Poetry calls us to pause. There is so much we overlook, while the abundance around us continues to shimmer, on its own. [Naomi Shihab Nye]

There is so much around us. I’ve been contemplating these words as I drive across the beautiful midwest on trips between Chicago and Minneapolis, Minneapolis and Rochester. Growing up in southern Minnesota I was surrounded by this landscape yet never fully absorbed its stark beauty. There’s something about the flatness, the way the sky goes on for miles and miles, the neat and orderly rows of corn and soybeans, and the tops of old white silos on the horizon that instills a sense of simple familiarity.

And, thanks to my watercolor painting class at @milan_village_arts_school, I’m consumed with wanting to paint all the hay bales as they pass by my window. Jill Blom, our instructor who is well known for her landscapes, showed us an example of painting this scene – hay bales on the horizon. Each time I see them I want to stop everything and pull out my paintbrush.

My name is Elisabeth Fondell. I quit my corporate retail job in May of 2016 and have been on a self-appointed sabbatical ever since. In the pursuit of reclaiming my life, I’ve spent this sabbatical filling my days with travel to illuminating places, thought provoking words, poems, pottery, and the pursuit of wholeness.
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