I have words washed out to sea. Words ushered quietly from my lips to my fingertips, waiting patiently for the right tide, for the moon to bring my stories alive.

I have words being reviewed, words accepted and words rejected, and I’m clinging to my favorite lines, fighting for them, and it feels strange and new and exhilaratingly infuriating, this tug-of-war of wills and how the slightest bit of caving can make me feel like I’m flirting with abandoning the sanctity of a story. As it turns out, I’m protective of my phrases, perhaps too much so, and so I’m learning when to stand my ground and when to let the ground go tumbling out from underneath me and I’m wondering if catapulting my words into the eyes of impartial third-parties will ever feel even slightly comfortable. Right now it mostly feels like every inch of me splayed open in front of scrutinizing strangers, my voice quiet while my words chatter nervously, naked and vulnerable and waiting to be torn asunder should they ramble or run-on or pause for too long.

Twice a week we saunter to sleep before 11pm, invite our dreams to come early so we can rise and add the sound of our feet flying over ice and snow to dark moonlit hours otherwise devoid of all sound, save for the quiet and yet unmistakable hopeful humming of a day just breaking, all consciousness and worry still soundly sleeping, nothing more alive than the blank slate creeping across butterscotch hills laden with promise as long as the trails we traipse, eyes blown open by exhilarating cold, wind dancing across our eyelids. In these pre-dawn hours there is not light enough for worry; to-do lists aren’t welcome here, can’t compete with the peace of legs turning over and over and over still, arms pumping, hot breath steaming in front of faces softly waking, happily star-gazing. I love these mornings best because at 4am there is only the present tense and it’s stunning and I like to think about him climbing and careening down silhouetted ridge-lines above me, his legs warm and loose now and miles ahead of mine, his momentum pulling me ever forward like a conveyer belt of dirt and rock and sagebrush, like the magnetic mountains pull him to them, up and up and higher still.

Yesterday morning I met a hawk on my way into my favorite coffee shop and he let me stand next to him for multiple minutes and I smiled as I admired his stately stance and his dappled rust-red breast and he looked at me with clear eyes (full hearts, can’t lose) and reminded me I’d dreamed of an eagle the night prior and since then I haven’t stopped thinking about flying.

I’ve been spending the bulk of my days reading and writing and working and running and laughing and being happily highly caffeinated. I collect slivers of sunlight for less bright days, but in this valley of apples I’ve found I never have to wait too long for the light to come rushing back if ever it’s gone. The sun comes to dance here almost daily, giddily cascading, cannonballing, catapulting itself into windows and foothills and upturned faces. Soon enough with prolonged light warmth too will come skipping, clipping winter’s frosty heels, and already I can feel the gentle touch of fall soft and sure against my skin. Already I can hear fingers reaching for the edge of a page where another chapter’s ended, and another’s about to begin.