robinmay robinmay

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Robin May Fleming  Olympic Peninsula, WA By bike, by horse, by word, by foot...

As I made call number 5,479 about our fridge-from-hell, I cleared my throat, looked down at my notes, and prepared to launch into yet another exhausting explanation, to yet another exhausted stranger. ⁣
⁣"Hello, Premier Product Management."⁣
⁣"Hello, I'm calling to arrange—"⁣
⁣"ROBIN! Is that you?" The voice was warm and unexpectedly familiar.⁣
⁣"YES! I thought I recognized your voice, but didn't want to assume." ⁣
⁣The woman on the other end then proceeded to ask me how things had worked out, chuckling with joy as I told her that thanks to her generous advice the previous day, all was surprisingly well, and that I was so glad I got to tell her personally about how she'd helped me. ⁣
⁣She dealt with the logistics I'd called her about, and then we took a second to wish each other great weekends, laughing again just because. I guarantee we both hung up with a smile.
When someone does their job with their whole selves, it transforms mundane tasks and touches everyone they encounter. I'm grateful for the shelter that kindness provides.

This guy had Christmas music playing softly for me when I woke up this morning. And then he built a dark and cozy burrow for me to hide from my migraine. Little acts of intentional love are everything. xo.

My honourary Canadian.
He loves Les Squelettes and will gleefully shout "ANANAS!" whenever he sees a pineapple.
He's consumed more CBC in the past five years than I have in my entire life.
He says "washroom" even though I now say "restroom." And he feels a connection to Canadian values that reminds me why I first felt such a connection to him, all those years ago, across the miles...
I mean kilometres.

No, it wasn't in Lake Crescent (pictured), but I saw my first whale this week—a humpback with a tail so big, my eyes are still trying to convince my brain it was real. The water has looked so much deeper ever since.
Since moving from Toronto, I've seen dolphins, otters, deer, elephant seals, harbor seals, sea lions, eagles, and even a seagull eating an octopus.
And, oh boy, do not even get me started on the spiders. 🙈
Last year, in California, I saw my first mountain lion, which I 100% thought was a kangaroo. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It's amazing living out here on the west coast, in a world that reminds us it's been just barely tamed. It's an honour, really, living amongst ancient trees, on land that's been home to Native Americans for at least 14,000 years.
How can you behold it with anything but reverence? How can you walk it with anything but respect?
I shake my head at politicians in this country who seek to smudge fact into fiction, turning environmentalism into a dirty word and convincing folks who don't know any better that the earth is ours to pillage, that our actions have no consequences.
Maybe I'm luckier than most. I grew up camping every summer with my family for weeks at a time. I learned to see outdoor time as precious, and to feel comfortable feeling small in the wilderness. I still seek out large bodies of water so I can stand at their edge and shrink down to the speck that I am.
Compare that to those who would prefer to dominate at all costs, lest they feel their place in the universe too sharply. Those aren't my people, we don't effortlessly connect, but still I hope to reach them.
Come visit me. Let me show you how small and wonderful you really are. xo.

I felt fundamentally, but inexpressibly, changed after our tour of @spiritbay. We returned the next day to explore some more on our own, and still words failed me. Maybe Matt said it best, as he gazed out from the shore: "This doesn't seem like somewhere people actually get to LIVE." And yet it is.
It's designed for real living—for connecting with neighbours and treading lightly on the land. The founders are working outside stagnant building codes, to push construction principles forward, in many ways by returning to a simpler time:
Smaller houses.
Narrower streets.
Leaving rocks and trees and the natural shape of the land in tact.
Nature really does know best.
I'll be honest: While the downsizing component aligns with our personal values, it challenges us. We've accumulated so much STUFF over the years. Even if we wouldn't need some of it anymore (bye bye, unsustainable lawn practices = bye bye, lawnmower!) anxiety still creeps up and whispers in our ears:
What about that closet? You know the one. It's FULL. Of what? Oh. Well, I'm not really sure.... But that stuff has to go SOMEWHERE.
Doesn't it?
What would your dream space look like? How big would it be? Would it be open-concept for easy gathering, or cozy and cut up into little nooks and escapes? Would it be ocean-front? Lakeside? Tucked away in a forest, or nestled between skyscrapers in a bustling city?
Where would you feel home?

Lots on our minds as we made our way home from Canada. What first went on the calendar as our annual pilgrimage, quickly evolved into something so much more.
I don't *like* the thought of giving up my green card. In my gloomiest moments, I feel I might as well have thrown thousands of hard-earned dollars—and years of hard-earned life—into this salty blue sea.
But I know better than most how often our paths can curve and twist, double back and veer off. What I decide today I don't have to decide tomorrow. And neither do you. xo.

All this plus universal healthcare. 😍
Growing up in Canada, I wouldn't say I took our healthcare system for granted, exactly. But I definitely focused on its shortcomings. Needless to say, my priorities have gotten *quite* the tune-up these past five years in the United States.
My mom's always said: "Nothing matters without your health!" In my irritating, contrarian way, I may have pushed back: "So....sick people have nothing??? Yeah, Mom. No." But obviously that's not how she meant it. And I get it now. Because you can have all the cheap sh*t in the world (and ohmigosh I've accumulated so much cheap sh*t), but if an unexpected illness, accident, or heart attack can bankrupt an otherwise financially secure family, no amount of ANYTHING is going to make you feel in control of your circumstances. No amount of yanking on yer bootstraps.
So yeah. I get it now. The grotesquely gaping health disparity between the rich folks and the not-so-rich folks tells me that SOMEONE is loving American healthcare. And they'll do anything to uphold the status quo. But you and me? We deserve better than this precarious tower of crap we're teetering atop.
So let's do something about it.
Vote your brains out this week, my sweet friends. I believe in you. 💛

Trying to take my brain to this serene place, but it's all jazz hands, twitchy hops, and yeah-but-what's-next?? up in there. ✨ Anyone else have a hard time sleeping when your alarm is set for super early?

Guess where we're headed tomorrow?? There's a clue in this photo. 🔍

Epic, miraculous life can get buried, day-to-day, beneath a million mundane frustrations. Today we're going to carve out some space for joy by carving our Halloween pumpkins. We have SIX this year.

Maybe you've already found your path.
Maybe it's long and winding, with twists and turns through dark places.
Maybe you'll reach that light on the horizon.
Maybe you won't.
Maybe the cool, mossy woods are enough.

Thought we'd stumbled upon a spooooooky gathering of pumpkins in the woods. 🎃 Can you guess what they actually are?

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