Weekend Coffee Share 5/20/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be bundled up in sweaters with our mugs clutched closely to our chests.  It’s been rainy and cold this week–good for reading and sleeping, bad for all the farmers who have work to be done.  I had picked out a colorful spring outfit to wear to work this morning, but the moment I stepped out of bed my body was like, “NOPE.”  So it’s back to cozy sweaters.

I’ve got a busy weekend ahead of me.

This afternoon, I’ll be getting coffee with a dear friend who recently returned from three months in England.  She stayed at the same ministry, L’Abri, that I did a year ago.  I’m excited to hear about her experience and gush about how much we miss it. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 2/18/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be lounging in the sunshine with our drinks of choice.  I’d be in a light flannel and we’d be watching the crusty piles of snow turn slowly to puddles.  We’re in a remarkably warm stretch of weather–unusual for Minnesota this time of year.

Good weather like this reminds me of a scene in the film Lars and the Real Girl.  After going bowling, Lars and Margo linger outside chatting about the weather like good Midwesterners.  Lars comments that it’s been warm lately and spring is on the way.  Margo replies, “It’s just a thaw.  Spring doesn’t come until Easter.”

So, while the sunshine and warmth is amazing, I’m not getting my hopes up.  It’s just a thaw.  We’ll probably have a new foot of snow by next week. Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share: Training Wheels

If we were having coffee, we’d be cross-legged on the carpet wearing sweatshirts, sweaters, or flannels–take your pick!  The past few days have been rainy and cool.  It’s a welcome relief from the usual August heat and humidity.  Summers in Minnesota are so short.  I feel like I should be soaking in the sunshine and enjoying the chance to wear shorts.  Really, though, all I want is fall to come.  I’m ready for flannels, sweaters, leggings, scarves, and boots again.  I’m ready for crisp mornings and the smell of falling leaves.

In the meantime, the cool mornings have helped me be really productive.  I’ve been able to complete several of the small, around-the-house tasks I’ve been putting off for weeks. Continue reading

On the Road Beyond Hancock

Today, I’m trying something different.  Here comes a poem…

afternoon fog lingers over the countryside

———-

fields do not roll…

they stretch, one after another

after another

after…

———-

the air I breathe is solid and white

it glimmers and the sunshine cannot break its hold

———-

as I pass by,

the silver patches

of tree branches laden with glisten & glaze

loom from the haze

winking

———-

is this real? I wonder

or is it all a dream?

———-

As I drove across the prairie yesterday afternoon, heading home from a visit to my college town, I found myself on unfamiliar roads in an afternoon fog.  The sun was shining, but I could not see more than twenty feet in front of me.  The land in that part of the state is unbelievably flat, with a big, open sky.  Everything was white–the air felt fathomless and empty.  Even though it was the middle of the afternoon, the trees were covered in hoar frost.  I pulled over to the side of the road, got out of my car, and spent several minutes taking in the view.

It felt like I had been dropped into a fairytale.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

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Thoughts From a Cold Boulder

My coat wasn’t quite warm enough, but I hardly cared.  Perched on my rock, it was not the bite of the wind that took my breath, but the blue of the water stretching for miles before my feet.

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Panorama of my view from my iPhone.

Duluth, Minnesota is an old industrial town.  Perched on the Westernmost tip of Lake Superior, it’s an important harbor and port for ships bringing goods and services across the Great Lakes.  Before settling to soak in the view, I had the pleasure of watching one of the enormous freight ships slip into the harbor, skirting gracefully under the iconic lift bridge.  Strolling along the boardwalk, old manufacturing warehouses and mills (now hotels, shops, and restaurants) on one side and, on the other, the endless lake.  I’ve been coming to this city since I was a little girl.  The boardwalk, the worn brick buildings, the lake–they’re all part of me.

My nose was beginning to run, but I perched along the shore anyways.  In that moment, soaking in the beauty of the sunlight glistening on the waves, a deep peace settled over my spirit.

The past few weeks have been a torrent of upheaval–from persisting unhappiness to my job to arranging to leave the country in January to terrorist attacks and political strife.

It felt so good to get away, to sleep in a bed twice the size of my own, to eat pizza in front of a hotel TV as my brother gushed about Star Wars.  It felt good to look out my window and see city, not forest or fields.  It felt good o walk along the boardwalk, to sit on the rocks, to watch the ships come into harbor.

