11084255_10205102549816035_8559766004208566109_n (1)

I wondered if the blood would attract the shark.
But even as I watched him through my mask,
even as I sensed his concentrated raw power that could be unleashed at any moment,
even when he turned so that he was
not just Swimming but Swimming Toward Me
my period had not yet come.

How odd that neither silent predator nor existential threat
made me worry as I should.
I should have felt the timeless anxious flush (that men can only know secondhand)
of near certainty that I am
not just Late but Late for a Reason
and the burden will be mine to carry.

Oh and the timing couldn’t be worse because, for once,
I have opened my cautious aching heart to someone (else).
Someone who, because he is a real man and a good one,
would never put me in this position:
alone, squatting over a Mexican pregnancy test,
considering impossible possibilities.

But here I am, yet strangely calm because,
no matter if the love lasts,
or the blood flows,
or the line forms,
in this moment I am loved and have loved.

And that truth,
like a breath of fresh air 60 feet underwater,
fills me with an unreasonable peace
in the face of that
mortal, lurking,
ancient, biting

Gone shroomin’


We went searching for morels. We knew, vaguely, where to find them– in moist woody areas along dead and rotting trees. We knew, more or less, what they looked like– small vertical sprouts with a white stalk and a dark cap. We knew that the time was right– more than a few of our tree-hugging Instagram friends had been showing off their bounty, and then there was also the man with waders and camo pants who had the decency to break the first rule of mushroom hunting and show us where to look. But that didn’t mean we could actually find them. Continue reading “Gone shroomin’”

when to say

fullsizerender-5When do you say “I love you” to someone for the very first time?

You shouldn’t say it the first time you think it,
because the love may change,
and even if it doesn’t, he may not be ready to hear it.

You shouldn’t hold it for forever in your heart,
because the words are a gift,
and if the love is true, it’s one that’s meant to be given.

There are sunsets and anniversaries and quiet mornings and fits of passion–
all worthy contenders in the answer to this question–
but where and how it is not the most important part.

So say it when the words spill out,
when not saying it is impossible,
when it is almost an act of selfish relief.

Say it when the love is so strong that you don’t know what to do about it,
and you have to share it.
So that it becomes yours to bear, together.


Troopers- rise UP


Every February, mom and grandma take the long drive up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to experience the heart of winter in the tiny town of Paradise and watch a dogsled race. The UP 200 is a qualifying race for the Iditarod and I am fascinated by its modest exoticism.

Even before I reached a maturity level where it occurred to me to be nice to my mom, I reluctantly admitted that the trip sounded rather awesome. Now that I’ve reached the maturity level where I deign to love and appreciate and enjoy her, I have been trying to come along on one of these annual trips but it’s never happened before now. I’m doubly excited to be here because we will be returning to some of the sanctified scenes I passed through on foot a year and a half ago en route to a new life.

Well, that life is approximately as messy as it has ever been and I need a break. I don’t know of a unit of measurements for internal chaos but this is registering pretty high. I need to escape that other life for my sake and the sake of those I’ll be leaving behind for awhile. This trip presented itself on the horizon from the squiggles of my everyday life and I am clinging to it. It’s time to rise up: up to the UP, up from the morass of my self-pity and confusion, and up to a place where distance grants perspective and climate demands clarity.

Continue reading “Troopers- rise UP”

Day 18: Pine to Naomikong Creek Shelter

7-23_nctAnother day of total solitude. I think most women in my situation might fear the possibility of encountering someone, might fear being taken advantage of. But in the safety of my imagination, I absolutely hope for it. Once again I‘ve been comparing myself to a soldier (I’m such a cocky asshole). This time though, the stereotype I identify with isn’t a water-logged Vietnam Vet, but a love-sick WWII trenchman who gazes longingly at the picture of his sweetheart back home. In other words, I’m horny like a soldier.

