Finding Inspiration

I’ve been struggling to find inspiration lately. And by lately, I mean for months. I’ve been doing a lot of cool things: the cob sauna is almost finished (I’ll post more about that later); I went backpacking this summer (also pending a blog post); I’ve gone hiking a lot; I’ve made art; I’m enjoying my new work and volunteering.

But I haven’t been writing and creating as much as I’d like, which is really the reason for this blog post. It’s hard to say what’s been keeping me from writing, other than a general lack of inspiration, a feeling that I have nothing worthwhile to write about.

On a whim some weeks ago, I tweeted:

I wish I could find more inspiring outdoor/nature/wilderness/etc quotes from people who are NOT the classic old white dudes (Muir, Thoreau, Leopold, Abbey, Roosevelt – luv u guys, but srsly y’all got some issues). Who are your fav lesser-known naturalists we should know about?

To my great surprise, I got a ton of responses. These are just a few:

  • Marjorie Keenan Rawlings
  • Jane Goodall
  • Annie Dillard
  • Rachel Mazur
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas
  • JN “Ding” Darling
  • Kevin Van Tighem
  • Nan Shepherd
  • Margaret Murie
  • Rachel Carson
  • Mollie Beatty
  • Terry Tempest Williams

And quite a few others. People also shared links to awesome sites like Latino Outdoors, Outdoor Afro, Outdoor Equity, Natives Outdoors, and Hispanic Access among others. Many of these authors and websites were ones I’d heard of before, but somehow, seeing it this way gave me a renewed energy to actually sit down and get to know them for myself.

I’ve been so stoked about this growing list, I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting about all of these authors as I read them, with the hope to encourage others to check out their work, and to share some of what speaks to me about them.

I’ve started reading Annie Dillard this week, with plans to hit up Murie and Rawlings after that. It’s a start.

Frosty leaves on the ground

This week, a cold front swept through the area, with temperatures dropping into the 20s at night, and barely getting above 40 during the day. If you know me at all, you know I love the cold. So naturally, I had to get outside yesterday, despite getting a late start and knowing I only had a few hours before sunset.

My initial intention was to get some sunshine, but I managed to pick a portion of the Ridgeline Trail that was densely wooded and still had ice and frost in some places. Nonetheless, I enjoyed a slow meander up toward Spencer Butte, glad that there were so few others out on the trail. I love hiking alone, and the fewer people I see, the happier I am. 🙂

Frosty foliage

I spent my time taking photos and playing with the light and colors around me. Each curve in the trail kept me hiking further and further, always wanting to see what was around the next corner, until I realized that I only had about an hour of daylight left and should probably turn around.

The Golden Hour

Something about being outside is incredibly grounding and centering and healing. I think better when I’m hiking. And it was somewhere in these wandering thoughts that I realized I just needed to start writing again, no matter what it is I’m writing about, no matter if anyone is reading it or not.

Annie Dillard, herself, wrote: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” She was absolutely right.

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