It blows me away how crazy this world is.  Things are always changing and I am no exception.  I don’t know what the adventures ahead have in store.  I don’t know how my experiences will shape me and who I will become.  This both terrifying and liberating.

I can’t help but think of the quote from which this blog is named:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien

Moments like these ones, silently dwelling in the places that have known me for so long, give me the courage to take that leap.  The peace that dwells in my innermost being gives me the strength to see what’s out in the world and discover who I’m going to be next.

November Thunderstorm

It’s unusual for rain this time of year.  After a beautiful Fall, November waltzes in tossing sleet and snow like a flower girl at a wedding.  It’s a miserable time–no leaves on the trees, dead grass, and no snow to cover the mess.

Tonight, though.  Tonight I’m taking refuge at a friend’s hundred year-old farmhouse.  Rain pounds on the window and thunder rumbles through the bones of the building.  You can feel the rumble through the floorboards.

Mmmmmmmm.

Thunderstorms are one of my favorite parts of summer.  I love sitting on my front steps with Dad watching the clouds roll in.  When the lightning gets too frequent, we move indoors and listen.

Having a storm in November feels like a belated birthday gift.

Time for tea, a sweater, and a good movie.

Photo from Unsplash
Photo from Unsplash

To a Rainy Day (Writing 101, Day 9)

Dear Rainy Day,

I’m in love with you. The thunder that presses against my windows send a shiver of pleasure down my spine. The pattering of raindrops makes me feel cozy and safe.

Yet… How am I supposed to get anything done with your constant pestering?

You inspire the desire to shirk all responsibility. I can’t stop thinking about you. I want to spend time with you, to stand in your downpour and get soaked to the skin. I want to soak you in.

I want to curl up in a sweater and leggings in a large chair and watch you transform the normally vibrant colors out the window to a mass of fuzzy grey. I want to drink tea and read poetry aloud, letting the cadence of the words rumble in time with your thunder.

Will you wait for me, Rainy Day? Will you linger until my work is done? Will you save up a whisper so, when I crawl in bed tonight, you can sing me to sleep?

All my love,

Amelia

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This post is inspired by an assignment for the Blogging University class Writing 101: Finding Everyday Inspiration.

For a similar post, check out my breakup letter to Virginia Woolf.

Weekend Coffee Share: Fall, Family, and KITTENS!

If we were having coffee, we’d be lounging on my couch watching rain dribble down the large windows of my living room.  My hands would be cupped around my favorite mug covered in Shakespearean insult typography and yours would hold a mug shaped like a large, round penguin.  (I hope you like penguins.)  Our chat would be a quick one–I have to head to work soon.

After exchanging pleasantries, I would probably spend a great deal of time complaining about the heat.  If you live  the tropics or desert, you’d scoff and roll your eyes.  It’s perfectly justified–eighty-five degrees and humidity, no big deal.  But, you see, it’s September.  September means sweatshirt-and-shorts weather–the best kind.  I don’t think it follows the rules of fashion, but there are few things more satisfying than wearing a sweatshirt and shorts.  Is this a Minnesota thing?  Or do people where you live do this too?  Anyways, as much as I love summer, I am ready for the weather to cooperate with the season.  The time for heat is past.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my younger brother, Sam, went back to college.  In typical little brother fashion, he’s really annoying and drives me crazy most of the time.  I would tell you about the weird/creepy things he does, but am reluctant to post such things on the internet for the sake of privacy.  So, if we ever meet in person, you’ll just have to ask.  I’m going to miss having Sam around.  This summer has been the most time I’ve spent with him in four years, since I started college.  We worked together every day and now I’m the only child in the house.  Who am I going to fight with now?

If we were having coffee, you would hear all about the kittens we found this week.  When you live on a farm you usually have barn cats.  Our resident mama cat, BooBoo, is pushing fourteen years and has stopped having babies, which means childbearing duties have fallen to our other female cat.  She’s had multiple names over the years, but we’ve finally settled on Gollum Kitty due to a cough that persisted most of the summer.

Aren't they the cutest?
Aren’t they the cutest?

