Sometimes it’s just enough to be alive. Actually, it should always be enough, but sometimes I forget this.

One of my goals for the new year is to have mindful mornings, an hour before work where I relax, drink a cup of sweet tea, stretch, read, think, journal… Just for me. Not for my writing. Sometimes I forget that I am a person outside of my writing. Even if my writing “fails,” I haven’t failed. I shouldn’t judge myself based on my creative success. It doesn’t make me any less or any more of a person.

I’m a little lovesick with this holiday break… I enjoy the waking up late, the reading in bed, the eating good things, the hiking, the fresh breeze… I am not looking forward to going back to work; I’m not looking forward to querying again and facing (undoubtedly) rejection, but I am looking forward to getting a short story published this year.

Last week I hiked Camelback Mountain in Arizona, and let me tell you, was it a mountain! I climbed up to the top hand over foot, hauling myself up over the sierra rocks. My heaving breath filtered through the cold air, growing colder with the setting sun, my legs were throbbing, and just when I thought we were to the top, we had another incline to go, then another, and another after that.  Even my brother, an Eagle Scout used to hiking 50 miles with a 50 pound backpack on his back, was taxed.

The first path upwards showed a sobering warning of a young, experienced hiker who’d strayed off the trail and fell to his death. Even on the trail, there were parts where a few missteps could send you down the side of the mountain. I climbed each rock with deliberate thought and careful placement.

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I like physical activity. It ushers in a clear, serene stream of thinking. There’s peace amidst the action.

It took us an hour and a half to reach the top and probably an hour to get down. Oh, but it was so refreshing! I felt cleansed and accomplished.

The desert, the land where the moon never disappears but watches like a distant, spectral guardian, has such a galactic quality to it. I feel as if I’m walking on Mars.

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