Continue reading “Day 18: Pine to Naomikong Creek Shelter”

Day 11: Crooked Lake to Cross Village

7-16_sunsetLast night I dreamed I was caught by the police in my illegal campsite- I guess nothing is not without costs if you have a guilty conscience! I seem to have an abundance of that. Tonight I’m on the Lake Michigan shore by Cross Village- camping illegally again. It may be the prettiest place I’ve ever slept.

Watching the sunset right now it occurs to me that I have never truly watched a sunset alone. If something is beautiful or appealing to me, why do I always need someone else to enjoy it with? It’s undoubtedly nice to share a sunset or a walk with someone else but a lack of company should be no reason not to do something I like.

I’ve taken a lot of photos and posted 1-Second–Every-Day clips for a compilation video, and Allison wrote that article about me- so many opportunities to be judged and validated by others! I’ve been thinking about how I value other people’s opinion of me so highly, but I forget that I am “other people” to other people. It gives me a mental image of the world where everyone is constantly engaged in assigning value to other people’s stuff and putting their stuff out to be valued by others at the same time. That constant validation cycle is pure folly. I will always care about what other people think- probably more than I’d like to- but I hope at least to judge my acts, opinions, and even photos, for myself first. Continue reading “Day 11: Crooked Lake to Cross Village”

Day 10: Petoskey to Crooked Lake


Beautiful Petoskey! I’ve been resting here since my birthday walk-a-thon. I’ve walked from the campgrounds along Lake Michigan into town. Mom, Grandma, Sarah and her friend came and visited me yesterday. When Sarah saw me she said “I thought you’d look worse!” so I made sure to show off my blisters, scratches and bruises. Mom gave me a GPS, which I reluctantly accepted since I lost my last one. She also gave me a huge pile of other birthday gifts, which was nice but mostly frustrating. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the gesture and its not that I don’t like what she gave me but I am carrying everything on my back and this trip is not about stuff. I am grateful for Mom’s generosity but getting gifts like that makes me feel icky.

The farther I hike the more remote my surroundings will be- from the relatively populated Traverse City area to the tourist hub of Mackinaw, into the true wilderness of the Upper Peninsula, my trail will become more raw as I gain experience. I wonder if I’ll make it all the way to Copper Harbor and Isle Royale. This week has been hard but I have had the safety net of nearby towns and even my family nearby to offer support if I need it. I look forward to slipping away from those supports. I want to test myself even more. Continue reading “Day 10: Petoskey to Crooked Lake”

Are We Capable of Us?


One day into new love’s joys
I start to overanalyze
So far, it’s come too easily
My hope is guarded carefully

I wish I could see in advance
so I don’t have to take a chance.
Without wasting all that time
perhaps we’d spare your heart, or mine.

If I give myself to you-
Will it last? Can I be true?
Will it ever be enough?
Are we capable of us?

So come, look in my eyes awhile.
And don’t you speak, no do not smile.
I want to know what I will see
And if you will look back at me.

My STD is Fucked Up

contraceptionSTDs are a bummer. At minimum they represent embarrassing disclosure, annoying contraceptives, itching and burning. Farther along the spectrum of misfortune are the incurables, the cancer-causing viruses and the life-threatening illnesses. But no matter how much suffering you may incur, in my opinion, the worst thing about STDs is that some can be passed from mother to child. Imagine an entire life carrying the burden of one of those unfortunate illnesses without even having had the pleasure of acquiring it!

Continue reading “My STD is Fucked Up”

Economies of the Heart

couchWhen I moved to Detroit I had no job, no place to live, and almost no friends in my new city. But I did have a plan. My blank slate gave me the freedom to carefully curate every component of my life just the way I wanted it. This meant not accepting the first job offer that came my way, not signing a lease with the first apartment I thought I liked, not befriending the first people who invited me out for a drink, and not going out with to the first guy who asked for my number. It was the longer and lonelier route but I had just been through the hardest year of my life and I knew I was up for the challenge. Continue reading “Economies of the Heart”