To Give To The Light

Hello Friends,

I'm thrilled to announce I'm moving my blog over to my new website To Give to the Light. If you currently subscribe to my posts and would like to continue getting updates, please join my mailing list on the main page.

I have just published a new post over there on Traveling With Wild Swans.

After four years of writing this blog, I am excited for this space to continue to evolve. Thank you for reading. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for being the beating heart of this community.



San Cristobal de las Casas

San Cristobal de las Casas is an ethereal colonial city in the center of Chiapas, the state with the largest population of indigenous people in all of Mexico: 12 federally-recognized groups. Known for jaguars, cloud forests, coffee, chocolate, marimbas, amber, jade, Zapatistas, textiles and Mayan ruins like Palenque, we came looking for adventure and we've found it. We love the food, the markets, the climate, the landscape, the history. But the best part of being here, and indeed this whole time traveling in Mexico, are the people we've met. 

Where to begin? There are so many people we've met briefly who stop to comment on our children("Muy Hermosos! Preciosa! Princesa!"), kind vendors at stores and markets, proprietors and servers at restaurants, strangers on the street quick to smile or answer questions. And so many more wonderful interactions:

Margarita de la Pena, the artist whose home we are renting here (I could live in her house forever), sold me one of her prints I can't wait to frame back in Seattle.

Gabriel, the owner of a restaurant who invited our family to his son's birthday party the next day, which was so much fun. 

Enzue, an artist who told me all about the symbolism of the animals in her work and invited me to come play in her studio.

The taxi driver who picked up his smiling wife to join us on an outing to shop in another village nearby, all of us laughing as we shifted seats in the rickety car to ease the bearings, me holding my breath and my babies tightly. All our taxi drivers have been so friendly, full of recommendations, helpful and polite. And they always know the best taco stands.

Vincente, the 13-year-old boy who showed Xavier how to solve a Rubix Cube in 24 seconds and gave him one of the three he had with him.

A man at the orchid botanical garden who gave us an impromptu tour, enthusiastically showing us plants and speaking in rapid-fire Spanish about botany with such gusto and totally incomprehensible to me.

And, possibly my favorite moment of the entire trip, in the small village of Tenejapa during their Thursday market, a crowd of women and girls who speak Tzeltal and not Spanish, gathered around me smiling and laughing as they showed me how to tie the simple wrap everyone uses to carry babies or goods. We were the only gringos in town and Christian towered over everyone. Afterwards, a family observing from the door of their restaurant ushered us in and fed us tacos as if we were family guests, introducing us to their daughter Georgina (her nickname is Geo, pronounced "Hey-o").

Tomorrow, we travel to Isla Holbox, for our last week of the trip. We are going on full digital detox, so more to come when we return to Seattle.


That New

I love my tradition of searching for, selecting and sharing a poem for the new year. I found this one right about the time I found an actual piñata for us to break on Christmas Eve, a new holiday tradition for us in Mexico. Another wonderful serendipity about this poem for me is that New Year's Eve is the anniversary of my courthouse wedding to Christian. We are seven years in now, with two children new friends recently called "beautifully-spirited." As in any good marriage there are happy days, exhausting moments, laughter, routines, magic, sporadic date nights, arguments, forgiveness and the effort to remember to focus on us as much as our kids. The line "...and I want to bring it back to him, that new" resonates deeply. 

Wishing you all that feeling, that new, in 2017 and "all the lives you might live, each unnamed, until you name it."

That New

At the market today, I look for Piñata
apples, their soft-blush-yellow. My husband
brought them home last week, made me guess at
the name of this new strain, held one in his hand
like a gift and laughed as I tried all
the names I knew: Gala, Fuji, Honey
Crisp—watched his face for clues—what to call
something new? It's winter, only tawny
hues and frozen ground, but that apple bride
was sweet, and I want to bring it back to him,
that new. When he cut it, the star inside
held seeds of other stars, the way within
a life are all the lives you might live,
each unnamed, until you name it.

~ Susan Rothbard