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Pileated Woodpeckers

Current scientific studies state that approximately 48% of existing global bird populations are declining. According to Audubon, more than half of the US bird population is shrinking due to habitat loss, climate change, predation by domestic cats, and invasive species. They also suggest that there have been 3 billion North American birds lost since 1970.

Yesterday, while snowshoeing, a friend remarked. “It’s so quiet. I guess the birds are all gone.”

It was quiet. More so than I remember. Granted, most birds fly south for the winter season. Yet, some birds stick around: crows, ravens, chickadees, and red-tailed hawks, to name a few. However, I haven’t seen as many birds this year, except for the pileated woodpeckers who visit the forests around my home.

They are noteworthy birds. About the size of a crow, mostly black with bold white stripes and a red crest. They favor mature forests chipping out big rectangular holes in the trees, searching for carpenter ants and beetle larvae. Pileated woodpecker pairs stay together all year round, are not migratory, and even prefer harsh winter conditions. They can also forage around human homes.

I know they do because we have a pair that patronize our home. It’s not uncommon for me to be typing away on my laptop, absorbed in my writing when I hear a sudden tap, tap, tap. Stop. Then the sound again. Tap, tap, tap. You think I would know by now that it’s the woodpecker but invariably I find myself muttering, “What’s that?”

I think they must hear me leave my desk because, by the time I’ve opened the front door, they have flown to a nearby tree making loud, high-pitched, clear piping calls reminding me of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons of my youth. I usually lift my arms and say, “Shoo,” because I don’t want them chiseling a hole in our wood siding.

A bit of research informs me that pileated woodpeckers are loud and proud, using their drumming to communicate a variety of messages: connect with their mate, define territory, preen, or even get excited about something, and have become more and more adaptable to our changing world.

I think I could learn a few things from this remarkable bird: be loud and proud when I need to be, stay connected with my mate, get excited about things, become more adaptable to a changing world, and smile when I next hear tap, tap, tap.

“Heh-Heh-Heh-HEHHH-heh. HA-HA-HA-HAAA-HA! Guess who?” Woody Woodpecker

How did you find solace this week?


© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

New Beginnings

Beginning. /be’ giniNG / the point at which something starts; the first part; inception; initiation; outset; arising; emergence.

A few weeks ago, I burnt five boxes of old, damaged books when we decided to light our yearly burn pile, the only paper stuff in an otherwise ten-foot-high mound of cedar and spruce boughs, branches, small trees, and logs. At the end of the day, there was nothing left except for a small knoll of gray ash. Then a storm rolled through dumping six inches of snow on the ground and covering everything in a pristine layer of white.

I’ve walked down the small hill near our home to the burn pile almost daily now to view how tidy everything looks, a sudden lightness filling my chest as I exhale deliberately and quietly. I’ve always appreciated new beginnings. A time to wash away the past and start over.

Today I read through my to-do lists from 2022, crossed out those things that no longer matter, posted the top things I hope to get done in 2023 on my whiteboard, and tore up a pile of accumulated paperwork that was stressing me out. Things like the short story I didn’t finish, the incomplete application for a book marketing conference, catalogs, and coupons for things I don’t need, newspaper articles, recipes for a few awesome-looking dishes I will probably never bake, and a whole slew of unnecessary single page inspirational thoughts.

The file folder on my desk is empty except for a few items I need this week. The cleared space next to my lamp is a welcome change. A steaming cup of lavender and chamomile tea sits on a coaster depicting a summer lake scene.  My whiteboard has only five items. Books are stored back on the shelves behind the printer and as I stand and look out my window, I find comfort in knowing that the best time for new beginnings is now.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

How did you find solace this week?


© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


According to Google, in 2021, there were 4 million books published worldwide. Just .0025% sold over 1,000 books (which is considered successful.) Last year, out of 38,000 American authors who wrote 2 books a year, only 300 of them made a living from their writings.

It is estimated there are over 1.2 billion freelance writers worldwide with about 50,000 full-time authors in the United States and 78,000 in the United Kingdom. The average royalty through a traditional publisher is about 10%. So, if an author sells 10,000 books for $10, she will make around $10 grand. How many authors sell 10,000 books? I don’t know, but my guess is not a lot. A Google search did reveal only 20 books (of any genre) sold over a million copies worldwide last year. Not great statistics. How does an author stand out from the crowd?

My book consultant tells me. “You have to be a whale in a pond.”

A whale in a what?

She continued. “Specialize. Fine-tune your craft. It’s all about branding.”

