It took no time at all to instantly fall back into our quiet life in the woods after our 2 week Tulsi-Tour. No need to go anywhere. Not for a long time. I used to feel slightly embarrassed about the fact that it is common for me to be at home for eight to ten days in a row. I guess I felt like I was a loner, like that isn’t all that healthy. Now I just feel grateful that I have the option TO spend so much time at home, in nature, with my family and my art and surrounded by so much beauty.

Traveling always makes me appreciate home even more than I already do. I am used to breathing fresh mountain air and that flavor of pine needles in my morning walks that make me feel like I’m camping. I forget that not everyone (okay, very few of us) lives with a chai wallah and therefore gets homemade spicy chai made with milk that Joy milked that very morning. And water…now I know I sound spoiled when I say this: it was VERY difficult to be away from our yummy well water. Then there’s sunlight…starlight…and wide, open skies… Yeah, I’m happy to be home.

And our trip was good! Got to see so many dear friends and family. Stood up with my beautiful sister on her wedding day and met my sweet niece for the first time. Went for long walks under huge maples and oaks and birches, raining red, orange and yellow leaves. Tulsi had a great adventure, too. She was a stellar little traveler. She loves people, and I especially love watching her sense of humor come to light. She also gained some new ‘tricks’ : clapping (with her hands AND feet), making fishy faces, and  “Ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba!” It is the sweetest thing to watch her practice these 3 things over and over and over, even upon waking at 3 am, under a full moon.

I had a super sweet visit with my friend Kelly. She cooked up the best meal I’ve had in forever…baked carrots and potatoes grabbed fresh out of her own dirt, topped with fresh goat cheese and pesto made of her arugula, watercress and sorel, on a bed of brown rice, and sided with sauteed carrot greens and nettles. Can you say food orgasm for the vegetarian? Kelly’s art always inspires me, and her lifestyle has me in a beautiful tizzy…she and her husband are truly living the homestead life, a life that Patrick and I keep striving more towards, one of self-sufficiency, gentleness and mindfulness. Because even though we do live some of this way, we can live it so much more still (I’ll write more on that soon.) Thanks so much, Kelly, for such a sweet day walking your land and counting fish and froggies with Miss Tulsi!

We also got to visit with my friend Betsy and her husband and talk about the wanderings and love of making kids’ books. When you spend so much time alone as an illustrator and writer, it is incredibly refreshing to share with others who do the ‘same’ thing, especially while swooshing thru 8 inch drifts of crunchy fallen leaves in search of a castle. I also got to spend time with more author/illustrator friends, Laura, Jenny and Shane who always fill me up. I feel recharged and am swimming in a sweet current!