Living With Purpose

The world moves, and moves on. One minute, then the next. by Christina Rosalie

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One minute everything is flaming up grandly, and the next, it seems desperate and desolate in the small fire pit at our feet that we've fashioned out of smooth beach stones. Every visible flame has licked itself to ash. Coals glowing on the blackened undersides of logs, but nothing more. Then the wind shifts direction, and up the flames lift. Flames bright and filled with sudden roaring heat. Sparks skid off into the dwindling light as the sun sinks down.
Beyond us, at the shoreline the waves lip at the rocks like a pony at a handful of sugar. Then fresh waves ride in slantwise, full of vim, and crash headlong into the rocks causing spray to skid off into the dusk.
Steadily, the earth turns. Each day, we arrive and are made new.
In the car, driving to the beach we hit the 1.5 hour mark and all of us have had enough. We're sick of each other, sick of the sound of our own chatter. In a no-service zone, even satellite radio plays only the crappiest songs. Everything feels suddenly feels claustrophobic and close, and the coast seems like a horribly stupid idea. But then, out the window passing wetlands, a hundred birds lift into the golden winter air. They twirl and lift in a sudden exquisite ballet, and all of us see them, and as we drive on, we're different. We pass around cheese sandwiches. We start the alphabet game: Antennas on the hill. A red barn across the way. Cars. A dog in a truck. Electrical wires. Fences.
So the world moves, and moves on. One minute, then the next.
Sitting watching the fire I realize how intensely I live into each moment. How easily I'm fooled into believing it's a forever state, a constant. How my default is often still to power through or run when things feel dire or off kilter. Clam up, or tirade. Fight or flight.
Yet after the fire nearly dies three times, and I throw everything into it's rekindling: smoke in my face, armloads of small driftwood sticks, sparks in my hair, I give up. Let go; try just sitting back observing. And the fire dwindles. And rekindles. On its own. The day becomes night. We sip wine. The boys dig holes. One minute they laugh. The next they yell. Water seeks its own level, and holes fill; every ember flares up to live its promise as a flame.

A wonder-filled new year by Christina Rosalie

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We went, just before the New Year to the high dessert. To a place of cold air and saturated hues, big skies bigger quiet. The kind of quiet that reminds you what you are, and also, what you hope to be.
Among the topography of the dessert you feel time differently. Where the landscape looks Mars and bears the memory of Paleolithic beasts, you understand what you are, and realize that becoming means more than this day or even this life.
Time here tells not of daily things: hurry up, finish up, let's go, come on, make it happen. But rather, galactic evidence. You are here. Part of everything. Breathing and alive. A speck on this spinning planet. A spark, a fleck, some inkling of the beyond.
I did what I haven't done in years: lay down in the snow with my face towards the sky and let the quiet take hold of me until my heart began to thrum in tune with the painted hills. Thrum with the truth of their the vibrations; of the pebbles red and ocher and green; of distant tectonic shifts; of volcanic ash; of other landscapes, submerged, fiery, then cooling; of the, the earth spinning, spinning around the spirit sun. The sun that painted the landscape indescribable hues of gold and lavender in the long light of afternoon. The sun that flirted with the moon all day. The sun, the moon, the spinning desert that held me. And then my word for 2015 found me.
A word born of the blue, blue sky, and the gibbous moon, the golden dessert, and the silence.


Happy New Year, friends. May it be truly wonder-filled.

Say yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found by Christina Rosalie

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One must say Yes to life and embrace it wherever it is found — and it is found in terrible places. ...For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock.  — James Baldwin

Out the window, the Japanese maple has become a cloud of golden stars, quivering in the late November air. Inside, during the day I watch the sky pass. I look up from where I sit and watch the clouds. I like to think their passing is evidence of a world more real than mine at the screen and on the page. A world we all improbably share. A moon that follows us in orbit. Seasons, in spite of injustice, ebola, homicide, unrest.
How is it possible for any human's heart not to ache at what's happened? What keeps happening?
How is it possible for any of us to go on living at all, nodding to strangers as we pass, holding loved ones hands, offering beggars what we have, planning for Thanksgiving. There is so much hunger, need, anguish, guilt, loss. Each of us lives it in some way, and then beyond us, the world mirrors it back ten fold. One thousand fold.

At the table my boys are looking at a Lego catalog. They're talking about which figures are the bad guys and which are the good ones, and most importantly, which ones have guns.
"Stop," I say. I can't help it. "Guns are awful."
"But mommy," Sprout says, "The good guys need them so they can shoot the crooks."
It's a new word he's been using. Crooks. I have no idea where it came from. We don't watch TV, and they don't play video games.
"What makes a crook?" I want to know.
"They're the bad guys, Mommy, obviously." He says.
"Even bad guys have mommies," I say then. I don't know where I'm going with this, only that I want him to understand that every life matters, even in play.
I know we all seek ways to live out epic battles of archetype and wonderment, and kids do this in their play, regardless of the toys they have at their disposal. Good versus evil. Life and death. Tragedy and comedy. Still, there is a way that entertainment both glorifies and objectifies the things that terrify us in real life: brutality, horror, human fallibility. We become convinced that guns are necessary for fighting the "bad guys." We claim we need them for our freedom.
Nothing makes me more devastated than this stupid, erroneous claim.
I know there are many things at play in each instant, in each case of brutality or heroism (the Taxi Driver incredibly portrays how fine a line it is between them.) But with guns, every instant ends with a certain absolute failure.
Guns are the weakest excuse. The failure of bravery; the bluntest accomplice of aggression, our greatest fears and shortcomings masquerading as our strength. With guns, every mistake is fatal, and every victory is fatal too.
How is this the way we choose to live?

The world offers up its beauty and its terror, never equally. And each day we arrive in the morning of our lives anew. It's up to us to choose to courageous, to be honest, to be true .

Happiest Thanksgiving to you, dear friends. I'm so grateful you find your way here.

What I remember + what I know by Christina Rosalie

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset I didn’t mean to stop, only, there it is. Life has a way of finding you, amidst your best intentions. I love what this small challenge inspired. A rash of brilliant posts by my friend Amanda; photos to take your breath away my other dear friend Hilary, who always needs to be nudged to document; and a handful of other daily glimpses from friends and readers I don’t know, but feel like I know just the same.
I intended to keep on, but then the weekend came. Weekends have a way of filling up to the gills lately, and after the weekend, a work trip to Texas, planned to be short, but made longer by a cancelled flight and extra night on the way home in Phoenix, Arizona. So there it is, back to back days without a single chance to gather the moments here. To upload the images, or record the observations as they happened, though there are many notes scrawled in my notebook or jotted in the notes app on my phone. A chronology of circumstance. A record of the small things, and the big. Sentences that happened only in fits and starts, but never here.
What I remember is the heat in Texas and the rain that turned the sky to black. The century plants and cactuses that reminded me of my earliest years in Los Angeles. The heat of a blue sky filling with thunderheads, while down below we ate ate eggplant fries, and truffle oil reveled eggs, and catfish tacos.
Then non-time of the airport, reading Inc. cover to cover, and Elle, and also Fast Company, and feeling the ways something shifts in my brain when I have long stretches just to read and think. Ideas have a way of magnetizing then, like finding like; fragments converging.
What I remember is coming back so tired in the morning that after a cup of hot tea and checking email I took a nap, wakening hours later and not knowing immediately where the edges of dream ended and reality began. There, in bed with the dog curled by my hip, I let myself float in a way I rarely get to: between sleep and dreaming where thoughts are buoyant and things have wings.
There, and also in every waking instant, I’ve been thinking now about my new book. There are two actually. The ideas bookend each other. The narratives make a dialog, an equation, an equilibrium. I'm curious if I can pull it off.
What I remember is the sweetness of my boy’s when they came home from camp. Their hailstorm of yells and shouts finding me there at the doorway at the end of the day. Their arms around my neck, their kisses on my sounders, cheeks. Their fingers in my hair, and even still with them under foot, a different kind of kiss. Stirring, sweeter, finding T’s heat mirroring my own.
Then the weekend, dawning with rain. Making a raspberry crumble to share at dinner with friends. The biggest rainbow we’ve seen. The boys shouts. The first firecrackers for the Fourth echoing down the street. Twilight. Then Sunday morning bacon and good coffee. Painting the guest bedroom a fresh white. Baked chicken and mashed potatoes on the new walnut outdoor table T made by hand. White wine in handblown glasses. Watching the walnut leaves blow in the wind.
What I remember is this: to show up and to try is all it takes. To show up with the intention always is the start. I begin. I keep going. I go until I find my way. That, in the end, is all I know.
Now there is a reckless, rag tag folder now of drafts in Scrivner. It’s raw and new, but no matter. The beginning is here.
This is how it happens, friends. A book, or anything else. Any body of work, any essay, or dream, or plan begins with showing up; with training the mind to bow at the simple task of arrival, noticing the world.   #the5x5xchallenge

BTV to PDX Day 3: Chicago to Omaha by Christina Rosalie

It took a half a day to leave Chicago, and after that it took even longer to find ourselves at the edge of the Great Planes, crossing into the wide expanse of prairie that is Nebraska. It wasn't what any of us expected. We'd been warned about boredom; about the endless flat expanse of field and sky, but none of us were bored. Even in the back seat, the boys seemed lulled by the wideness of sky and grass: Reading books and drawing pictures and watching the world go by. Lunch on the banks of the fast-moving Mississippi
Outside, the landscape was a soft and rippling quilt of grass and cottonwoods and creeks and farms with circular irrigation systems. The kind that from above make great round crop circles. Wheat fields, and also, genetically modified corn. Miles of it. Newly planted. The earth raw, the day ending slowly. Violet and vermillion for hours as we chased the sun west.
Omaha after dark, later than we'd planned. Carrying the boys in from the car. Falling into bed heavy-lidded and grateful to all be there together, and then waking early to hard-falling rain.

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Leaving + Lucky by Christina Rosalie

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I feel so unbelievably lucky. Thank you to everyone who snatched up artwork. It was the fastest pay-what-you-can studio sale I've ever had. So fast in fact, that I had no chance to open it up to everyone. The good news: I'll be offering another sale this summer with lots more bird paintings (so much love for those, and so many requests!) and, just as soon as I get settled I'll be making a sweet postcard pack with gorgeous glossy prints of all the birds. That should be available at the end of May. I put some work up here, just for you to take a peak if you'd like.
It's been a week.
Wrapping projects, saying goodbye, and planning for things to come. I've been listening to this playlist on repeat, and periodically bursting into tears. The moments collide. Everything possible. Everything lost. Everything new.
Saying goodbye sucks. There are people here who are a part of my heart. People who make me smile every single time I think of them. I want them all to come West with us. (Maybe they will. A girl can hope.)
Because of the way spring break happens for the kids, yesterday was their last day of school. We've been the luckiest with their teachers. So good. So intuitive and skilled and heartfelt. The boys came home with goodbye cards and treasures from the year. They'll land in a new school, find new friends, chart new paths of course. They'll find their stride in summer camp. All of it. Still.
Their last day at this school felt precious and abrupt. Like it wasn't real. Like it didn't happen. Except there it is: a book from Sprout's class and teacher, "To the boy with the sunlight in his eyes." They know him well. Whenever he talks about moving he refers to our new geography in it's entirety. "To Portland, Oregon." It isn't a real place yet. The only place that's real is here, amidst boxes. He's found the packing paper and has turned it into a wide drawing surface: tall castles and taller trees.
Bean is off with his friends, saying goodbye in his own boyish ways. Playdates one after the next: biking and tree forts and inventions. Exchanging addresses. Mailing pre-emptive letters. It's only pretend-real to both of them.
"Mommy," Bean says with a playful gleam in his eyes. "I know that you and Daddy are the Easter Bunny."
I look at him: tousled hair, black and white checkered Vans, his skinny shoulders in a soft grey sweatshirt, his hands full of electric circuit board equipment. How is any of this possible at all?
The inevitable flow of time.
The way we move on: grow, and outgrow ourselves over and over again.
Here we go.

The biggest adventure: forever, then all of a sudden by Christina Rosalie

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The winter stayed and stayed. Snow came, then fell again with a vengeance, white, whiter, small hills gathering curbside. Softer snow layered with frozen rain and sleet. Our own glacial record, keeping the things we lost: A single mitten, pocket change, our sense of permanence, the feeling of home. It was the coldest year on record. Biting. Sharp. I spent from November until April in Sorrel boots; wore my grey woolen beanie hat indoors; stopped smiling at strangers (not for lack of interest but because it required too much exposure of cheek and neck). The days grew longer, but the cold lasted. And along with it, a growing, restlessness, a gradual anxiety; a realization that this, here, might not be enough anymore for many reasons. Some more complicated than others. The least of them being the weather, but the most acceptable to share about here.
In retrospect the universe was probably conspiring. In the moment it felt like everything skittered right up against the edge. Things happened slowly, then all of a sudden. It felt like it feels when you almost fall on black ice, but catch yourself just before and walk away, your heart still beating hard.
Everywhere else spring arrived. I watched on Instagram. People had cherry blossoms, camellias, daffodils by the arm-full. Here, it was snow or days of spitting sleet. Temperatures in the low teens. Hunched shoulders. Worry. The feeling of having outgrown our circumference. Uneven footing. A flirtation with change. The idea of moving West. An inkling. A passing remark here. A half finished sentence there. What-ifs showing up in my morning pages; the words “spend more time on the Pacific” in my 37 before 37 list; and then we started looking in earnest. Then we flew out, fell in love with the city of roses and bridges, saw friends, ate so much good food, interviewed many places, and T landed his dream job.
Or something. Something like that. Sort of. Minus the hundred thousand anxious moments. Minus all the things beyond our control. Minus the anxiousness stitched together to make days, and the logistical conversations we had over and over again on repeat.
Now of course we forget it all. We forget the way we hunched against the cold because today there is sun, and sun, and sun. People are using leaf blowers. The neighbor's parakeets are flirting. Cardinals are making nests. The lake is melting, and the are is warm enough finally to sit in shirt sleeves, grinning.
And We’re moving.
Bittersweet. Wildly giddy. Thrilled beyond words. Tired. Heart-achy. Delighted.
And it’s all happening now, this very minute. We leave in 2 weeks. Hello Portland.
Finally I’m moving back. The Pacific is whispering. A new bungalow on a new street. A city to fall in love with. New paths to chart. New stories to tell.
And before that, goodbyes and then a cross-country road trip. The boys. The dog. A route mapped through Chicago and Wyoming and Idaho to see some of this big country for the first time. I can’t wait and I’m not ready. I’m over the moon, and I’m sad to be leaving friends behind.

Needless to say: I have added incentive to make the studio sale happen. I'm finishing a few pieces, and scanning them all. Fingers crossed it will go live tomorrow. Maybe Tuesday. Like always, it will be a pay-what-you-can sale, but I'll be setting a minimum this time just to offset materials and handling. I make all items available to my newsletter list first--then open up whatever's left to anyone who happens by this little blog after 24 hours. (Fair warning, last time everything sold in less than 12 hours.)

Ok.So enough about that. Tell me everything you know about moving. Cross-country trips. Portland. Everything. Love, C

Learning to exist at the edge of the unknown by Christina Rosalie

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DSC_9935 I wake up wanting wildness; wanting the long view; wanting to be somewhere at the edge of what I know. I can't explain it. It's feels exactly like hunger, and even after breakfast it is still there, gnawing in the pit of my belly, and so we go, all four of us.
We take chocolate and walnuts, and chai marsala tea. We wear boots, and layers and our warmest gloves. We drive North, to the Champlain islands, to where lake meets sky, the water frozen into a smooth wide sheet till it blurs, yellow and milky at the edge.
The boys have the right approach. They pile into the car ready for adventure, and climb out when we park, curious, wide-eyed, already running towards whatever they will fine. The unknown is an invitation, a lure, a wild promise.
For T and I it's harder. It requires effort to shake off expectations and preoccupations, and the ground is icy and uncertain beneath us.
My breath catches where my breastbones join.
The boys run ahead, propelled by innate curiosity and instinctive balance. They run out onto the ice following sled tracks, unafraid, reckless in their abandon to know whatever this is, this ice, this world at the edge, this day, this newness of now.
For them, sliding is play. Falling too is it's own wonder: a flirtation with gravity. A chance to be airborne and to come down again, hard and certain, but without the pain of height and the thud of inflexibility. I watch them as they fall, over and over on purpose. Running, they hurl themselves knees first toward the ice, then slide out ahead in a graceful uncontrolled arc, yelling with glee.
I yell warnings after them unheeded, and feel afraid I am of this. Of what I can't control.
Without planning, I've arrived exactly at the wild edge of the unknown that stirred me from sleep like a hunger, though when we left the house I didn’t for a moment picture it like this: ice as far as the eye can see, with fishermen dotting the horizon. We slip-slide past the holes they've left, drilled drilled down into the quiet dark, where Lake Perch swim slowly through still water without sun.
The boys want to poke their booted toes in; I imagine hypothermia. My voice snaps fiercely in the cold air. They look surprised. And when we come close to the shore, they walk along the lake’s broken lip where the cattails rattle, and as the ice cracks and bows under their weight, they laugh with glee and stamp harder. I bark warnings, imagining them sinking under.
So here I am, learning to exist at the edge of the unknown, where my fears rise up again and again. I am afraid what I can't control, of the things I do not know, of outcomes that aren't certain, of edges I don’t know how to trust.
It takes a long time for me to realize why I am here, skating on dark ice; how these these moments are exactly the metaphor I need.
My breath catches. I release it.
Out there, on the wide open of the icy lake the fishermen silently sit on over-turnned buckets, not moving at all.
Their stillness is a kind of knowing I must learn. Their patience quiet and long.
Wearing thick parkas with fur close to their cheeks, they watch the small hole at their feet for signs of life. Sometimes there is a flicker. Once, twice, they pull in a fish. But the point isn’t that quick action; that flick of wrist and tug of line. Waiting is. Waiting, until even that ceases to be the point, and they simply are. Being. Hearts beating a steady thunder under layers; breath gathering in the stillness above them, signaling a silent gracious prayer: to be alive. To be alive.

Just showing up by Christina Rosalie

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It's been a long time, hasn't it? Too long really to go back pick up the lost stitches of whatever came before right now. Too long to catch you upon all the where and what that was October.
Now, it is November. The light is ample while it lasts. Most days golden with a long slant to the light towards afternoon.The first hard frosts have come, shaking down the last of the gingko's golden leaves. On the mountains: snow. White on blue.
November is the season of sticks. God's architecture laid bare in the trees. Suddenly the back yard revels neighbor's yards and the topography of the adjacent hill covered with the fallen finery of golden leaves. The world feels naked and fragile now, before the snow. Everywhere the reminder: we are mere mortals.
A beautiful boy died in Sprout's kindergarten a few weeks ago, unexpectedly. Then the mother of a girl in the high school died too, trapped in a house fire. A friend tells me his marriage is falling apart.
We are all here briefly, this I know. And my prayers become profound in their simplicity: Hold us. Hold us with grace.
Sprout, with his big dark eyes keeps asking me to tell him about death. Bean asked the same kinds of questions at his age: tender, utterly unguarded, matter of fact.
"Will you die, when we're big, Mama?" Sprout asks from the back seat on the way to school.
Yes, then, or yes whenever. We're only held by a fragile thread.. The world calls us, we arrive, stay for a while, and if we're lucky, do good work.
And I've been pondering what doing good work means to me, with my heart on my sleeve and my holistic mind. I love to be consumed by my work. I love the single-minded focus of having something big and incredible to work on and work towards. And I love being a part of things that are greater than myself.
What about you? What does doing good work mean?
I keep circling around these questions as the the days grow brief.

In the stores shelves are cable knits and icelandic sweaters. Gift catalogs come in the mail.. The boys come in from out-of-doors with rosy cheeks. We light fires and gather close, celebrating St. Martin with our lanterns.
The year feels worn.
It was a year, wasn't it? For me at least, and for many of the ones I love this year brought radical change. Unexpected turbulence. The loss of things held dear.
I've been inward lately. Guarded. Quiet. Working on connecting the dots of next moves, and also on the work of self care. And yet I miss showing up here for the connection and solace and inspiration that I find from all of you.
I think for the rest of November I'd like to show up here each day with just a few photos and a handful of words.
I always want to do that, but then feel compelled to share the stories that go with them, and so I don't. But I'm wondering: Is it enough for now to just share that? Do you want just the glimpses? The haphazard sentence or two; the snapshots of work in progress in my studio; the messy lantern-lit post-dinner table; the boots in a heap by the door; the boys with their legos in a sunny patch on the floor?

Grateful feels like this by Christina Rosalie

Grateful - By Christina Rosalie The doctor, after the surgery said, "Well, he had about a week." He said it casually, the way you might tell someone the weather forecast in passion: relaying obvious facts that are, of themselves, barely noteworthy. He had gentle eyes and an experienced hand. One of the best doctors in the country. This news, is the news he shares every day. Ninety-percent blocked.
And now, just a handful of days later, you wouldn't know looking at him. The microscopic incision in his wrist where they sent the catheter in is healing beautifully. He's back to his usual shenanigans, kissing me awake before I'm really awake; making breakfast for the boys; building our commuter bikes from vintage frames up.
The past couple of days we've spent just being normal, and that feels tremendous. Going to work, bringing the boys to school, eating dinner by candle light, and taking walks after dinner. The weather has been unbelievable: day after day of the bluest blue contrasting the warmest vermillion, the firriest red, the sunniest gold of the maples and sassafras, hickories and gingkoes. It's so beautiful, just being alive, that I catch myself, tears wet on my face.
Also, reading your comments in my last post I was moved to tears often, not just by your kindness, but by the stories you shared revealing your courage and wonderment and devastations. I am so honored you come here and read. Thank you.

We are heading off on a long, long-awaited trip to Jamaica. Just T and I. We were supposed to go last week, but he ended up in surgery instead. Now, I can think of no better way to recuperate than to sit on the beach with my love in the sun. I'm bringing books (yes, I still believe in lugging the real things around in my luggage) and a fresh new notebook. I can't wait. I'm sure I'll be posting regularly on Instagram while we're there. If you're inclined, follow along.
xoxo, Christina

Life is this close by Christina Rosalie

Crow by Christina Rosalie The whole time I kept thinking, "If there were just were words, I could begin." But there weren't words and so instead I noticed seams.
Those thin lines between open and closed, between one thing and another, between now and later, between life, and whatever comes after.
There are seams running up the backs of the black plastic crows outside the kitchen hardware shop beside the bakery. They face each other, beaks forming a bridge, an early harbinger of the haunted holiday to come. Inside, there are old women gathered around a table with coffees and wrinkled hands and brightly colored socks. I think about their husbands now. If they have them still, if they ever did, if they are good. The women nod, lean in, sip from their cups.
The same day we get the news about T’s heart, we also get the news about a woman who many of us knew or were acquainted with, who was beaten brutally by hear husband, nearly to death. Now I'm thinking of her, as I am searching for answers for the news we newly have: a heart blockage. I can't stop thinking of her.
The prognosis is touch and go. Really, it's always that. A brush with grace, a brush with brutality. Life is always touch and go; just oftentimes we become enmeshed within the ordinariness of our beating hearts, our daily altercations and infractions and forget. We grow impatient at stoplights; we throw our hands in the air when someone claims our parking spot; maybe we yell fuck you, or whisper it beneath our breath. When our kids dawdle we say, hurry up, won’t you? When we want to be close, we say can you just leave me alone? instead. We are all fragile and failing and fallible in ugly colored socks.

Mine, on the night the doctor confirms that T has heart blockage, are olive green ones, cotton, of an undetermined origin. I’ve had them forever and have always hated them, yet they persist in my drawers, inexplicably paired and waiting for use.
Getting news like this means that we must begin, inevitably and unwillingly to see ourselves as the small mortals that we are; impossibly minute and dependent wholly on the ones we love make us real with their witnessing and participation in our lives. It’s this that strikes me now. Slams into my chest, taking my breath with it's sudden force. I’ve known T since I was 20, my whole adult life, and here we are.
Whatever I’ve become, I’ve become partly because of him, and also with him. 

Now I imagine my future. What fifty might look like, or sixty, through the kaleidoscope of chance. With him, or without him. Touch and go. I think about the way, if I am alive, no matter what other circumstances, there will be the light that comes with morning, and days will come, one after the next, and wrinkles too.
And also this: the majestic breath of spirit.
In the dark, past midnight, past making love, past the news, past the promise of tomorrow and the impossible promise of the day after tomorrow, we hear geese calling in the dark, navigating with certainty. They are star following, and southward bound. They know their place like all wild things do. The crows and the monarchs; the cat with her tail curled over her nose in the sun; my kangaroo dog with her too-big ears, certain only of waking and sleeping and the darting of squirrels.
In the morning the leaves have begun to turn. The sky is painted white with thickening clouds. My heart is a gyroscope. Circling, circling back to what I know. To the inevitable cadence of words and to the secrets between them that surface: in the gaps, the pauses, the rare spaces when paragraphs break.

All day as we drive down to the city, and then the next day (our 9th wedding anniversary) as we wait for insurance to give the green light, and then wait the next day in the waiting room, first together, and then just me alone, there will only be fragments and run-ons.
I will not allow myself the finality of the period. I will be terrified to write that mark at the end, to mark that inevitable edge. A hard stop. An abrupt break. The pause that keeps pausing. I will write only with ellipses...

In the waiting room, he will be by far the youngest, and when he goes in, I will sit alone with the sweet apple I’ve brought with me from Vermont and a book of essays that are sort of funny, but lack the transformative quality that would truly make them shimmer. The author is my age, but without kids and, at least in the essays, without deep love. She lives solo in a Manhattan studio, and writes wryly about the death of childhood hamsters. About a trip to Lisbon in winter. About feeling lost in Paris. About expensive furniture, and dishonest boyfriends. I want tell her how much more she’ll have to write when her story isn’t solely hers, and there is everything to lose. When her heart isn’t beating just there, in her chest, but in her kids flushed cheeks, or in her lover's tenuous arteries, or in her own, fleetingly faced with fate.
Still, the essays make me laugh and I’m grateful for their distraction, and also for the friends who, texting with the help of Siri, also make me laugh out loud into the stillness of the waiting room.

The light will grow steady with morning. More than an hour will pass, and I will want it to be over.
“It should be about an hour, maybe a bit more,” the attendant in blue will have told me beforehand, and now when it runs over the hour-mark, all I will think of is that in fact, there is something instead of nothing. That the end might arrive now. Or the beginning. I will catch myself holding my breath.
They will call my name eventually, and I will stand abruptly, embarrassingly scattering my belongings onto the floor. Then the physicians assistant will tell me about the stents, three of them running the length of his heart, and about the entire surgery done with hairline wires up through an artery in his arm. He will tell me, it’s okay, he’s doing well, and I will stand there listening and not listening, my mind whirling.

Outside the big floor-to-ceiling windows crows will fly past. They will land in the shrubbery below me, far below, and after he's left but before I can go to T, I will go to the window and watch them. They will call, they will circle, they will whirl through the sky. Proof, certain and steadfast of the simple wild truth of this life: we begin, we begin, we begin. Only that.
When I go to him he will be sitting up and smiling.

“Hi,” he’ll say “I love you. They said I can have coffee and food.”
This is my man. Coffee always a near second. And so I will make my way around the busy blocks by the hospital to a Starbucks and return with a venti Americano and with this offering, our lives will begin again.
We are this close. Always this close. Touch and go, in an instant.
Afterwards I will crash. After I drive him the 7 hours home. After he panicked on the highway, thinking his heart was failing but really his blood sugar (and maybe blood pressure was low.) After we took wrong turns because of the panic. After the sun set the fields on fire as it fell from the sky. After the heavens turned to indigo. After we came home to boys in striped pajamas and in-laws who held us close and proffered soup. After all of this, I will fall part. I will cry hard the way I haven’t been able to cry the entire time. Cry till I have a nose bleed, my soft-eared dog pressing her face close to me, her fur stained from the blood.
I’m sick with a head cold. I’m still reeling, recovering.

So much, to have your life spit out at you this way.
So much to feel the sum-total of everything I am as a part of a constellation of boys suddenly halted for an instant. To imagine the what-ifs, the other divergent paths. To imagine what love would look like without love. To imagine fatherless boys. To imagine, this close. Our pulse, our lives, our breath. This close, we are. This close.
And then to begin again.
Go love the ones you love.

You answered, I listened by Christina Rosalie

Looking Up from below Selfie--Tree Climbing

The wonderland in our backyard

Surveying the sce3ne


I love how clearly the poll's little grey lines spell a message. How straightforward your ask, your wondering. The process of zeroing in. Of mapping the constellation that makes your one thing? Of going from macro to micro, from everything to just your thing. This is something I understand deeply in my gut. It is the process of ideastorming and pattern detection, synthesizing details and honing in; listening hard and hungrily for the clues. This is the art of creating your own compass. It's one part alchemy and one part science. It's analysis meets curiosity meets making things real. It's untangling narratives and discovering where your story catches you up (and also where it sets you free.) It's something I do with clients when we build a Brand Compass, and it's something that I'd love to do with you, in service of the singular thing that calls you (even if you don't yet know how to hear it's song.)
I'm making an e-course. It will be playful and fun and adventurous, and you'll arrive at the end with a tangible map for doing; an action plan for arriving; a lens through which to focus. It will likely be ready just in time for the New Year, and I'll be keeping it small, so that I can bring a true-to-my-heart hands-on approach (with some one-on-one coaching), and so you can also feel like you really belong to a community of kindreds.
If you're interested (and I so hope you are!) sign up for my vary occasional newsletter to snag a first-dibs spot.
(Also, I feel a studio pay-what-you can sale coming on. That will happen in late November, likely, just in time for holiday gifting. Just saying.)

The light is golden now, and the shadows lengthen. Sprout and I look for colored leaves. In the woodlands behind our house we rock-hop and discover trees that fill our arms. We look up, and up and the canopy is a lacework of leaves. When we get back to the yard, I climb the ginkgo until I am above the roof tops, until I can feel the trunk swaying gently with my weight, the fan-shaped leaves brushing my face. Below me the boys watch, grinning, a little awe-struck. When I come down Bean goes up, holding close to the trunk as I've taught him, his feet curling round the branches, prehensile, agile. We have a whole new hour now, ripe with promise when they come home from school, and we've been using it to just go slowly. We rig up a swing with rope and a round log. We play badminton. We linger till the sun slants low.
How are you spending your time at the end of these early autumn days?

Change is always this: A thin, perforated line between known and unknown{More than Just One Paragraph 20/30} by Christina Rosalie

Christina Rosalie
When I wake up still feeling out of sorts: achey headed, light sensitive, and all-round fragile, I feel betrayed. Who gets sick, I think, with just a week and a half left before moving for the first time in eight years? But of course, that's why I'm feeling off, as Elizabeth gently pointed out to me in an email today. My ultra-sensitive constitution is humming with the vibrations of change that all of us are trying to wrap our heads around. Processing.
At the kitchen counter drawing together before dinner Bean says, "I'll miss watching the snow falling from those windows on my birthday." He sits looking out the windows in the dining room where now the foliage is green and lush, but come winter, are the best ones for watching the snow fall. Each flake fat and white, while inside just there, you're always warm by the wood stove, the table golden in the pale winter sun.
After dinner the huge, pink cumulus over the mountain top gather, bigger than imagination, wider than a dream. "Oh T, look," I say, and he comes over, and the boys follow after and we all stand staring. The boys are in various states of undress getting ready for bed. T rests his hand on my lower back; presses his lips into my hair. The blue hunched shoulders of the mountain settle in the twilight. The clouds nestle in, the sun's setting turning their bellies to flame. This view, oh this view. Every day changing, yet every day the same. How I'll miss it.
Sitting in my studio later, the coyotes call, as if just for me. First one, then several, their wild, giddy yelps rising up among the night sounds of whirring katydids and crickets, tree frogs and owls. It's these things I'll miss the most. The way the natural world edges up close here; close and hungry, finding us at the door every morning: the small garden snake on the path; the moths by the lamp; the cedar waxwings in the lilac.
The move is what we need and want. I'm hungry for cultivation. For culture. For community. For the connectivity and ease of living just 2 miles from the heart of the city. But still, the actual process of moving: of heading face first into the unknown of it, feels daunting.
Isn't this always the way? The hardest part of change is the anticipation that comes before; the huge fractured maze of what we can't imagine. The particles of possibility are infinite. Any way might turn out, or no way. That's what our minds say, at the doorway of the unknown, and in turn, what's known becomes beloved. Familiar becomes nostalgia overnight. Not because it is right or true, but because the course is already set. Because the heart knows its way through, each turn familiar and made by habit.
Change is always this: A thin, perforated line between known and unknown; it's like one of those one-way metal grids in parking lots that prevent backing up. We've already changed. Crossed the line. Made the move to move. Now we're just catching up.

We're ready to make a new little nest for a time...{More than Just One Paragraph, 14/30) by Christina Rosalie

