Daring to Toss the To-Do List
and handing the mic over to you
Happy 2023, everyone, and welcome to new subscribers Robert G., philolibris, r3vitalitylab, Patti P., Matthew N., Kate B., BlueStateRefugee, Israel S., Veronica, and Alicia K.! I’d love to know more about you, so don’t miss the call for introductions at the end of the post.
I don’t know how your first week of 2023 has been, but mine’s been fairly packed. I typically write this newsletter in real-time (mostly), meaning what you receive each Saturday is from my current week. While I think this strategy makes Release and Gather feel more like a letter from an old friend, it can also get me in a bit of a jam if I’ve not carved out enough hours for my three Rs: reading, ruminating, and writing.1
Two of the grandkids spent three adventurous days with us at the beginning of the week, which took priority to…well, everything. We don’t get nearly enough time with them, so we seized the opportunity and let the rest of the world wait until we were done. The dishes waited. The laundry was abandoned. And yes, the keyboard was happily discarded for more pressing activities.
Mike and Chandler chopped bamboo in our wooded area while Chloe chose and cleaned a piece for her hiking stick.2 From the picnic table, we called hello to neighbors taking advantage of the warm day with a leisurely stroll. We watched Mary Poppins Returns. We ate spaghetti and meatballs, pancakes and bacon, and King cake and ice cream sandwiches (not all at the same time). We took a walk on the Mississippi riverfront where the kids found a cool marble, a couple of kindness rocks, and some animal tracks. We (the grandparents) created new aches and pains at an old-school bowling alley. The days were full!
My favorite part of their time with us, though, was our trip to Poverty Point World Heritage Site, a place I visited when I was a teen and took my own children about 15 years ago. I’m grateful for curious grandchildren. We watched a film and checked out artifacts before embarking on the 2.6-mile hiking trail across the site’s concentric semi-circles and past its five mounds.3
Centuries ago, when Stonehenge was built and Queen Nefertiti ruled Egypt, American Indians were building earthen monuments in north Louisiana. Hand by hand and basketful by basketful, men and women shaped nearly 2 million cubic yards of soil into stunning landscapes. The result was a massive 72-foot-tall mound, enormous concentric half-circles and related earthworks that dwarfed every other earthen monument site for 2,200 years.4
Did we climb that 72-foot-tall mound? You know we did! Our reward was a fantastic view of the area, including a deer sprinting across a field and disappearing into the woods. Our walk took us through some of those wooded areas, where we saw five more white-tailed deer. The kids were thrilled that the ruckus turned out to be the deer because they’d been a little afraid we’d run upon a bear!5
I jotted down a couple of things they said as we walked—reminders for me to slow down and choose the more difficult path (I know I just wrote about doing this very thing last month, but somehow I tend to forget!). We were given the option to take the driving path or the hiking trail to the mounds, and 7-year-old Chandler reflected on that just after we saw the deer:
I don’t know why anyone would want to drive instead of hiking on the trail. Walking is fun!
A bit later as we’d gotten about 3/4 through our journey, the two routes converged, and I asked the kids if they wanted to continue on the hiking trail into another wooded area or take the paved road back. 11-year-old Chloe thoughtfully replied:
Let’s take the trail. I always have to choose the most daring path.
Such wise words.
This week, I challenge you, dear reader, to choose the most daring path and see if you aren’t rewarded!
I hope you’ll forgive me for this shorter-than-normal newsletter edition, but this is real life—and I’ve been living it!
I’d love to know more about each of you and how you’ve been adventuring this week (and sometimes an adventure happens right in our own homes!). Why don’t you head over to the comments and share something about yourself? Don’t be shy! Share as much or as little as you’d like.
See you next week for the second-Saturday January Collection (I decided to continue them in 2023)!
Yes, I know the original three Rs, but I’d much rather practice rumination than arithmetic!
She literally took a brush and meticulously scrubbed the bamboo into a high shine!
The artifacts that fascinated me most were the plummets, which could have been used for weighing down fishing nets but archaeologists can’t be certain. I found this article on the plummets here: https://peachstatearchaeologicalsociety.org/index.php/9-hardstone/473-southeastern-plumets
Despite their Papa’s reassurance that Louisiana Black Bears are more afraid of humans than we are of them.