Looking up at freeway overpass, curving around with columns supporting it. Trees can be seen behind the freeway

A few months ago I chose topics for my columns and this first Thursday of the month the topic is change. I tend to write about nature, what is happening outdoors while creating a relationship with the current topic. I find myself in a comfortable place in that kind of writing, focusing on what I experience while out in nature and finding similarities with other parts of my life. I believe that some of this is helpful to others and I gain experience in pulling together words, weaving them into a tapestry and displaying a scene that I hope connects with others. Or possibly weaving together something a bit smaller and less refined, while still connected together.

Wild rose, with pink on the outside edges of petals and white on the inside, framed by leaves

I find it easy to stay in this area, comfortable, like an old pair of clothes that are a little raggedy yet soft and easy on the skin. I seek this feeling, this sense of ease and composure, leaning back and not pushing too hard in what I try to achieve. Then there are times, like tonight, when a word, a theme, will call out for a bit more, a bit of a stretch, to challenge myself and stand outside of that cozy place.

House under construction, dry wall is showing, with empty openings for windows and doors. Fence surrounds the building

For me, and I suspect many people, it’s not easy to move out of that special place, one where I feel comfortable with myself and my circumstances. And if I do move out of that circle, too often I quickly scurry back inside, panting a bit at my bravery in trying some new activity, practicing some new skill or reaching out to new people. I have to allow myself to experience vulnerability, which can feel unsafe or even dangerous, especially if times are uncertain around me. But perhaps that place outside of the warm glow of satisfaction is where I learn the most and grow the most in my life. Things to think about and hopefully I have stepped a smidge outside of my usual comfort zone for this blog.
A note about the pictures, they are provided by my son based on the topic for the column. I always find it interesting to see how he chose to interpret the topic when he selects his picture. As I note at the end, some of his pictures are selected and placed on our shop at Redbubble so that you can buy prints if you are interested. I hope you enjoy his pictures as much as I do.

Pictures by J.T. Harpster. Prints can be purchased at https://shellcreek.redbubble.com/

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