Skip to content

the willingness to be awed

2014 June 11
by Rachel Turiel


How I know I’ve been in a really good mood lately:

Instead of my usual Disney-cynicism, I’ve been fully participating with Col and Rose in the ranking of songs off the Frozen soundtrack, feeling, er, quite passionate about my own favorites. I cruise through Facebook, clicking “like” on everything, because, wow, look how much people adore their dogs, kids, food, and inspirational quotes! Daily, there are tiny celebrations to be had: a field of wild iris; the voluptuous curves of a garden radish; waking to birdsong; the public library, where you can borrow books for free. (Loved this and this; and this freaking literary masterpiece, with which I’m currently enraptured – though at 771 pages, it’s going to kill me with library fines).


The days are warm, the nights are cool. There are less places we have to be at a certain time. On weekends, I let the work week unravel so completely that on Monday morning it takes me a minute to remember who the hell I am and what I’m doing. At dinner time, the sky is an encore of its own daylight, and the very fact of the four of us gathered together for another meal feels like a luckiness I can hardly fathom.


Col, encouraging our chicken to rest after she cut her leg on some roofing.

I do most of my work via laptop at the library sitting near the new coffee cart (convenient, right?), which is staffed by teenagers with special needs. Their supervisor is so kind and encouraging, and the whole operation so triumphant and inspirational, I siphon off their feel-good success the entire time.

Last week, after playing at the river with my friend Melanie and our posse of kids, we spontaneously embraced in a moment of Can you believe we have another Colorado summer ahead of us, together? 


The overly-analytical part of me searches for an explanation of this unbidden happiness. Is it that I’m meditating regularly (during which Rose bullhorns from outside my door, “Mama, when you’re done meditating can I have a snack, a movie, or a tickle session…Mom? CAN I?) Or is it that I feel like the Jews, who once declared, A Great Miracle Happened Here (with that whole oil lasting 8 nights thing), because I seem to have tamed my auto immune disorder with diet? (Seriously. I’m feeling so solid. I had a beer recently, which took me 2 hours to drink, one sip for every day I had abstained. Lets send a prayer that the doctors realize food is the medicine). Maybe it’s that actual sustenance is springing forth from the garden. Or, just summer itself, which is a trick-wrapped gift: you can never fully unwrap it. I don’t know. Likely, it’s that old physics equation that goes like this: want what you have.


“Bounce us off, Daddy!”

What I do notice is that this happiness feels rooted in something deep, accessible, and ordinary. Like, my ability to do work I love feels more important than constantly evaluating how I measure up in the world. The here-ness of the children—their summer-warm hair, muddy limbs—trumps any imagined future worries. The ash tree sprouting greenness outside my bedroom window is a revelation requiring nothing other than my own willingness to be awed.


Driving home from the mountains last Sunday, all four of us singing along with Billy Joel’s Piano Man, loudly and tunelessly (Rose asking: Is he a grandpa? What does it mean, making love to his tonic and gin? Because it wouldn’t be our life if Rose wasn’t asking some question), I felt so overcome with unexpected joy and gratitude for the weird lot of us. How we spent the past hour huddled around a fire grilling deer, and then devouring it with fingers (remembered homemade marshmallows, forgot plates and forks). How Rose pulled out impractical, purple “camp shoes,” one size too big, to kick back in around the fire after our hike. Me with the smallest headache from Rose accidentally slamming my nose with her forehead. The lupine singing a song called purple. And the clouds issuing enough of a snow squall to remind us who’s boss.

The message I’ve been getting is, Love This World, in all its imperfect and generous beauty.



p.s. I have a guest post up at Simple Homeschool about what I would have told myself—just starting out—about homeschooling, knowing what I know now. Hint: there will be doubts. Also, tremendous “yes’s” sung in your heart.

17 Responses leave one →
  1. mollie permalink
    June 11, 2014

    My God, this made me tear up: The ash tree sprouting greenness outside my bedroom window is a revelation requiring nothing other than my own willingness to be awed.