An image of a cowboy marking cattle with a red-hot branding iron floated through my head. I replied weakly, “I think I understand.”

Branding, the art of developing and implementing a distinctive set of features or a design for creation or merchandise, has been around for generations: Apple’s apple, Nike’s swoosh, McDonalds double arches, Shell’s shell, the arrow in FedEx, the two Ps in PayPal. But what does that have to do with writing?

“It tells your readers about who you are; your style and your genre. If you do it right, readers will recognize you the minute they see one of your books.” Never get a book consultant to talk about branding. They might never shut up. But the truth is, she’s right.

Little by little, I’m learning about author branding and why it is fast becoming one of the most important tools for finding success. It’s not an easy process learning how to represent who I am, what I aspire to deliver in my writings, how to connect with readers, or how to create the cornerstone of my writing platform. But then again, great things never come from staying in comfort zones.


How did you find solace this week?


© 2023. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved.

A New Year

One of the most popular ways of bringing in the New Year is with a big firework display. They occur all over the world as the clock strikes midnight, ending the last moment of the year and the first second of the new year. In New York City, a huge glowing ball is lowered down a flagpole to signal the new year. In Spain, people reach for grapes and eat one grape for every strike of the clock leading to midnight. The idea is that every grape you eat will ensure 12 good months in the new year. In Romania, people dress up as bears to chase away evil spirits. Japan and South Korea ring bells. In South Africa, people like to get rid of those things they no longer need, like throwing furniture out a window. In Brazil, there is a tradition to eat lentils as they represent money and good fortune. Italians have a custom of wearing red underwear. Greeks hang onions over their doors. In Denmark, they smash plates. In Ecuador, New Year’s Eve festivities are lit up with giant bonfires. Many countries also celebrate New Year’s Eve in the company of family and friends and share a special meal.

I have not particularly celebrated New Year’s Eve or rung in the new year with much fanfare in the past. Every year, I say, “This year I’m staying awake until midnight.” But inevitably I don’t. Often, it’s so cold outside that the lure of my flannel sheets far outweighs trying to keep my eyelids open. I know this worldwide celebratory event is the promise of a new year, a new beginning, a time to let go of any failures or disappointments of the past year and bring in the new year with no blunders or regrets in it yet. Have fun. Rejoice in the immense opportunity that might be in front of us. Sing and be merry.

But isn’t every day a new beginning?

Or maybe that’s just my excuse when I decide to crawl under my down comforter before the clock strikes midnight again this year.

Happy New Year! Wishing you a healthy and abundant 2023!

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

Winter Solstice

Indigenous cultures from around the globe have observed the winter solstice for thousands of years, marking the interconnectedness between the natural world and the people. There is even evidence of humans observing the winter solstice from as early as 10,200 B.C. In Ancient Rome, the winter solstice, or Saturnalia, began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. The festival honored Saturnus, the god of agriculture and harvests. In addition, the upper class celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the ancient Roman god of light during this time as well. For some Romans, this was their most sacred day. From what I read, it was quite a festival, when ordinary rules were turned upside down, and all sorts of partying and mischief prevailed.  

The earliest Norseman celebrated Yule, an observance from winter solstice until mid-January, in recognition of the return of the sun. Large logs, called yules, were set on fire and people would tell stories, and feast until the logs were burned out, believing this would assure a healthy harvest in the year to come.

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year –December for the northern hemisphere and June for the southern hemisphere.

One summer, when I was traveling in Alaska, I met a bus driver who told me that his absolute favorite day of the year was winter solstice because “it marks the return of the sun.” In winter the sun rises in Fairbanks around 11:00 am and sets at around 2:45 pm. giving residents there about 3 ½ – 4 hours of sunlight. There are 67 days of no sun in Barrow, the northernmost town in Alaska. I suppose if you live in northern Alaska, the return of the sun is a big deal.

So, I guess I shouldn’t complain about the sun setting behind the hills near my home before 3:00 in the afternoon this winter solstice and instead celebrate. Get a big bonfire burning in the new firepit my husband built in a remote corner of our land, tell a story or two, maybe even make smores, and rejoice that the shortest day and longest night of the year mean that the earth’s pole has reached its maximum tilt away from the sun and astronomically marks the beginning of lengthening days and shortening nights.

Happy Winter Solstice! Happy Holidays! Merry Everything!