Nest-Christina Rosalie
We started packing today, for real, taping together boxes bigger than the boys. We started with the closets and the kid's room: places where things have been stored haphazardly or squirreled away with the irregular logic of eight-year-old Bean, who would keep everything for some later possible use or invention if given the chance. I should really document some of his collections. Keys, in particular. Keys and locks. He has dozens of them, old and new. Combination and padlock. They represent a certain kind of tangible magic to him I think. They are a secret that can only be unlocked if you are the keeper of the key or code. He likes the power of having keys. Of knowing the code. Of unlocking the secret truths that make things as they are. We put them into his metal tool box, the one he inherited from my dad, who was so like Bean with an inventor's mind and chaotic organization of an artist.
Then we worked on making decisions: keep, donate, sell, give away. The keep pile was the smallest, and that feels right and easy. It feels good to shed old things. To cut back. Diminish duplicates. And get rid of singular gloves, old shoes, ugly hats, cars with three wheels, dog-chewed blocks, jeans that won't ever fit. (I highly recommend this process, even if you're not moving. Particularly the latter. Donate them. It feels so nice. Even if you have only half a wardrobe left!)
The home we're moving to has a smaller footprint than this house, I'm excited about that. All around, we'll be living with a smaller footprint on this earth: a less driving, less heating, just less. It makes it easy to let go, to lighten the load, to look towards the future with not so much, and an open heart.
Still, We'll all miss the wide expanse of here.
T and I stayed up late last night, but this morning I woke with the sun and kissed him out of his dream and we went outside together: him with espresso, me with tea, to watch the sun come up. From where we were sitting the whole world unfolded below us, soft blue then lush green with the bright of day. T just sat watching the sky, but I wrote, my hand moving eagerly across my molskine pages with a fast pen. (That fiction story and the book Dan and I are writing, they're connected! That's what dawned on me as the world woke up, there at the table, under a bluing sky.)
Then the boys came, still in pajamas, their toes green with newly cut grass. Bean brought a blanket with him and curled beside me, but Sprout climbed recklessly and delightedly into my lap, and promptly began his soliloquy that never ceases as long as he's awake. He's just so ebullient and glad to be alive. I love it.
T and I grinned at each other across the table, and agreed: we'll miss this something fierce. This wide sky of morning. This view from above.
But we're ready, even though it's bittersweet. We're truly ready for less distance and more connection; for having friends to dinner often and riding our bikes for bagels as the sun comes up. It will 2 miles to my office, 1 mile to T's. That makes me giddy (as does the thought of a pretty new commuter bike.) And school is only a ten-minute drive instead of forty-five. Oh, how we'll all love that.
So yes, we're ready to make a new little nest for a time, and then inevitably, we'll want to lift off again and fly.

The things we cannot know by Christina Rosalie

CalmBeforeTheStorm After the flood

"What’s your book about?" he asks, standing awkwardly at my side at a party full of writers. I’ve never met him before. It’s always the hardest thing for me to say what it’s about. How can a handful of sentences ever really convey the way everything I care about is there on the page. How to summarize something, when everything in my life went into its making?
Later I am standing with my back against the farm sink in the kitchen with a glass of rose in my hand, and I am listening to a friend talk about about her fear of dying. It occurs to me then that somewhere along the way I’ve stopped talking about dying; about what it means to me and how it's shaped me, although I don’t remember when I stopped. Now, suddenly, I know that the time is finally right to begin writing story of my dad the real way, in a book. Not only him, but everything. The way all of my life began with the convergence of theirs, and even what came before them. The way faith and timing, love and wanderlust all can be traced with a fingertip along the blue, slightly raised veins in my wrists, like rivers moving from the source. An inheritance of story. A torn roadmap of loving and believing.
I’m talking with a friend who has the most perfect bangs in the world. Straight across her forehead like Amelie, and I watch as she almost winces when she says, “How can it just be it? How can our whole life be a timeline, and then just nothing?” Then she says, "I'm terrified of dying because of that. Because of not knowing."
I nod.
The bigness of what happens after this is something we all must face. We become something or nothing. We feel the truth, or the absence of it. We know, or cannot know.
Our mortality hangs in the air. 

We’re fleeting. We're scraps, star dust, uncertain particles. That’s one way of seeing. Another is how my father saw it from his deathbed, hunched among the covers, pale, morphine patches on his belly as he said, “I’ll keep doing my work from the other side.” S glimmer of a smile, like sudden flight of birds moving across his face.
“I know,” I said without hesitation.
A lifetime of conversations with that man left me feeling held in the weft of spirit worlds. Still, I was too heartbroken to write more than the raw edges of story down. Too lost in the spinning of my own world without a North to know really where to begin, or that I would begin at all, some day, after a rainstorm as I am now. 

Things are uncertain always in a world where physics apply. But what of spirit?
I’d love to hear what you think.

It rained all day in fits and starts; the clouds gathering in a rush, the sky suddenly dark. At the party people read brilliant prose that was raw and hilarious and heartbreaking all at once, and someone sang “Imagine” and someone else played the piano and I sat against the wall with my dying cell phone skimming through texts from T and wishing I be only right there without distraction. Then it became clear: our road was flooded out.
My cell battery was dead leaving the party, and the night was black without stars. Every dirt road’s neck seemed to be broken at the lowest point. Sudden flash floods had swallowed every stream bed; every culvert washed away.
You never really can imagine the future until you’re there. Until you’re standing at the torn edge of macadam where the road used to continue and now it doesn’t and instead there is a ten foot drop and a raging river in its path. I bite my lip. I’m freezing, still wearing flip flops from when I left the house in the morning under humid skies and temperatures in the seventies. Now the mercury is falling fast.

Two old men join me, shoulders hunched under slickers. They are neighbors familiar enough that we know each other’s silhouettes though we’ve never said hello; living as they do, a good two miles down the dirt road from where our house sits perched high and dry among dandelion fields and maple woods. Now they shine big flashlights at the raging river, share their iPhones, offer their houses to me for shelter, shake their heads.

I can’t get ahold of T. He’s already trying to meet me, likely at the place in the road where the service dips. I leave a message. There’s no way to cross. Nothing to do but retrace my path. Back to Burlington, the clocks closing in on a new day. Nearly every road I take becomes a back track; every low point is overwhelmed. The water rages like something hungry and wild. It devours the bedrock, tears away at the pavement, tosses logs and branches and old farm machinery in its wake.

Eventually I make my way back. Call a friend, show up at her doorstep after midnight. She puts clean sheets on the air mattress, hugs me, goes back to bed, and I spend the night fitfully, rain still falling.

The next day, I leave town in the afternoon. I buy groceries, and hope for lucky breaks. Bacon for the weekend, fruit, eggs, milk. At the place where the road was a river, the water is low now, and there are two huge excavators pushing gravel bigger than my fists into the wound. Truck after truck comes, backs in with precision, dumps another load, leaves. The men smoke cigarettes and wear steel toed boots and cotton sweatshirts. They use a sign langue specific to their trade: back her up, lower her down, all set, stop, go. Watching them work with little words and absolute efficiency I am beyond grateful. I want to cry. I want hug them and offer hot coffees and donuts. Instead, T meets me on a mountain bike, carrying the backpacks we used for hiking in college. He crosses in between the excavators, wraps his arm around my shoulder.
We fill the backpacks the groceries and my work bag. Cross back over, and in another handful of minutes I’m there, the fire bright, the kids hugging me, the dog licking my hands, and everything feels certain with the familiarity of home. I am exhausted beyond reason, as though the tenuousness of everything---us, and this, and life, and the gashed and then repaird roadway---is heavy with a weight I can’t perceive.

“Mama, what’s something no one can picture?” Bean asked me on the way to school earlier in the day when the sky was still soft, and the air was warm and damp and smelled of lilacs.

“I don’t know,” I said. “What?”
“Nothing,” he said, seriously, softly. “Nothing. You can’t picture that. It’s the opposite of anything. And every time we try to picture something--we’re picturing something. But nothing... we just can’t picture that.”