  2. shadymama permalink
    June 11, 2014

    YES for simple awe, triumphant joy, self-healing, the here-ness of now and alla the lush lush beauty!!! such love and light you are, friend! how lucky we are to know you!

  3. Natalie permalink
    June 11, 2014

    Fuck yeah.

  4. Jo Hadley permalink
    June 11, 2014

    Ride it Rachel. You have hit upon the source of light and joy. What a poet you are. Lots of happy received and sending back your way. So glad you’ve got your health back on track too. Whoo-hoo!

  5. Carly permalink
    June 11, 2014

    amen, momma!

  6. Andrea permalink
    June 11, 2014

    i don’t even know what to say.
    every.single.morsel. of this is pure joy.
    contagious. thank you. no really, thank you.

    also, need that marshmallow recipe before friday.
    pretty please.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      June 11, 2014

      Try this:
      It’s not my exact recipe, but can’t find mine on the internet. This is very close, and actually simpler. You’re going to rock it. If you want to be extra fancy, you can roll marshmallows (while still warm and wet) in coconut sugar/shredded coconut

      • Andrea permalink
        June 11, 2014

        oh thank you! will get to it bright and early!
        the river awaits us :)

        • Andrea permalink
          June 11, 2014

          holy shit! are mine gonna look as real as the picture! lol.
          also, i am not fancy enough to have a candy therm.
          can i use a meat one? or just eyeball that?

          or maybe i will just splurge and buy a candy therm since i will be making these all the time now.

          • Rachel Turiel permalink
            June 12, 2014

            I used a meat thermometer *and* could not get the mix hot enough, so called it good after ten minutes of boiling and stirring and wringing my hands. And they were perfectly fine. Note: make a LARGE batch, because the whole thing is a pain to clean up after – and you can freeze them (after you cut into cute lttle marshmallow-like squares).
            Send me a picture when you’re done!
            Wyatt is going to cry with fluffy sugared happiness!

  7. Denise permalink
    June 12, 2014

    It’s so nice to read your posts first thing in the morning; I always look forward to them. It makes me happy to see people enjoying their children like you do. I am 45 years old, and I am so grateful that my parents took us camping when we were young and encouraged us to enjoy the great outdoors. These simple family excursions are among my favorite memories of childhood.

  8. Bree permalink
    June 12, 2014

    This post was beautiful and memorable and just where I’m at this season too. So in awe, so grateful.

    I’m so thrilled that you are healed — you did it!! Do you think you might ever do a post on your self-healing journey? I know you touched on bits here and there over the months and also that it was very personal, but I know a compilation post of some kind could be encouraging and helpful to so many. Either way, bravo, for doing the work and reaping the rewards.

  9. Amber Lena permalink
    June 12, 2014

    I have similar thoughts everyday. I’m so happy to be living in this place, at this moment, with these children and husband. I have to toss aside all the yuckiness outside my little bubble, and try not to get anxious about the “why” of having such luck.

  10. Drew Thayer permalink
    June 12, 2014

    “The lupine singing a song called purple. And the clouds issuing enough of a snow squall to remind us who’s boss.”

    Thanks so much for your beautiful writing. So true, all we have to do is look at the beautiful living things around us. And the weather is always not far away to keep us humble. Inspiring.

  11. June 13, 2014

    Aaaah. Such truth and beauty in your words, life. Just returned from a weekend of camping ourselves. (We sold the trailer, returning to our tented roots.) This post is my meditation tonight.

  12. Rachel Turiel permalink
    June 13, 2014

    Everyone –
    Enjoying your comments so much. Thank you for feeling the joy and gratitude with me.

  13. RadiantGlo permalink
    March 5, 2016

    I can hardly begin to tell you how much joy and gratitude I felt in your words. Your own recognition of your joy and thankfulness is absolutely delightful and beautifully expressed. I would LOVE to read an entire book with all of the joy and happiness radiating out from it!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: