When looking for a Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree 2017

When looking for a Christmas tree in the mountains of Colorado, you may just get distracted by all the other natural wonders around you that periodically you forget to look for the holiday wonder in question.

Christmas Tree 2017

Christmas Tree 2017

“Nature” is what we see—
The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.”
-Emily Dickinson

Christmas Tree 2017

Christmas Tree 2017

Christmas Tree 2017

We’ll talk about the Christmas tree next time.


SIGNED, anya elise

Continue Reading

pocket postcards vol. 3

thanksgiving table

Dear Thanksgiving 2017:

Thank you for being a day of warmth and sun and bright skies. You made it possible for the local Turkey Trot to commence unimpeded. (I people-watched from the sidelines with coffee and a cinnamon roll in hand; it was lovely.)

To the doggo dressed like a turkey at the aforementioned Trot: You were a delight, never change.

To my tiny kitchen: You proved the perfect studio for painting the canvas that was our feast, despite your rather diminutive size. This was my first time hosting Thanksgiving, and it was a smashing success (if I may say so myself).

To our nearby grocery store: Even though I failed, in a rather spectacular fashion, to prepare edible gravy, you had on hand just enough canned gravy for our needs. It was a Thanksgiving miracle.

To the record function on our television: You made it possible for us to watch the Macy’s parade in its entirety, throughout the morning at our own pace, in between stuffing the turkey and destroying perfectly promising gravy recipes. Sometimes technology comes through for you.

To my sister: I have successfully avoided preparing the turkey once more, all thanks to you. Rock on.

To the “Muppet Christmas Carol” movie: Every single year, you are a reliable and grand adventure for all of us who remain kids at heart. Truly, you never get old.

Rizzo the Rat: “Boy, that’s scary stuff! Should we be worried about the kids in the audience?”
Gonzo: “Nah, it’s all right. This is culture!”

To the two succulents, one coffee plant, a pumpkin-holdover from Halloween, and a couple of mismatched vases filled with appropriately-hued flowers that dressed the pre-dinner table: Stand-up job, everyone. Does Martha Stewart know about you?

And finally, to the dear day of Thanksgiving itself: I’d like to proclaim a particular thanks to you for being the harbinger of the holidays. What could be better than gathering your loved ones around the table and indulging in all the best comfort foods as you reflect on that for which you are most grateful, all while happily anticipating the next several weeks of jolly music, festivals, activities and joy that is possible in the forthcoming season. Happy holidays, one and all.

SIGNED, anya elise

Continue Reading

Living in a greenhouse

virginia greenhouse

If I were to live in a greenhouse, I would have fresh flowers in my home every day.

Guests would enter through my weathered — but still entirely proper — yellow-painted front door, and be greeted by such an abundance of greenery that they would be happily taken aback.

I would offer them honey-sweetened dandelion tea, and show off my still-developing coffee plant, explaining it would be at least five years before there were any beans of which to speak. We would agree that coffee is almost always preferable, but that the dandelion tea was still quite nice.

Continue Reading

St. Mary’s Glacier

If you are in Colorado and you are not taking yourself on outdoorsy expeditions right now, then you are not doing yourself any favors. Get outside! Breathe in the coming autumn. Go now. Do it.

I’ll wait.




Good work, friends! How did it go? Let’s get together and exchange stories over coffee, hot cider and cake.

Here, I’ll start: At the end of last week, my sister and mother — and trusty philosopher dog, Bailey — went on an adventure to St. Mary’s Glacier.

st mary's glacier

Continue Reading

On never forgetting

When I was 14 years old, the world changed forever. Not only my personal world, as our family structure began to shift to two households, but the entire, wide world beyond my narrow and self-involved vantage point. It was 2001.

In September 2001, I was still very much an uncertain young gal, uncomfortable in my own skin, and completely unconvinced that I fit in a setting beyond the Colorado neighborhood I grew up in with my three siblings. I had been homeschooled for my entire life up until that point, and had only just begun to wade into the chaotic, loud and terrifying environment that is a public high school. The world seemed too big for my adolescent self to ever grow into. It was like gazing at an ancient world map that depicted the world as flat and largely unexplored, land and ocean borders dropping off into darkness beyond the scope of that generation’s knowledge. It was simply vacant past a particular point. There were maybe dragons.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my older sister and I got up early to get ready for school. To begin our trek into public school life, we had joined the choir at one of our local high schools. Two or three times a week, we would begin our days in a large, high-ceilinged classroom designed for music education with dozens of other teenagers. That day, the school year was still new, and we were still in the process of figuring out our place among all those other students. We were in the habit of listening to a morning radio show every morning. The kind of show that featured a couple of hosts bantering about celebrity gossip, local news, and that day’s trivia question, interspersed with the musical hits of the day. (Think Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC.) As we listened, the radio hosts broke from their usual carefree topics and cautiously began referencing a plane crash in New York City. Though they remained calm, there was a note of urgency and fear in their voices. We turned on the news. The second plane hit the World Trade Center.

No one knew what was happening, but it was painfully clear that something earth-shaking and catastrophic had occurred. My mother got us into the car to drive to school.

When Emily and I walked into the choir room, the usual loud, unconfined chaos of teenagers starting their school days was absent. It was eerie, quiet, clouded. We were all still too young, children born in the 1980s, with very little personal experience with war and death and terror. Our choir teacher had turned on a boxy and outdated classroom television, and told us we would be quietly watching the news during the course of that period. Thirty minutes later, we watched as the south tower collapsed. In what felt like an entire lifetime and somehow at the same time, just a single moment, the north tower also fell. Just after 9 a.m. MT, we were dismissed from class and told to go quietly to our next period. I don’t think anyone made much noise.

It is now 2017. Sixteen years later. Everything has changed. And yet, inexplicably, some things continued on their course. Those kids who sat silently in the choir room, we still grew up, went to college and started our careers. We continued our lives’ journeys. Some of us got married. Others had children. We became adults. We are now in our 30s.

We vowed to remember, to never ever forget. We hope still to somehow honor those who were lost, whose lives were cut short without their consent. We hope always to dedicate ourselves to hope, fortitude. Love. Compassion. To devoted care of our fellow men and women.

Much was lost that Tuesday in September, 2001. But today I reaffirm my hope that our fundamental characters remain intact, and that we will continue to strive for a better, wide world every day, regardless of how narrow a viewpoint we sometimes allow ourselves to wallow within.

brooklyn bridge

manhattan skyline

brooklyn bridge

brooklyn bridge

empire state building

one world trade center

Our world — our huge, collective worldview — was forever altered on 9/11/01, but the world in and of itself was left standing. Let’s not let it down.


With all my love forever:

anya elise

Continue Reading