How To Be An Evil Stepmother

How To Be An Evil Stepmother

I’ll never forget the day (nearly five years ago now) when The Oldest said, in a tone so like her mother’s snide dismissiveness, “If you didn’t want to be a stepmom, then you shouldn’t have decided to marry a man with kids.” It hurt. I felt blind-sided. I had no good answer. Instead, I sat for a second speechless and nonplussed, and then the conversation moved on.

I didn’t want to be a stepmom. I don’t know if anybody ever wants to be a stepmom. So why did I become one?

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Druid’s Blade and Witch’s Broom: An Ode to Mistletoe

Druid’s Blade and Witch’s Broom: An Ode to Mistletoe

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that’s only half the truth.

In the face of our assembly-line obsession with efficiency and expendability, keystone species like mistletoe serve as powerful reminders of why individuality is so essential to abundance. True prosperity lies in the diversity of our communities and the ways that we support that diversity with our own unique gifts. It can be lonely, even a little frightening, to be different. But nature is messy. Nature is wild…

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The Joy of Hidden Things: Tidepooling on the Salish Sea

The Joy of Hidden Things: Tidepooling on the Salish Sea

Tidepooling is a practice in patient observation. It’s also a reminder that some things happen in their own sweet time. That’s the thing about low tide. Sun, moon and earth turn through the steps of their celestial dance, and once in a while you get lucky and the three of them meet just right in a moment of revelation. You have to be ready.

I’m often humbled to realize how oblivious I can be to the wonders of the natural world all around me. And what treasures might yet be hiding right in front of me, in plain sight.

After all, there are so many different ways to hide.

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The Familiar

The Familiar

This post is about small things. It’s about moments that we take for granted. There is no big revelation here. I took a bunch of pictures of my cat and put them on the internet. I write this post in defiance of the expectation that only big revelations matter. I write in homage to the repetition of small rituals, in honor of grounding and self-care.

This post is about the simple companionship of ordinary objects and creatures and beings, and the way their presence shapes our lives even when we think we’re not paying attention.

A part of us is always paying attention.

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What the Robin Saw: Anthropocentrism & Subjectivity (Part 1)

What the Robin Saw: Anthropocentrism & Subjectivity (Part 1)

I was still pretty young the first time I heard an animal speak.

It was a lazy summer morning, and I was curled up on the back porch with a book in my lap. All around me in the yard, the birds were singing… and then I saw, only a few feet from me, a robin. I tried to still every part of me — heart, body and mind — quieting even my thoughts so that I wouldn’t startle him away. Then the voice spoke, precise and articulate, nonchalant, almost amused.

It must have all happened in less than a minute. My reasoning mind struggled to make sense of what I’d experienced. But the words still echoed. Had it all been in my mind? No more than the stars are in the sky.

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A Mouse Named Shou

A Mouse Named Shou

This past weekend, we lost a beloved pet. Shou, a little gray mouse named for the Taoist god of longevity, joined our mixed and motley family six months ago along with her two sisters, Fu and Lu. Even from the beginning, she was the obvious Big Sis, bossing around the others, taking it upon herself to obsessively reorganize and redecorate their shared tank, transforming the new house we’d provided them for into a home. She loved playtime, but she was never one to clambered up my arm to perch on my shoulder. She preferred tunneling under blankets and exploring the dark recesses of empty tissue boxes instead. Still, she blessed our lives with such sweet-tempered assertiveness that even in the short six months she was with us, we came to feel like she’d always been a member of our family.

She was dearly loved, and she will be deeply missed.

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