Number 50

Nature's Folly

WHEN YOU'RE ON THIS MOUNTAIN in summer, it's hard not to park yourself at the edge of the deck, whiling away the hours simply watching. Cotton ball clouds hang low in the sky, their business seeming no more serious than the throwing of shadows across the ridges—this shape, then that—a fun, happy game that feels put on purely for their own enjoyment.
What a joy it is to get to see this show, to share in it, to have a view to nature's folly.
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It's the same with the wildflowers, and the grasses, and the bushes and trees. A new stalk here, a pop of color there, bees and butterflies and all manner of creepy-crawlies rejoicing simply in their appearance. It's as if these creatures recognize the emergence of significant life from ground that, for so long, was dormant, and with joy they celebrate the establishment of an existence growing deeper and richer and more beautiful by the minute.
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I FEEL THAT WAY, too. And I am grateful for such a wide view and a window into a broad perspective that helps keep me grounded. Like so many, I am deeply troubled by so much in the world and in our country these days, and in particular by decisions that feel like a slow (or not so slow) march toward an oppressive and very bleak tomorrow. I consider these things, and the word that comes to mind most often is unfathomable.
But fathom we must.
And so I look to the mountains and the sky and the endless layers of blue upon blue, of green upon green upon ever more green. I extend my arms; I breathe in. I breathe out and I stand fully and consciously a child of God. I stand immersed in and surrounded by a wild, beautiful grace, unearned, boundless, exceeding.

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image: Netflix
Speaking of things to cheer you! If you find yourself in need of such, please tap into the joy of Somebody Feed Phil. You may already know Phil Rosenthal as the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond. In this Netflix series he travels the globe, eating his way across famous city after famous city. Phil is game for anything, and he's really goofy which makes this adorable instead of obnoxious. But it's not even the food that is most entertaining about the series. It's his great fascination with people. He is a good conversationalist and genuinely interested guy. I love that.
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Please follow @mattshirlee on Instagram. He produces charts. Like this one. Every State's Least Favorite State
Leave the Door Open by Silk Sonic*
*Also known as Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak
How to Get That Perfect Shelfie Look, from designer Leanne Ford
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I've taken a big dive into "summer" reading, which to me means books that require very little of me and yet are compulsively readable. My favorite so far (there have been some DUDS let me tell you) is this one. The Paris Apartment is the latest who-done-it by Lucy Foley. I really enjoyed her last book, The Guest List, and there's no mistaking this is the same author. I read this one on audio.

Wildflowers, Grace and Goodness

There's something magical about a world that feels new every day—a kind of life-source energy that radiates and permeates and restores. I've felt it this spring on this mountain, and what's more? So much of it has come from the mystery and miracle of wildflowers.
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