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


Spring brings a chorus of migrating birds, loggers cutting down trees with their chainsaws in the nearby valleys, or thunder and lightning storms. Summer is full of laughter, and dirt bikes on the forest service roads. My neighbor opens her doors and windows when she plays the piano. There’s rarely a quiet time in the fall when everyone works day and night to get ready for the long winter ahead: tires to be rotated on the truck, harvesting of apples and berries, stacking wood for the woodstove, pruning of bushes and grasses, or a final wash of the windows that won’t get done again until spring.

The first big snowfall of the season can be a special time. If the temperatures are particularly cold, like they are today, the snowshoe hares, the chipmunks and squirrels, the pileated woodpeckers, our visiting deer, and wild turkey, along with the other birds that stick around for the winter, are sheltered in a nook of a tree, under a canopy of spruce boughs, or burrowed in the warmer earth under the snow. Humans stay inside heated homes.

The absence of bird songs, squirrel chirrups, human chatter, and other activity is silence. Different from the rest of the year.

For most of my life, the transition from late fall to winter has almost always been when the big snowfall arrives. But it may be more about the silence. The definition of snow is atmospheric water vapor frozen into ice crystals and falling in light, white flakes, or laying on the ground in a layer of white. But I think for me the definition of snow is the absence of sound. Stillness. A time in which I reflect and find comfort in a more solitary time of writing quietly for hours and hours while the snow falls outside. Everything quiet. At rest. Calm. Silent.


It’s white and swift and falls in sheets

covering the earth, obliterating

the tractor scars and the memory

of us laughing on the back deck

overjoyed to see you

after years away. We sat drinking

lemonade bathed in the light

of the late afternoon sun

a beautiful green sea of wild grasses

swaying in the wind

like a million dancing ballerinas.

Now I am alone

looking out the window at the distant hills

blanketed by layers of snow

white icing on a cake

cold as an Artic winter

remembering your smile that somehow

makes people want to dance

and comforts me

until spring

when I see you again.

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


“Winters are not like they used to be,” was a comment I often heard from my grandparents, great-uncles, and aunts. “One time it got so cold the pipes froze under and inside the house.”

So, it catches me by surprise when I find myself saying almost those exact words. “I remember the first winter I lived here, my husband had to thaw out a water pipe with a hair dryer. The temperature dipped to minus thirty-five and stayed that way for over a week.” Or, one I kind of embellish every time I re-tell it, “Where I grew up, some winters got to negative fifty.” My childhood winters were indeed incredibly cold. When I left my Canadian hometown for good, I wrote down when the ice on the lake melted: June 1st.

No doubt the world has become warmer. Today, the ice on the lake near my childhood home melts in March or April. We don’t see negative thirty-five temperatures where I live now. But it does get colder than many places in the United States, and when the cold does settle into the mountain valleys for months at a time, it seeps into my bones and stays for a while.

This week, when the temperatures dropped suddenly and without warning, I was taken aback. I had to wear warmer clothing, bundle up when I went outside, and cover my face when the icy snow pellets hit my face like tiny bits of glass. It felt cold. Really cold. Instantly bringing me back to the land of my youth, where winter storms left everything in a thick blanket of snow; clean, glistening, and white, a breathtaking beauty that filled my heart with possibilities.

As of late, some of my friends have chosen to winter in warmer climates: Arizona, Mexico, or Thailand. But I’ve chosen to stay and let the cold settle in, enjoy the long nights, play in the snow, watch winter storms cover everything in a magical layer of pristine white, and dream about my next book.

“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.” T. Allen

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


When I was a teenager, one of the things I worked tirelessly at was how to do a handstand correctly, without falling backward or worse hurting myself. For a few minutes every day, I placed my hands near an unobstructed wall, tightened my core area, and swung my legs up. My parents groaned when I hit the wall with a big bang.

“Sharon, stop it! You’re going to break the picture glass in the living room,” my mother would exclaim.

It took a long time before I was able to balance away from the support of the wall and even then, I could only hold the pose for a few seconds. I kept trying. Up and down. Up and down. When I finally did a free-standing handstand, in just about perfect form, it left me feeling euphoric. The joy of evenly distributing my weight enabled me to be calm and unwavering.

As I’ve written in earlier blog posts, yoga is part of my daily routine, and for the past several decades I continued to practice the handstand, the elbow balance, and the king of all poses –the headstand, not only for my health but for the discipline of how to balance; how to live with equilibrium, poise, stability, and a sense of steadiness with myself and the world around me.

