Fleeting.

The sunsets here in New England have been stunning lately. During the day the sky is a crisp, clear cobalt blue. Then as the sun slips down in the evening it paints everything in shades of pink, orange, and gold. For a few fleeting minutes the whole world from land to sky is on fire with brilliant color. The leaves are gold and blushing. The sky is gold and blushing. And we are gold and blushing standing in the same brilliant light.

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I chase the sun and the light around with my camera trying to capture and tame them in my lens but they’re rebellious and always run ahead of me. The sun and the light are not meant to be captured or tamed, just soaked up and enjoyed instead.

The other day I was at the beach at sunset and the sky was showing off again. I had to catch it. It was too pretty not to hold onto. I was with my brother and his family but I just took off running for the sun and left them without explanation standing on the beach. I held tight to my camera and ran across the sand, crossed the road holding up traffic, down the sidewalk to the end of the houses and out to a clearing where I could get an unobstructed view. But the sun wouldn’t obey. The colors were perfect—and gone before I could rein them in and save them to show you.

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So I walked back up the sidewalks, back across the street, and back through the sand to the water. When I came in view my nephew came running and pulled me along by the arm saying I must see what he’s done. I must see the hole he dug. He was digging for gold, you know, and his work must be reviewed. He ran ahead of me on the beach and I followed his little footprints in the sand.

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I praised the hole he had dug that was now filling with water. And I thought—this moment, these babies, those little footprints in the sand, a tug on my arm to come see what he’s done—all this is just as fleeting and perfect as the ever-changing sun.

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Letter to a Younger Me

Dear 16 Year Old Kari,

This is 26 year old Kari—don’t freak out.

It’s been ten years. A lot has happened.

Like…

You finished high school. High five.

You went to and graduated from college. You started as a journalism major and finished with a degree in counseling because you didn’t like other people telling you how to write.

You are still paying for college 😦

You got married and you married well.

{This is your husband. He is hot. I can not describe to you how much you will love him}

You moved across the country to Massachusetts.

You’ve moved three times in Massachusetts and you’re not done yet.

You don’t have kids. They still scare you. But you finally got a cat…and sometimes she scares you too.

You colored your hair. Can you believe that? Me either.

You have to wear contacts because you see like an 80 year old woman without them. You had glasses but you lost them somewhere between Massachusetts and Missouri. The glasses were pink. You chose them from the children’s section (even though you were in your 20s) so it’s probably best that they got lost somewhere between here and there.

You don’t cry anymore. You will find it doesn’t help and one day, you’ll just stop.

There will be this thing called Facebook. You will join somewhere around your junior year of college.

In college a fellow journalism major will ask you what a “blog” is. You won’t know.

You will write a blog.

You will grow more confident about some things, more insecure about others. Security will be a life-long journey.

You still hate fish. I hope you always hate fish.

There will be little tiny phones called “cell phones.” People will walk around typing little tiny emails into their cell Phones—this is called “texting.”

You know that ghetto coffee shop called “Dunkin’ Donuts”? Embrace. Soon you will be best friends.

You will work at an aerospace company. I know, I can’t believe it either.

You will gain weight. Lay off on the Twinkies now doll.

You will always love taking pictures but  you won’t need film anymore.

You will tutor in math. Stop laughing. No, keep laughing because you will hate every second of it and laughing is the only thing that will get you through.

Indiana Jones is still hot.

For one year you will live in the cutest down town apartment with brick walls and wood floors. You will feel like a bird in a tree house and love every second of it.

Max Factor is going to go out of business so buy mascara like it’s the apocalypse baby.

Video stores are going to go out of business too but they will have this thing called “Netflix.”

You know that song by OneRepublic Chris made you listen to? Pay attention; they will become your favorite group.

You will find the world is much bigger than you think and you are wrong about many things.

You will have to say you’re sorry many times.

You will learn to say “I love you” but it will take much longer than you think.

If I could go back I would tell you:

Sleep now. Like, a lot.

Listen more. Talk less.

Breathe in the fresh country air; it will be hard to come by later.

You will get knocked down. You will get hurt. You will feel stupid and ugly. You will get back up.

You are not stupid or ugly.

Those guys you hope will notice you? They aren’t all you think they are. You are fine by yourself and there is a much better guy waiting for you.

You will never stop being afraid you will just learn to push through the fear to accomplish your dreams.

Don’t study so hard in college. Make time for people and build friendships. People will matter long after grades have been forgotten.

Don’t be so sarcastic all the time.

Don’t try to forget where you’re from. Your roots are important and you could never be who you are without them.

In some ways you will be very different. In some ways you will be exactly the same; this is the nature of growing up.

Life is not easy. People are mean. Not all of your dreams will come true.

But

Even though life will not turn out at all as you imagine, it will be fine.

You will be fine.

You will be just fine.

Love,

Your old wrinkled self

{26 Year Old Kari}

P.S. The world is supposed to end this year. I’ll write you in another 10 years and let you know how that goes down.

Night Mail

You want to hear a story? Oh good.

So, the husband and I attended a university where guys and girls still live in separate dorms across campus from each other. You can call it old-fashioned but having separate dorms led to something rather adorable in my book: Night Mail. You see, the guys and girls each had a wooden box rigged up on wheels with a rope on the front to pull it around. In these boxes the students would leave letters and packages addressed to each other and at night, after we were all back in our rooms for curfew, a couple of guys or girls (depending on who’s turn it was) would grab the wooden box and roll it across campus through the dark laughing and giggling about all the love letters and cologne drenched envelopes being sent from one heart to another. Once to the other side of campus, the boxes were exchanged and the letters dropped off in stacks at each of the dormitories. Then a couple more students would take the stacks of letters and slide them under Romeo or Juliet’s door. It was a hoot…and quite romantic, really. I remember how exciting it was when a letter with my name came sliding under the door. I would snatch it up, hop in bed, and pour over the words of the man who would later become my husband. Darren and I now have boxes of letters from our dating days. So much of our relationship is scripted out in the words we wrote back and forth as we came to know and love each other. Darren the artist filled his letters with drawings and illustrations that still make me smile when I come across them. My favorite picture he drew was of me calling him:

The little guy jumping in the air–gets me every time :]

Between night mail and all the time we spent living across the country from each other, written letters became a staple in our relationship–and we still write each other letters today. Sometimes old fashion is the best fashion of all, kids ;]