Juvenile bald eagle soaring in a clearing sky.
Juvenile bald eagle soaring in a clearing sky.
Juvenile bald eagle. Photo Jan 17 2021, L. Woodruff.

We can all: A Catch-22.

I woke up this morning thinking about freedom. I read MLK’s Letter from Birmingham Jail before I got out of bed.

January 18, 2021. It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the US, also the beginning of a new week and, one hopes, a new era in our fractured place.

I thought about equality this morning, that half-truth to which we pretend to aspire, when those who write the rules know full well that true equality is not possible until the playing field is level. That’s equity. How can we get to equity when…


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Snowy owl, Plum Island, MA. © Lesli Woodruff 2020

I remarked to a friend over the weekend that I guess this year was meant to teach me Aparigraha and Bramacharya; cultivating the art of patience, restraint, letting go, and finding the exit (gift shop optional) in the murky darkness.

I’ve spent the last decade-plus, really beginning another lifetime ago, studying yoga. Its physical and philosophical practices have helped me stay the course, diverge from it when required, and get back to simple truths when the world seems like a cattywampus collection of expletives in any number of tongues, forked.

And so, when the gods of absurd realities pushed me…


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I feel like a bird.

A bird with a broken wing. In a cage. On an island. Set afloat in the sea. It’s an inflatable island, with a pin-sized hole, or series of them, on a trajectory for The Great Garbage Patch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

On the 4th of July, I was hiking and took a fall. I’m pretty good at falling, normally. But, this is 2020, so I of course ended up in the emergency room. With a broken shoulder. In gross technical terms, it is a mildly-displaced comminuted fracture of the greater tuberosity of…


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As if the gods of small annoyances weren’t already having a field day with 2020, they really took liberties on the fourth of July this year, demonstrating all they’ve learnt during lockdown, and which bones to pick, quite literally.

10 miles into a really really nice hike in Western Mass, there was a very small hill, atop which lurked a root, within which conspired a plan to royally uproot (pun intended) my summer. …


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My little city by the sea… streets deserted, as if waiting for what’s next.

After a particularly 2020 Thursday, I extracted myself from my desk, untethering a foggy brain from the pile of as yet unfinished to-do’s on my task list, disenfranchising my mood from the call I’ve just ended, glad the customer’s red tape, hoops to jump and gauntlet of demands were less horrible than initially thought. A quick Google Flights search to see if there are actually any destinations available yet. Rien.

Earbuds, check. Shoes, camera, keys. Mask. Check, check, check. Sigh.

As I walk, it’s feeling like early summer, but early summer somewhere just slightly off. Like that feeling of re-entry


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I forget which day lockdown actually started. It was like one day the world was relatively normal and the next, a fog of the unknown overspread the planet, where fear and death and angst gets caught in your teeth as you eat breakfast. Or like you’re watching yourself walk through a horrible B-movie and you’re trying to scream at the characters on the screen, “Run! Get. Out. Now…While you still can!”

March came in like a lamb and went out like a rabid Tasmanian devil that sat on a pack of fire ants.

I miss my yoga kula and a…


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I lost my dog to cancer last week.

I cried for 2 days, from when he laid his big head on my hand and closed his eyes for the last time, until my tears ran out. Neither my vet nor his staff could hug me; my friends could not console. I cried for 2 days straight. On my own. I can confirm that it takes a body about a day and a half to replenish its stores.

It’s weird, this loss during lockdown…I’m feeling sorry for myself for feeling sad. I’m feeling sad for myself and for the state of…


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Yep. Travel plans are pretty much in limbo for the foreseeable future. So any pipe dreams for diving in April or hiking in May are certainly dashed. Don’t even know if my niece’s graduation over Memorial Day Weekend is a possibility at this point, even a month and a half away. They’ve closed schools here until May. We’re on semi-lockdown and there is still a shortage of toilet paper and dry goods in the grocery stores. It’s madness. It’s weirdness. It’s an unsettled quiet like I’ve never known in my lifetime, even after 9/11. And my stepmother put it well…


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This week, I found out that my almost-16-year-old dog has lymphoma. It wasn’t a surprise. I mean, he’s over 100 in people-years. The lumps in his jowls have felt lumpier of late, so this week we went in to check on these and the other elder-dog maladies.

Google gives him 2–4 weeks. My vet, a more optimistic 6–8. Drugs or chemo would be an option, if it were an option. But he’s already past his optimistic expiration date (GSPs generally live 12–14 years), and I’m not inclined to make his last weeks or months worse by these palliatives’ side effects.


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I’ve just returned from 3 weeks in Southeast Asia. It had been a rough few months at work, with an overload of “on”: meetings and projects and deadlines, and too little of the quiet, nature-filled and people-free moments that enable me to adequately recharge my batteries. So when the opportunity to visit my uncle in Bangkok over the holidays presented itself, I seized the day, as it were, to carve an itinerary around that visit.

I’m also the textbook definition of an introvert: I avoid parties and am exhausted by small talk and larger crowds; I’m very careful about who…

Lesli Woodruff

Instructional Designer, writer, photographer, wanderer, reluctant but sometimes sparkly introvert, curious one, believer in magic. http://lesliwoodruff.com

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