For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Outdoor Dreaming . . .

Today’s special guest is PAGE LAMBERT, guide and mentor for women who want to connect or reconnect with nature in a deep, inner exploration of self. Lambert’s own tie to nature is profound and joyous. Welcome, Page!

-- Rosemary Carstens, Editor

Spring is the time of the year when I begin to panic. Last fall’s carelessly scattered optimism has taken root, breaking through the nitty-gritty soil of today’s reality. The lazy days of winter, which I expected to spend sequestered in my writing den, have vanished. Summer is just around the proverbial corner and I find myself wondering why I thought I could accomplish even half of what’s on the calendar. A horseback writing retreat in Wyoming? A writing salon in Taos? A canoe trip on the Green? A river writing and sculpting trip on the Colorado? Even a 3-day retreat perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Someone clone me, PLEEEZE!

The chasm between last fall’s optimism and the reality of the summer schedule is deep, and steep. Panic sets in. Then I begin to read the letters from various retreat participants, sharing their dreams for their upcoming adventures.

A few responses are casual. “No specific goals—just want to relax.” But many agonize, sharing intimate details, lifelong dreams, age-old disappointments. “I used to pray for all the things I wished for, but most of my wishes didn't come true,” writes one woman. “Now my prayers are gentler, and my hope is that somehow my life story will make sense to me in the end. That's what writing does for us, isn't it? Helps us to process the mystery?”

Yes, that IS what writing does for us, especially when we embrace the mystery of both joy and pain. “Sometimes life takes you abruptly down a path you would never choose and grinds you up a bit,” writes another woman. “I want to heal.” Another shares a desire to simply be appreciative: “I want to find a way to save in my core the beauty I've seen and felt.” Another wants to face her fear of water. Another, her fear of horses.

Another kind of fear often surfaces. The honesty of what a well-known broadcast news journalist writes humbles me: “I’ve spent years buying beautiful leather journals, which are stacked away in various parts of my house, without a single word written in any of them. I’m intimidated by the thought that I have nothing worthwhile to say.”

Often, colorful stories emerge in these letters. “I didn't get a horse until one of my favorite uncles was killed in World War II,” one participant writes. “He left a beautiful sorrel quarter horse that he'd ridden to win goat-roping contests every Sunday.”

Some dreams are less ambitious, but just as vital to creativity. “I want to remember what the night sky looks like when the tent fly is off.” She may surprise herself, deciding by the second night to sleep outside the tent! One enthusiastic soul simply writes, “I’m on a mission!!” And then this wonderful confession: “I am giving this experience to myself as a 50th birthday present. I can’t believe it. I don’t feel 50!

Each of these letters reminds me how lucky I am to share rivers and horses and canyons and deserts and mountains with such like-hearted souls. The best part, though, will be falling asleep (in a comfortable bed) this fall, thinking not only of the letters, but of all the smiles and tears that graced the summer, feeling eager to sow more seeds.

PAGE LAMBERT writes from Santa Fe, often about Wyoming, often about Colorado, often about rivers, but always about the land and the many ways in which it feeds us. She has been leading creative outdoor writing adventures for ten years, working in partnership with organizations such as The Women’s Wilderness Institute, the Grand Canyon Field Institute, and the Aspen Writers Foundation. In 2006, the River Writing Journeys she facilitates were featured in Oprah’s O magazine as “one of the top six great all-girl getaways of the year.” For more about her published books and editing and consulting work, or to get on the waiting list for next year’s “Literature and Landscape of the Horse” retreat in Wyoming:


Monique Cole said...

Your words are inspiring. I'm looking forward to this summer of long sunny days in the high country of Colorado. Maybe I'll start journaling again instead of just writing other people's stories.

Unknown said...

I know Page from her Wyoming ranch days. She's inspiring here, there, and everywhere.
Jerrie Hurd

Anonymous said...


Perhaps one of the reasons outdoor retreats and writing seem to go hand in hand is that nature is the ultimate model for authenticity. My own experience with nature is one of touching the natural world and, simultaneously, touching something deep within myself. Present moment awareness takes over and that is where magic resides. My best writing happens in those moments when I tap into something both deep within me and more universal than my own experience. Nature provides bread crumbs back to the self.

Melanie Mulhall

Anonymous said...

Dear Aloha,

Glad to know you'll be enjoying Colorado's beautiful, sunny, high-country days - perhaps with journal in hand. And perhaps our paths will cross in person, hopefully during one of my Colorado retreats, and you can share a bit of your writing with the group.


Anonymous said...

Jerrie - how great to see your comment on Rosemary's guest blog! I'm moving back to Colorado this month and would enjoy catching up. Stay in touch!

Anonymous said...

Melanie - Yes! "Present Moment Awareness" says it well. To be engaged with nature is to be engaged with both worlds - the interior landscape and the exterior landscape. Magic happens when these two worlds intersect. Thank you for your great articulation!