Let the choices you make today be the ones that make you glad by Christina Rosalie

The-Universe---Christina-Rosalie  It’s before the dawn and I’m up. The choice is mine. Hello writing practice. Hello day. I lie in bed for a minute or maybe five, feeling the way my mind slips like a gymnast between one state and another: one second I’m here, the next I’m somewhere else entirely, with people I’ve never met whose faces are as vivid as the day is new.
“Are you getting up?” T asks. He’s rubbing my feet, a ritual he started sometime this summer when he realized, maybe for the first time, how I settle into myself in the morning. Head first, then body slowly.
I’m always surprised that I can talk at all then, with my eyes closed, and my body still enmeshed in the silken cobwebs of drowse and dream.
“Maybe,” I say. The choice like a soft purring animal in bed with me.
But the truth is, I’ve already committed.

Yesterday I spent some time with my priorities for this year, looking at how each breaks down into hours and minute spent daily toward achieving them. And writing, as always, was at the top. It’s the most important thing to me, above all the urgent things, to show up and put to the page as the world turns to blue. Before there is rush, and fragment. Before the trees take on the pale color of day, and then are painted gold and blue as the sun climbs up through the tangled ladder of their branches. Before other things chime in, to make arguments of urgency that cannot be avoided.
And so even as I’m lying in the soft warm dark with this purring animal kneading the rumpled edges of my dreams, I know I’ll get up, press a hot wash cloth to my puffy eyes, pull on sweatpants and pour tea (never coffee first thing) and wait with the cursor at the page.
It takes another minute of struggle to do it. To get up, really. But then I’m here.

Last week my sister sent me a link to the Huffington Post essay, “Leaning In: Similarly Yet Differently” by Carissa K, about two friends whose lives had since high school, run on parallel tracks, careers, companies, promotions, each of them making one choice and then another; each of them progressing, or sometimes outpacing or catching up until the author went and had a baby, and the other friend did not.
Then, inevitably like tracks in a switching yard, their courses changed.
Isn’t that the way it goes?
I found myself nodding as I read, aware of my own narratives about how, and who, and why, things have turned out the way they have for me. The stories I’ve told myself about the life I’ve chosen. Now, at 35, I have enough of a past to look back on roads not taken, and the outcome of those choices not made will always be fiction, played out by the actors and actions of other peoples lives.
What I’m trying to say, I think, is that we all have our own version of Kate. An alter ego. A parallel universe. A real-life or imagined embodiment of what if, or if only. The way we didn’t go.
And truth is: at every turn, we choose, and with our choosing, the inevitable slice; the bifurcation; the way thing sheer off from our lives: opportunities, outcomes, options. The inevitable nature of choice is that there is always another. The what if? The passed-up chance. There will always be something we leave behind in order to make the choice we do.
This is another way of saying: the choices we make matter immensely.The ways we wake up or stay asleep to our lives. The ways we choose urgent over important, or the times we decide instead to do the most important thing, even when other things and other stories thunder in our ears with their urgency.
This is also a way of saying: those things you didn’t choose? Don’t let them define you. The lives you passed up in order to live this bold, glorious life? It’s all fiction. It’s all a story you’re telling yourself in your head. I'm reminding myself of this today, and also, hopefully reminding you:
The parallel path is not your path. Put your time into here, into this now, into this bright new day. Let the choices you make today be the ones that define who you are.

When the universe has been listening all along by Christina Rosalie

Brushes + Paint | by Christina RosalieMe and my littlest | By Christina RosalieUnfurling // Christina RosalieSo, dear friends, I have been silent here the past two weeks because everything in my world has been shifting and kiltering and truing towards a new more rightly aligned north.
Two Mondays ago, the same Monday we moved to my in-laws house for the week while our new floors were being put in, I found out that my small department of two at the design studio where I worked, was cut. My role and the department represented new capabilities for the studio, and for various reasons, some better reasoned than others, including a tightening of budgets and pressure to reduce overhead costs, there I was at 10:30 am, suddenly cut loose from everything I’d spent the last year working on.
It was a shock, but not necessarily unexpected. Even though I loved the work, many things about the position were lacking in--terms of resources and internal support, and there were many days that I spent quelling a feeling of panic in my ribcage because of the way things felt perpetually out of alignment. Days when I felt like a singular salmon swimming up through turbines too numerous to count., trying to convert a studio saturated in the language of print, into one with a fluency in online engagement. And so in so many ways it was a best worst-case scenario, for now, after three years of sprinting and preparation, I have the time and capabilities to begin doing work that has my heart.
The work I’ve been hankering to do, and have been doing in the margins, in any extra hour I’ve had. First and foremost: writing again, for real, for earnest. Fiction, essays, the mapping of two future books. And next, work I’m called to do as to do as a creative catalyst: providing creative’s and entrepreneurs with soulful brand strategy and business opportunity coaching.
Already, this work is aligning in ways I could never have imagined, with some super exciting collaborations that have emerged with sudden energy and creative force as if they were lying dormant, waiting for just this chance.
It’s as though the universe has been listening all along.
But oh, the disorientation I felt, having neither the habits of home nor work to hold me for two weeks. I’d end up driving places only to realize I’d forgotten to make a turn. My studio in boxes. Our house a sudden construction zone, with insulation guys and flooring guys and a painter, their coffee cups and machines and dirty footprints tracking from room to room.
Now, finally the house is put back together. New floors, and some new paint for furniture well loved. Vermillion, turquoise, and clean, bright white. It’s been so good to move back in, and to catch up slowly with myself. It feels right-timed in ways I can’t explain.
Snow is still falling, fat and wet. But the days feel warmer, and the sun stronger. There’s mud now in the sunny places on the drive, and the taps are in on all the maple trees. Even though it looks like winter, there is a stirring, a calling from the deep. To rise up, to unfurl, to begin anew.
Thank you so much for not deserting this space entirely, even with my long silence. One of the things I’m most excited by with these changes is that I’ll finally be able to really show up here again.
xo, Christina

A Thing Or Two About Resilience by Christina Rosalie

Thank you to everyone on my mailing list who completed my survey this week! I learned so many things--about you, and about myself, and about the things you'd like me to write about and share here. (I'm hoping to do another little post about the results this weekend.)
Thank you also to everyone who bought work in my studio sale! I am so grateful. I love knowing my work will find special places in the corners of your homes and studios and office spaces.
Above are a selection of the pieces that went to new homes in the sale. I had no idea that nearly everything would go in a matter of hours in the pre-sale. That really ROCKED, and it made the fact that my house is being torn apart a little more bearable....
The pipes bursting caused so, so much damage.

The beautiful floors T and I put in ourselves seven years ago have to be ripped out across most of the first level of our home and replaced. Each board buckled up like the hull of a shallow canoe. My studio needs a new wall and new insulation; the garage ceiling needs to be replaced.
Everything will be topsy-turvy for the next couple of weeks as things get pulled apart, and then put back together anew.
But what all this has had me thinking about lately is how even this crazy situation is completely a universal experience. Life happens like this to everyone. Maybe not these circumstances in particular; this timing; these muddy roads and wet walls. But it happens, the topsy-turvy, the tilting of things. Things get pulled apart and then put back together for all of us.
And the truth is, I've been through worse, harder, sadder, more disruptive things and gradually I've acquired a soul-memory for what the beautiful word resilience means. Things will shift, tilt, and warm to become something bright and new. This will happen. Inevitably.
We spring back like the saplings that spend the winter bent beneath deep snow. We spring back with the the inevitable sap of the future swelling up. A thaw will come, and the air will fill with the singular scarlet call of cardinals, and little rivulets of snowmelt will rush down banks and gullies, and then the each twig will whip upright, shaking off snow showers and spring back.
What I'm excited about is possibility this year (even though I'm dreading the forced renovations!) I can feel things are shifting. New possibilities are murmuring.

What possibility do you most hope to manifest this year?

On Turning 35 by Christina Rosalie

Feast - Christina RosalieStudio - Christina RoslieLucky Dollar - Christina RosalieIMG_2740DSC_5638My little boys - Christina RosalieSelf Portrait

Thirty five feels like something. An arrival. A beginning, maybe.   In my head 35 has always been the mythical age I pictured when I thought of what it meant to be "grown up." It was the age I pictured I would be, when, with due process and appropriate seriousness I'd take up all the tasks and undertakings I'd put off in my twenties for more impulsive and less permanent things. It was always the age of someday, always the age I pictured my future self becoming before now.   But now I'm here at that someday. And it struck me with both surprise and odd delight when I realized that I've stopped picturing someday as any other day than right now.   It's true. For whatever reason I've stopped imagining "someday" as an imagined time that exists at any point in my future. Instead of putting things off for some future self to take up, I'm aware now, with each passing day, that there is a grave, bittersweet river of time passing through me.   I have smile lines now. Some days I have dark circles under my eyes. I have stretch marks. I have boys who are no longer babies. I have kids who dress themselves and hold my hands and tell fart jokes and kiss my cheeks. I have a man who I have loved for thirteen years. I have the memory of the landscape of his body at the backs of my lids when I close my eyes, and it is once familiar territory and still new to me. I have days passing, and a dog, and ice on the windshield and sisters and friends with new babies, and these things all insist upon the utterly and poignantly present tense of right now.   The minutes are what matters. Today is some day. Tomorrow is someday. Someday is whatever day it will be when I wake up after today, my eyes blinking with the milky morning light.   So I've arrived at someday. I like that. I like that I've arrived at a point in time when the extent of what I've told myself about my life has been reached--as though the fragile nets of genetic inheritance and childhood could only be cast so far and claim so many of the little silver bellied fish of dreams. I've caught some and others have gone slipping through the nets, and now here I am, arms flung wide in front of the wild, wide, wide ocean.   Is this what it's like for most people? Is 35 the age when time stops in your mind, and only keeps on in your body? Is this when the incongruence begins, when the tenuous alignment of self in heart and self in mirror break apart, one timeline moving on, quite fast, the other staying where it is, gradually slipping backwards into the past? It feels like such a feat of magic: to age, to grow, to become novice and new and experience and old all at once. 35 here I am.  

Like I've done for the past many years, I've made a new list 0f things to attempt and manifest before my next birthday... and I went back over my list from this past year .   This years list was a bit of a catch-all. I surprised myself with several things that I was able to cross off--including watching the sunset on the top of a mountain (in Hawaii) and leaving the country (a weekend in Quebec.) And as is always the case, there were several things I almost achieved--like painting with encaustic (a new friend has volunteered to teach me, we just need to find the time!) and screen printing (I now work in a place that has a gorgeous screen printing studio in the basement, and it's only a matter of time.) Other things were a far cry, and to be honest, I never had the time to even consider them like developing film and throwing a set of bowls. Maybe this year. And still others just evaded me entirely--like hearing Elizabeth Strout, and painting the rooster series (a goal I've had on my list for a few years now, but still, to no avail.)   This year is, I have a feeling will surprise me. It's an open field; an empty garden plot; a shore that the highest tide has left exposed for wandering. It will be a year for wonder. A year of finding things, and mapping them, of following new stars. A year of germination and cultivation. A year to fertilize the new bright shoots of possibility and plans with patience and perseverance.   I haven't always been easy with such things. With the wide open. With the unknown. But one thing that came from the process of writing my book, was learning how to sit in the same place with uncertainty without expectations; to hold my attention there without fleeing or fluttering or forcing anything. Nothing about writing the book, or promoting it, or about the material itself was something I was prepared for. And perhaps that's partly why I've arrived here on the cusp of my birthday without expectation, just here, with a certain gladness, even as I came home tonight, tired after a long week to find that our pipes froze and burst, and water is pouring through our living room ceiling.   At some other point, I might have raged against the injustice, the timing, the way things pile themselves, one on top of another (I'm also feeling a wee bit sick.) But now, no matter. This is just it, this is someday.   This is the someday of my life: broken pipes and subzero temperatures, delicate pink sunsets and the tenderest kisses, chicken salad with bib lettuce, white wine in a glass without a stem, Hemmingway read by the quarter chapter, boys in mis-matched pajamas, the smell of woodsmoke and also of wet drywall, the feeling of thirst at the back of my throat, the restlessness that tugs at me like tides, the longing for being near a shore with tides, the eagle I looked up to see out the window today, the dog lying with all four paws in the air. This, this is my beautiful, reckless, heartbreaking, perfect life.

I'm so glad you join me here to be a part of it! Thank you always! ~ Christina

The quiet is on purpose by Christina Rosalie

           SelfPortrait_ChristinaRosalie The quiet is on purpose. I've been gathering and holding close the moments as they come. Time for stillness. Evenings with books. The occasional afternoon when I can slip away at work and walk with my turquoise Hunter boots fingerless gloves down to the peer, over snowy grass or mud or pebbles, to watch the water move and feel the sky grow bigger there, unobstructed by things made by the human hand.   The quiet is my way of starting out the year: between the new year and my birthday, 26 days exactly to dwell and ruminate; to take inventory of where I've been and where I'm headed. What I've done, and what I long to do.   And maybe this year, more than any other year, I've needed the quiet. Craved it, like a hunger, all the way down to my bones after nearly four years of non-stop creating. First Sprout, then Kickstarter, then grad school, then writing A Field Guide To Now, then a new job, then the book launch, and now, finally here. A new year. I'll be 35 at the end of this week.   That feels significant. A year for becoming... in new ways. Hence the reason I've changed things up around here design wise. I've been wanting things to be simple. To be just enough, nothing more. Room for art and words photographs and enough white space also for some breathing room. I hope you like it.   I'm also planning some truly lovely, simple things for this space. A little daily collaboration with one of my dearest friends. The most wonderful interview series I could ever imagine, slowly coming together with some of the most incredible creatives I know.   And quite soon, quite soon indeed, I'll be having a pay-what-you-can studio sale, to make way in my small corner of the world for new work. If you'd like to be among the very first to know--and get a special sneak peak before it goes live for everyone else, sign up for my newsletter here. I'll be sending an update out before the end of the week, and you don't want to miss it. Really.