About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

A love letter to the river, part 2

As my days here in California dwindle, I’m trying to savor the things and places I’ll miss most. Last week’s post offered up the first part of a love letter to the river here. This week’s focuses on a more specific love I have for the river: the birds it attracts.

A Great Heron keeps a watchful eye from its nest.

Double-crested Cormorants line up along a wire across the river. I love their turquoise eyes.

White-tailed Kites perched in their tree before going on a hunt.

Perhaps it is the birds I will miss most about the river. Unexpected varieties of birds have became daily companions. I’ve searched for them on morning walks and brought friends to see them in pouring rainstorms.

The little Anna’s Hummingbird that perches in the same tree top each morning. The pair of White-tailed Kites who have their own tree to defend from interloping hawks. Owls I can hear but never see in the dimmest early morning hours. The big birds that come in hunting salmon and trout: golden eagles, bald eagles, osprey. Then there are the herons, egrets, cormorants, mergansers, and other birds who are ever present. I’ve even come to appreciate the vultures.

Encountering these birds make up some of my favorite memories, and I will carry them with me in my heart when I go.

Do you have favorite birds you see where you live? Or when you travel?

A love letter to the river

In less than three weeks, I’ll begin the journey back across the country to move home. This past month has brought tears and hugs and goodbye visits with friends who’ve become dear to me. I’m thrilled to be going home, but there’s plenty I’ll miss.

For the next few posts, I’ll be sharing a love letter to the river. The river has been my most constant companion in my time here, and whatever the season, it offers its gifts and treasures and delights without asking anything in return. Maybe the river appreciates that I take the time to stop and notice.

At the start of a bountiful rainy season in 2016

Spring lupines decorate the river bank (2016).

A quiet winter sunset

Whether rushing or gently rolling, the river always carries away some of my cares when I stand at its banks. For that, I am in its debt.

What are some of the things you miss from places you’ve lived before? Is there something where you live now that may be calling for a little bit of your heart?

Early spring

For many of you, spring probably feels a long way off. In California (at least near me), spring is getting a head start. The star magnolia is always one of my favorite early spring blooming trees. This one sits in the garden by Jack London’s cottage:

Are there any signs of spring where you live?


I’m dedicating today’s post to JAC. Sweet friend—I can’t sit with you as you go through this hard time, but think of this post as my way of bringing you flowers and light.

Inspiration from a literary giant

This past weekend, I visited Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. I wandered trails, gazed at ruins and tall trees, and visited London’s grave and cottage. I learned about London’s life and passion for farming (a surprise to me). Mostly, I recharged.

There’s something inspiring in hearing park rangers proudly describe London’s work ethic: 1,000 words a day, usually before noon. Then he headed over to entertain guests in his cottage’s adjoining space that held a living room, dining room, and kitchen.

One of London’s typewriters in his spacious office

A great oak, one London could have seen from his office windows

Notes on a clothesline in London’s sleeping porch

Where are some of your favorite places for renewal and inspiration?

Surprise visitors

In late December, when the steelhead trout were making their run upriver, a morning visitor surprised me. I heard a great splashing. At first, I thought someone was letting a very large dog swim in the river. Then I realized it was a creature much more at home in water.

A sea lion, far from the ocean

If Google—and my eyes and ears—can be trusted, the surprise visitor was a sea lion (not a seal). It and a companion stayed in the area for several weeks, and on some of my morning runs, I could hear barking from a long way off.

Stretching out in the water

I haven’t seen the sea lion for the last couple of weeks, but the times I spotted it swimming in the river filled me with joy and delight.

Have you encountered any unexpected visitors lately? I hope they brought you joy.