I don’t have answers to the most troubling issues of the world and even my day-to-day life often has glitches: learning a new software program, navigating the latest rules of book marketing, and keeping up to date with social media and innovative technologies. How do I do that? What does that mean?

This art of balancing my body upside down every day, this habit of calm behavior, has taught me how to maintain a certain sense of mental and emotional stability, and how to focus my attention on one thing at a time. Because if I don’t, I usually fall.

“I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.” Oprah Winfrey

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


Usually, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. Although, for some, it starts earlier than that. Many celebrate the day with a big meal with family and friends. The table is filled with traditional foods: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, seasonal vegetables, cornbread, and pie. Families gather around the table and share what they are thankful for. In the morning they may watch the Macy parade or run in a local Turkey Trot or in the afternoon, play or watch a football game.

Although on different days and with different customs, Thanksgiving is also shared in other countries: Germany celebrates Erntedankfest (harvest thanks festival) on the first Sunday of October; on the second Monday of October in Canada; Australia on the last Wednesday of November; Brazil the last Thursday in November; Grenada October 25th; Liberia, the first Thursday of November; the Netherlands on the first Wednesday in November; Rwanda the first Friday of August; Saint Lucia the first Monday in October; Japan November 23rd; and the United Kingdom on the first Sunday of the harvest moon.

Prayers of thanks and harvest ceremonies have been around mankind for centuries. Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the autumn harvest. Ancient Hebrews and Chinese held harvest and thanksgiving celebrations.

Thanksgiving was and is about abundance and being grateful for that bounty, for, without it, there is suffering.

Google estimates there are approximately 828 million people worldwide that go to bed hungry every night. 193 million people in 53 countries face acute food insecurity; meaning they are unable to adequately feed themselves and are at risk of starvation. 26 million children under the age of 5 are wasting, leading to a low weight and height ratio, and associated illnesses.

My mother experienced acute hunger during the Depression era. Her tendency to hoard food was with her until the day she died, which is probably why she became a chef and showered her loved ones with great Thanksgiving meals.

I’ve experienced hunger, although not to the extent of starving. If I chose to go on a fast, I always knew I could break it anytime, and for the rare times I went without food for a few days because I stayed out in the wilderness too long or forgot to pack enough provisions, I had a few extra pounds of body fat to tie me over until I could eat again.

As Thanksgiving approaches, and I once again enjoy the gifts that are my family and friends, and the fact that I will not go to bed hungry, I will take a moment, and vow once again to not take the richness that is my life for granted.

“May the sun bring you new energy by day.

May the moon softly restore you by night.

May the rain wash away your worries.

May the breeze blow new strength into your being.

May you walk gently through this world and

Know its beauty all the days of your life.”

                                                                           Apache Blessing

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


Growing up, Sundays were a day of rest. Later, when I had my own family, Sundays continued to be a quiet day: no hurry to get out of bed, everyone pitching in to make a delicious brunch –waffles were our favorite, sometimes baking a special dessert for dinner, leisurely walks in a nearby park, a drive up into the mountains. A time for reflection. Often, I wrote in my journal or thought about my dreams for myself and my family.

When my children left home, my husband and I continued to follow our peaceful Sunday ritual, albeit not always making brunch or dessert but trying to make it a day to appreciate what we have.

This Sunday, we slept in, made a simple breakfast, and drove north for about an hour, admiring the spectacular views, until we came to the turn-off onto a forest service road to begin a fifteen-mile bumpy ride. We passed a few hunters as we snaked up the mountainside. The speedometer read seventeen miles per hour. It hadn’t rained for a long time, so the truck was covered with finely powdered dirt when we stopped at the trailhead about fifty minutes later.

I put on my windbreaker, and we headed up the trail. I expected to see a few other hikers but this Sunday we didn’t see a soul as we ambled our way up the slope, stopping now and then to catch our breath or sip some water. Once on top, we found a rock outcropping and scanned the horizon, mountain range after mountain range in perfect view. The silence was remarkable.

We stayed long enough to munch on a sandwich before we quietly hiked back down. I mouthed a silent thank you, grateful that in the many years since I first came to this place, it has remained relatively unchanged; something I don’t see that much anymore.

Driving home I listened to the music my husband selected on the radio and watched the day drift toward evening, without thinking about all the things I needed to get done on Monday, thankful for the day to refuel. There are so many reasons to be happy.

