Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hashtag Amazing

Different day, different place, same #amazing moon
I tried to take a picture of the moon as it rose above the mountains from my highly artistic perch in the grocery store parking lot. I wanted to show you. I wanted to say to the lady rifling through the too-yellow bananas in search of the green--I wanted to ask, "Did you see that moon? Isn't it amazing tonight?"

I wanted to post it on Instagram so all of us, all of us shopping for groceries under the same ridiculously bright moon, could agree on the beauty. So you could click the clear little heart for "like" while fiddling with your phone in the express line. All you needed were bananas and milk. So this picture of an amazing moon, well, that would be a bonus.

I live in a place that routinely takes my breath away, be it because it's zero degrees or because I caught a glimpse of Denali under the pink spell of a winter sunset. A mountain hundreds of miles away, and I can see it as I drive home from getting the eggs and returning the library books. How is this even for real? I think. And on I go, driving through postcards. Even if I could take a picture while driving, the picture wouldn't do it justice. Not to the moon, not to the mountain, not to the moment.

But beauty shared, eyes ahead, shoulders beside, is so much richer than a glimpse alone. There's something deep within my DNA, even as an introvert, that cannot see a beautiful thing without calling out to you to come see it too.

When we drove 4600 miles from Ohio to Alaska, we divided our lives and livestock into two cars. (I drove the children, and L got the dog. I'll let you decide who had the better end of that bargain.) We used two-way radios to communicate. We thought we'd just use them to decide on pit stops and clarify directions. But we could barely go 15 minutes without calling out. Did you see that? Gorgeous! Look to your right! Amazing!

By day four, we had a running road trip joke. Whenever we saw something beautiful, we'd ring to the other car and say in our best valley girl voices, "Hashtag aah-MAZE-ing!" It became a thing. The kids chimed in with their adorable little voices and a hundred times a day we were shaking our heads, saying can you believe this? Hashtag AMAZING.

The human condition is this: We need to see the beautiful things to keep from giving up, and we need to see them while standing next to each other, eyes lifted, not staring down at screens. So grab someone near. Tell them to look at the moon or the sunset or an open field or a two hundred year old building or whatever beautiful thing it is that you see with your own eyes. And I promise you, it will be doubly amazing without the hashtag.


  1. Gorgeous like the moon. Love this post so much!

  2. This is so wonderful. I know just what you mean, that impulse to share, to point, to say "do you see that too?" Oh, yes. xox

  3. I found your blog through Salty Running (I was the one saying there is no perfect time for a marathon...just go for it). Can I just say that while I know Alaska's long winter would get to me a little, I find myself more than a little jealous right now. My goodness, it is absolutely stunning!!! I had to bring my kids to the computer to show them the pictures of your children's world. I consider myself pretty lucky to live in rural Ottawa, Ontario with a view of Quebec's Gatineau Hills and only minutes from the Ottawa River. But none of it compares to that wild beauty of Alaska. One day, I have got to get there. Please keep posting more beautiful pictures!

    1. Kristi! So glad to connect with you here! Your stomping (running!) grounds sound gorgeous as well...we went to Quebec one winter while living in Maine and it was as beautiful as it was cold. :-) I'm guessing we have very similar winter running challenges! I will keep posting the pictures as they come. From here on out until about May, there will be lots of white! :-)