallow. I can barely whisper, ‘When is it not?’ ‘Oh, darling. Just when it’s not. When the sun shines and the bees make honey. When you’re with people who love you. When you find treasures — like morels and fiddleheads and huckleberries. When there’s toast.’” -Hannah Tunnicliffe


{Good Coffee cup via @charbeckcoffee, daintiest decor via @verdenius, Barista cup via @charbeckcoffee, lightning via @robbyzabala, succulents via @alison_wu, killer commute via @theplaidshirt, Wiesendanger Falls via @andresmedina, Cape Flattery via @kylekotajarvi, roses via @annaremarchuk, Yaquina Head Lighthouse viewfinder via @bethkellmer, foggy mountain via @theplaidshirt, Rowena Crest sunflowers via @ilangenhuysen, cherry blossom carpet via @justbsmiling_, brunch via @tribesnpines, sunrise via @russellpenny, Portland traffic via @lovewasher — all on Instagram.}


7 thoughts on “Shifting Sand

  1. Bask in the sense of feeling something has shifted – if even for just a moment! I am happy for you. I find your own writing more powerful than the quotes you include. I love the quotes too- just not quite as much.

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