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Small Plates.

Jake makes me a work of art, The Atomic Cafe, Marblehead, MA.

Jake creates a work of art. The Atomic Cafe, Marblehead, MA.

There are lots of reasons, especially after reading my twitter feed, or tapping into the New York Times banners on my cell phone, or opening the morning paper, to feel downright depressed.

The all-over news is so alarming; the Charleston shootings so heartbreaking, the status of refugees throughout the world so dire, the drought in California and many other states so urgent. And closer to home, we have a new neighbor who is threatening the peace and camaraderie that our little street has nourished and cherished for decades. My pup had to have a liver biopsy this week. To name just a few reasons to feel down.

But I am full of hope, despite. I call it my ‘small plate’ philosophy this summer, appreciating what is in front of me: My roses survived icicle decapitation beyond all expectations. I sit back and watch one daughter discover photography while she is briefly home this summer, yet again demonstrating what a talented artist she is, this time through the lens. My son has a successful new job. My eldest has managed not just one, but two nights visiting around a challenging travel schedule. I discovered squid-in-ink with old friends. There is a new barista at The Atomic Cafe with a twinkle in his eye and incredible craft. I have had long walks with girlfriends, sunset boat rides, have tasted amazing homemade blackberry mead. All this in June alone.

This isn’t the summer of long vacationing, per se, but the summer of small plates, small moments with those that count. The traffic goes pell mell, the world spins, the month is ending. But there have been so many small highlights.

I have taken the time to sit with my pup and watched the cardinals feed at dawn. Feeling nourished, even when I feel overwhelmed by the tasks ahead, the greater size and pulse of the world.

Tomorrow, I head back to Seattle to continue my summer of work and attend The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference as well as refresh my writing with the astute Nick O’Connell. Pull more of the manuscript project together. Write with friends. Cook with friends. Look at the lake. Stick to my philosophy.

Call me optimistic and Little Miss Sunshine, but stand still and grab a little bit of what is happening around you.

I discover I don’t need a long holiday. Just to remember to think small. And let that feed me.

Andrew's homemade Blackberry Mead Cosmos.

Andrew’s homemade Blackberry Mead Cosmos.

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