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of happiness and content.” Anonymous

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

New Laptop

The screen went black and then the infinite spinning circle went round and round for about an hour before my laptop simply shut down. I waited a bit before powering it back up. Next, my homepage screen image came on, and I thought all was well before the screen went brown to black, and then nothing. Dead. Sigh…

I’ve worked on my laptop continuously since I got it in 2017 and although I knew most laptops don’t last more than a few years, I secretly hoped mine would last forever. I had saved most of my important files on an external hard drive and One Drive but recently downloaded a series of photos, articles, and a few other miscellaneous items onto the computer, thinking I should move them into a more secure location. Too late. Some of my blog photos and a novella piece I’d written were gone too. Lesson learned.

After some research, I ended up buying a laptop like the one I had, just updated, sleeker, with Windows 11 and a few fancy tools. Immediately I noticed a difference when I turned it on. The whirring noises I had become accustomed to were no longer there. Navigating the web took less time. Command buttons worked right away. I think my eyes got a little brighter too.

For the past few days, I’ve been getting used to my new toy. Learning Windows 11. Downloading, moving, and cleaning up files. Selecting new background and screen images. Creating shortcuts. Watching videos with ease. Linking and unlinking websites. It’s amazing what an upgrade in technology can do!

My kids tell me I am a tech immigrant, meaning I did not grow up with technology, it isn’t my first language, and therefore, tech issues, solutions, and resolutions do not come easily. I must work at it. All the time. And although I have become somewhat more competent in the art of tech, I admit I’ve already been stumped a few times with the new look of Windows 11, eliminating files I do not need, and getting rid of annoying trails. Hopefully, this computer will last as long as my last one did, and with any luck, I’ll know when to get a new one before this one dies.

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

Arrival Fallacy

The daily process of working toward a desired goal can trigger reward centers in the brain whenever one gets closer to achieving that objective, let alone finally reaching the finish line. However, dedication to a long-awaited purpose or goal can be slippery. The continuous work to improve can bring an unattainable illusion of perfection or a cycle of always having new goals to take the place of those already fulfilled. Additionally, reaching the finish line may bring new challenges and responsibilities.

It can be easy to become steadfastly transfixed on achieving that goal and get mired in busy work, feeling happy when certain tasks are completed, unhappy when things don’t go as planned. Although admirable in some ways, society does reward professional and personal progress, yet working tirelessly toward an important goal can affect mood, connections, purpose, and even self-worth. And when that personal dream comes true, one can feel haunted by anxiety and a sneaky sense of disappointment. In psychology, this disconcerting letdown is called the arrival fallacy.

The neuroscience behind the arrival fallacy states that the brain releases dopamine, the hormone associated with happiness when we are working on something. Each milestone gives us another dopamine hit, making us want to work harder. But… when we reach the goal, that release of dopamine drops and we can feel a bit down or worse.

I’ve worked for over a decade to bring my recently published book, Wandering …a long way past the past, to the world. I dedicated hours to writing, editing, seeking consultation, attending workshops and classes, and learning about the publishing world, book marketing, and social media. Although I still have more to learn and do, the book is published. The limited hardcover edition is out and people are reading my story.

For the past several days, I’ve felt unmotivated, avoiding social situations, with an aversion to loud noises or crowds. My chest feels hollow. Shouldn’t I be jumping up and down? Shouldn’t I be holding out my arms wide as if to hug the world? Shouldn’t the words woohoo, I did it! be pouring out of my mouth?

I read an article stating that when we finish something big, that goal may have likely been so intertwined with our lives that we forgot about the other parts of our identity; the principles we believe in. The article also mentioned, “take some time to pause, reflect, find you.” That is what I did all week: listening to quiet music, meditating, long hours of doing nothing, staring at the big open sky wondering if the cliché “it’s the journey that matters, not the destination” is true. Value the process over the result.

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

The Birth of Wandering

The first signing event for the hardcover limited edition of my second book, Wandering …a long way past the past, has come and gone. It was a beautiful autumn day, with clear blue skies, and warm enough to open the large door at the yoga studio where I teach. After cracking open the cases, the owner of the studio and I marveled at the striking book cover and placed them up on a linen-covered folding table with flowers and pens. We put out an assortment of cookies and lemonade on a smaller table.

As we were setting up, a woman stopped by. “I know I’m early, but I’m headed out of town and want a copy.”

I dropped everything I was doing and gladly signed her copy, engaging in a brief conversation.

She said, “I loved your first book, Sylvie, and couldn’t wait for this one.” She held up her book. “Great cover by the way.”

