Synchronized Fireflies: Journey to Healing, Part 3

The rock we sat on seemed to grow harder and harder as the sky around us grew darker and darker. The air was damp from a summer misting earlier in the day. The forest was quiet except for the swiftly running creek and the beat of my anxious heart full of expectation and wonder. Continue reading

Synchronized Fireflies: Journey to Healing, Part 2

Synchronizing Fireflies 2

With a deep breath and wide eyes, I pulled my car into the line of minivans and mid-sized sedans packed with coolers, hot dogs, and the laughter of happy vacation spirits caravanning into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I look around my own car, feeling slightly out of place. Me in my compact car, water bottle and journal on the seat next to me, and nerves fully heightened.

It was June 2011. It was peak season for synchronizing fireflies at Great Smoky National Park. This time, I was going to see them… Continue reading

Synchronized Fireflies: Journey to Healing, Part 1

Synchronized Fireflies Part 1

The day I left on my journey to North Carolina in 2010, my mother handed me a page torn from Guidepost Magazine.

I kept it in the middle console of my little black car, folded neatly in half.

The article stared up at me as I drove, and appeared in my dreams throughout my first week in the wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Continue reading

5 Steps to Spring Clean Your Mind

How to Spring Clean Your Mind

I am sitting at the bay window of my Philadelphia apartment, staring outside. The sky is grey. The trees are brown. The ground is white. At least it is for now, but spring is in the air, and with spring, comes transition.

This is true, right? It seems as though the world comes back to life after a long winter. There are buds on the trees, birds in the sky, and people in the parks. It’s exciting, and I for one, invest my energy and emotion levels in the transitioning weather around me.

Which is why I felt a pending sense of doom fall onto my shoulders last Friday morning, when I opened my curtains only to find thick, heavy snowflakes falling from the clouds. Yes, doom. Continue reading

Inspiring People

Inspiring PeopleThere were six of us on that mountain top. Breathing hard in the frigid winter winds. Talking, joking, and laughing.

I looked from face to face, and though I could not feel my nose or my fingers, my heart and soul were warm with love and appreciation.

I met these people when I was broken, wide-eyed, searching for something more.

I stumbled upon them in the wilderness.

People who were confident.

People who were creative and intelligent.

People who never stopped searching for answers.

People who never grew weary of adventure. Continue reading

Not Today: A Poem

Not Today: A poemI can feel them like waves of darkness

Approaching closer, closer,

Hitting my body, causing me to

Kick and struggle, underneath the

Salty world of my emotions.

The wave passes,

I look up, tired, salty,

But breathing.

I will not drown. Continue reading

Got the Winter Blues?

Got Winter Blues?

In 2013, I decided to out-wit Mother Nature.

At the time, my job required me to spend every other week in the wilderness. The previous two winters, I lived outdoors. It’s a powerful experience, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. So I took the winter off of work and sought a warmer climate. Australian summer.

I spent the winter trekking through the Outback and lying on white-sand beaches, but when spring returned, it was time to go back to work. Continue reading

Three Ways Mountains Inspire

3 Ways Mountains InspireThey say the Appalachian Mountains are the oldest in the world. They say they were once larger than the Alps and the Rockies. They say they hold the wisdom of ages. That all you have to do is listen.

I sat, and I listened, and I understood. Continue reading

The First Step

The First StepI had a little black car then.

It sat baking in the early summer heat as I said my final farewells.

Goodbye to my family.

Goodbye to the little town I never really fit in with.

Goodbye to the memories both sweet and saddening.

I put both hands on the steering wheel of that little black car, knuckles white. It was my saving grace. It was my chariot of freedom. I put my foot on the gas pedal. And as I drove away, Continue reading