It’s true, I’ve found, what they say about how engaging in new and (hopefully!) positive behavior for a period of roughly thirty days can provide another layer to the texture of what we cherish most about ourselves.

When I retired in 2017, the year I turned sixty, I received a small, red-leather journal. I decided I wanted some form of structure to my new freedom-filled days, an accounting of sorts so I used this journal to record those things I’d accomplished each day. Aside from a brief pause – I decided I’d done so long enough but then I hankered for my nightly tradition of enumerating what had transpired – task wise – throughout the past several daylight hours – I continue to write in my WIAT journal every day.

WIAT: What I Accomplished Today.

Of course, there are some things that are just daily givens such as making my bed, brushing my teeth, showering, etc. Those are not WIAT-worthy expenditures. But laundry, mowing the lawn, baking cookies, making progress and/or completing a quilting project, Gravel Travel / photography, writing a new poem, submitting my poetry to a new journal, going for a walk, riding my bike, performing Garbage Patrol or Poop Patrol (picking up after puppy!) – these are just some of the things I add to my journal.

Some days, very few of them actually, are blank. Sometimes, a person’s day might appear to be a non-event, nothing noteworthy on the accomplishment scale. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good or memorable or pleasant day. When I can spend a few hours in the shade of our twin canopies out front, beneath the branches of our oak and maple trees, reading a good book, with puppy at my feet, I’m not exactly operating in firecracker mode. And that’s okay. So what? I don’t have anything of merit or value to add to my WIAT pages.

Or perhaps I’m sick. Or it’s just too hot to do anything at all. Duly noted as self-required justification for my lack of checking boxes of any kind whatsoever. Still okay.

And so, here we are at the beginning of a new year. I just rejoined Goodreads so I can track the books I read, what I’m reading now, what I’d like to read going forward. (My first account was hacked so I jumped ship. I’ve decided to give it another try!) My 2023 Goal: Read 50 books this year.

Another habit I’ve decided to pursue is that of submitting to 100 poetry journals and publications by the first of April, which just happens to be National Poetry Month.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve decided to commit to writing one haiku or senryu each day, some of which I may post here on A Sawyer’s Daughter. I was inspired to do so after reading this article. What I write each day might be ‘rough’. They might be spot on. They might even be cringeworthy. But I’m willing to plow through those first 30 days to create yet another self-embracing strategy for the betterment of Julie.

Happy New Year everyone!

My sister had tipped me off quite awhile ago about this tiny little county park not far from where she lives. I’d tried several times to find it but it remained elusive until I finally asked her for step-by-step directions to its location (at the end of a dead end gravel road). And it did not disappoint! The winding trail, through deep woods, crossed several small bridges – darling enough in their own right.

But then….

There, in the midst of this small, relatively unknown county treasure, I discovered a suspension bridge much to my delight! It even creaked and swayed a bit as I crossed over to the other side. How cool is that? Their website describes the park as follows:

“Zo-El, a 10-acre woodland, features a winding trail that climbs to the back of the park, crosses a long suspension bridge and then descends back to the trail head, affording the hiker a beautiful stroll through a lovely woodland park along with a picnic ground.”

A beautiful stroll, indeed. Made. My. DAY!!

After several wet, gloomy, cold and windy days of April showers, today the sun is finally shining. It’s glorious out there! So I steered the F-150 out of the driveway, armed with a couple of cameras, one fitted with my 100mm macro lens and the other a 17-55 wide angle. True, I was getting a late start as the morning sun was more than halfway on track toward high noon. No matter. I was determined to make the best of it and indulge in a little ‘gravel travel’.

This isn’t my best work and there isn’t anything truly inspired here but what made this morning special was a chance encounter after I’d turned around on a dead end road. I’d passed an older couple in a red SUV as I headed up the hill. We waved our hello’s and continued on. After I’d circled back and was heading the way I’d come, I sighted this same vehicle coming toward me and I could see the driver putting his hand up for me to stop.

Dutifully, I did so and he (and his wife) asked if I was the plumber who was apparently due to show up at some point that day (but hadn’t yet called) and, with a grin on his face, was that me? Chuckling, ‘no’ I assured them it was not. He asked if I was lost and needed directions then. I explained that I had a couple of cameras in the truck and that I was just out taking photographs. I told them I enjoyed traveling gravel roads because ‘you just never know what you’ll find’. They seemed delighted with this response and we chatted for several minutes about the beauty in these wooded parts and about retirement and travel and life in general as well. It was so nice visiting with them and as I drove away I chided myself for not asking if I could take their picture.

These are the kinds of things that truly make my day!

Driving home from a 3-day getaway weekend, we saw the sign for St. Anthony’s, labeled as the ‘smallest church’. Stop the car. Back up….

After a five mile drive along mostly twisting, turning gravel roads, we arrived at our destination. The church holds just two rows of pews, tiny benches, really and there is an old cemetery – just a smattering of gravestones here and there. Quite the place and I’m glad we took the time to check it out. Gravel travel and backroad adventures are like that sometimes!

Here’s a link with more information ~