For the next few hours, friends, some of my yoga students, acquaintances, and kind strangers stopped by to pick up their copies. It wasn’t a rushed event with long lines. People simply came and went with enough time between visitors to chat for a few minutes. I got to spend time with lots of different people and appreciated their comments.

I did not sell as many books as I had hoped, but the books I did sell went to people who follow me, who appreciate my writing, who wanted to chat and stay a while, and most importantly, who truly wanted to read my book.

A few months ago, I tweeted, “What would you prefer: 1,000 followers who care about you and your writing or 10,000 followers who don’t particularly care about you or your writing?” Almost everyone responded with, “1,000 followers for sure!” Some replied with longer responses stating how important a few meaningful followers meant to them over an expanded following.

I tend to agree. There’s something about quality over quantity that appeals to me. And although book marketing experts might disagree, there’s a gladness in my heart as I bring this deeply personal story to the world.

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy dates back as far as 3000 BCE in India. Used by Hindus in their life health medicine called Ayurveda, the practice of massage was passed down through the generations to heal injuries, alleviate pain, prevent disease, and even cure certain ailments.

Early written records of massage therapy have also been found in Egyptian tombs; images illustrating people being massaged or rubbed by others. In China, there are texts as early as 2700 BCE documenting the homoeopathic benefits of massage therapy; combined methods from Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophers who believed the power of touch essential to spiritual training.

Somewhere around 1000 BCE, Japanese monks who studied Buddhism in China brought back the healing methods of Chinese medicine, including massage therapy which gave rise to the traditional Japanese massage method now called Shiatsu.

A google search indicated that there are now about 80 different types of massage used today such as Swedish massage, Thai massage, Deep Tissue massage, Aromatherapy massage, or Sports massage.

I have not had a massage in a really long time, partially because of the Pandemic, also due to finances, and I didn’t make it a priority. So, for my birthday this year I asked for a massage at a nice spa in town: spacious massage rooms with hi-tech music systems, nice smelling candles, a steam room, guest robes and slippers. When I filled out the necessary paperwork before my massage, there was a long list of types of massages I might want: Shiatsu, Percussion, Hot Stone, Trigger Point, and so on. At the bottom there was a box with the words “Life Massage; tell your masseuse what it is you need.” Yep, that’s the one for me. Check.

My masseuse, in her nicely pressed black uniform, asked. “Are there any areas of your body you’d like me to focus on today?”

There were so many places that craved kneading I didn’t know where to start but picked my sore neck and shoulders. I lay down on the heated massage table and allowed myself to be massaged, pressed, rubbed, squeezed, molded, and manipulated for what I thought could surely only be about 20 minutes but was actually 90 minutes; my thoughts slowing down to a snail’s pace, often close to dreaming. It was lovely.

I ended my massage with a 10-minute super-hot steam followed by a laidback time in which to dress, drink a glass of cold water, and reflect on how peaceful I felt, evident by the soft glow of my face gazing back at me when I looked in the mirror.

I’ve had lots of wonderful gifts over the years, many of which I’ve forgotten about, but the gift of touch is one that will stay with me for a while.

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved


Meteorologists predicted a series of thunderstorms starting around midnight, but the storms did not roll in until just after sunrise with a series of intense booms and dazzling lightning strikes; followed by deep thunderclaps. Then, the rain fell in a steady pour, soaking everything. Little rivulets formed over dry earth patches. The moss, sopping up the moisture like a sponge, changed from its’ dry brown tinge to green in a matter of minutes. The skies became dark before another resonating thunderbolt and three or four flashes: the lightning alternating between a glowing blue-white and a lilac color.

After the storm passed, I went into town to do some errands. As I drove, a light mist covered the windshield with just enough moisture to warrant windshield wipers, and when I came to the intersection of where my country road meets the main thoroughfare, a rainbow appeared. The distinct rosy red intermingled with the orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

I’d read that rainbows have been symbols of optimism to cultures across the globe since the beginning of human history, connecting people as a sign of new beginnings or promise. In many cultures, it is seen as a representation of good luck, or that good news is on the way. Folklore suggests that seeing a rainbow is an affirmation of equality and peace. Irish legend states there are pots of gold to be found at the end of rainbows. Rainbows don’t last long, dispersing quickly. Therefore, for some, it reminds them of impermanence, that all things arise and pass away, and that our world is in a constant state of change.

I like them all but the one that sticks for me today is that after the chaos of a storm there is always light, there is always hope.

“There is peace even in the storm.” Vincent Van Gogh

How did you find solace this week?


© 2022. Sharon Kreider. All Rights Reserved