To say it nicely, Gollum Kitty isn’t the most intelligent feline out there.  She’s also quite small, despite being two years old.  When I heard little mews coming from the bushes by my house, I was shocked to find not a kitten or two (which is usual for Gollum Kitty), but SEVEN.  They’re only a couple of weeks old, but their eyes are open and are just starting to explore.  Five of them are white with different colored spots, one is sandy with white feet, and one is all black.

When I visit the kittens, I feel like a little kid again.  All I want to do is pet them.  Last night, during the groggy moments between sleeping and waking, the kittens were always on my mind.  I woke up this morning to a thunderstorm and my first thoughts were devoted to their safety.  (It turns out, my dad got up early and moved them from the bushes to one of our cat houses.  So they’re safe.)  It’s only been a day and my parents are sick of hearing me gush about how much I love the little fur balls.  They’ve charged me with taming them–a task I’m a little too excited about.

I just glanced at the clock and it’s time to head to work.  But before I go–what would you share if we were having coffee?

This post is part of the Weekend Coffee Share link-up at Part Time Monster

Crossing Campus in Late March

Minnesotans wait a long time for Spring.  Winter marks its territory in November and stays with us until mid-April.  The month of March is the most difficult to get through–most of the snow is gone, the ground is starting to soften, but most of the world is still a frozen wasteland.

But then there’s that day when you catch it: the slight scent of spring.  I don’t even know how to describe it, really.  It’s just a subtle freshness in the air.  It’s slight, but it seeps down into your soul, giving you fresh energy to make it through a few more weeks of winter.  The thing is, though, if you don’t pay attention, you miss it.

A few years ago, during a particularly long, miserable winter, I was in a poetry class.  I don’t do much creative writing these days, but I’ve resurrected something I wrote on the subject of the first scent of spring.  I re-edited it just now to make it decent enough to post. In light of a Blogging 101 assignment (which I discuss below), I’ve decided to share it with you all.  My theme wasn’t cooperating and formatting some of the words the way I wanted, so I made an image version.

———————————————— CrossingCampus Poem Text ————————————————

This post was created for a Blogging 101 assignment that had to do with writing based on a prompt.  I wrote from the following, found on The Daily Post:

From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?

I’ve always enjoyed prompt-based writing, but I haven’t done any in a long time.  I really enjoyed crafting this post, revisiting old writing, and sharing with you all.  This stretched me in a way I’m not used to, and it feels good to push myself.

You now know about one of my favorite smells.  So now I have to ask: What’s yours?

In which writing my senior seminar strips away my ability to blog.

Maybe it’s because really nice out, which is odd for Minnesota this time of year.  Or maybe I’ve spent too many afternoons pent-up in the library writing essay drafts.  Whatever the reason, every time I open WordPress to make a new post, my thoughts fly out the window.  My mind goes blank.  I sit back.  I think, “You know… maybe I’ll find the words tomorrow.”

I don’t want to abandon you, dear blog, especially when there is so much pre-graduation nostalgia floating in the air.  There’s not better way to make a good post than channeling as much sentimentality as possible!

Really, though, my focus is elsewhere at this point.

I’m a busy girl.

My senior seminar draft is in full swing–I hit sixteen pages this afternoon!  It’s nowhere near complete, but it’s a start.  I’ve spent three afternoons on it and fully intend on using a fourth tomorrow.  I wrote a different nine page essay earlier this week.  I’ve been thinking deep thoughts about Romeo & Juliet, which is WAY better than I remember last time we met back in ninth grade.  I have an interview for my dream internship next week.  I’m reading this AWFUL book for my Courtly Love class called The Rules: Time-tested secrets for capturing the heart of Mr. Right.  (It’s one of the most sexist, offensive texts I’ve encountered yet.  My face contorts with disgust every time I look at the cover.)  I’ve been planning and attending Bible studies and meetings, preparing for my future career in ministry.  I’ve been trying to spend time with people I care about, which is a challenge ’cause it’s the busy time of the semester.  I’ve been going to the gym, taking walks to the wind turbines, and soaking in as much sunlight as possible in hopes that it will keep me going.

At this point, I’d rather do all these things and more than try to blog properly.  Maybe when my senior seminar draft is finished and polished, my inclination to write will come back.  Who knows?

Until then, you can find me in the library.  Or watching Netflix.  Or thinking about Shakespeare.  (I wasn’t kidding about being in love with Romeo & Juliet.  It’s a wonderful play and those poor kids need to learn to keep their hormones in check.)