Thankful Thursday

I’m live.

Well, I mean my essay just posted in the New York Times Magazine Lives column. It’s on a black bear encounter during a run last summer, and I’m so, so pleased with how Lives editor John Glassie edited it down to near perfection. Check it out here.

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This is the trial leading to the trail where the bear charge took place. Ironically, it’s named Black Bear Trail (duh!).

When Glassie emailed me a few weeks ago requesting a column with an Alaskan flavor, I almost deleted the message without reading it. I was visiting my sister in Philly and about to head out for a run, and maybe I was feeling thorny that day but when I read the subject line: New York Times Lives column, I thought, “Oh, great, another writer who wants to rub his success in my face.”

I assumed that John Glassie was a distant social media “friend” who had published a Lives column and sent out a gloating email to everyone in his network. His name sounded familiar (it should have, since I had written for him years before), but I couldn’t quite place who he was.

Thank god I didn’t delete the email since John Glassie obviously wasn’t a writer gloating success in my face but an editor requesting work from me. (To which I replied a hearty yes, yes, and yes.)

I think the lesson here is to not assume or randomly delete, and to, you know, be a little more gracious of other people’s success because being happy for someone else is an act of grace. I need to remember that.

But it’s Thanksgiving and even to those who don’t celebrate the whole turkey and pilgrims and Mayflower story (because, face it, the pilgrims barged in and took land that never belonged to them in the first place), it’s still nice to offer thanks for all of our blessings.

Here are a few of mine:

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Seriously, the dog we co-parent.
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Moose calves (that love to tear the hell out of our apple tree).
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My son and my mum.
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The beach, Alaska-style.
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My sister (and the glacier in the background).
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My partner.
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The desert, which I visit each winter.
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Anchorage, where I live.
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Sled dogs!
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Favorite running trails.
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And trails that take me to beautiful places like this.

 

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13 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday

  1. What a great piece of news for Thanksgiving, Cinthia! I just read the piece, and it’s positively hair-raising (and having encountered a mountain lion on a trail once, I know the feelings you describe!) So nice that the story will be in the print mag too!

    Hope you and yours are having a great day … (I wish there were an emoji for Tofurky.)

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    1. Thanks, Kevin. Whenever I run in the Tucson Mountains I imagine that a mountain bear is prowling from above, ready to pounce down on me at any moment. I’d love to see one, though. I’m glad that your encounter went well. And OMG, yes, there totally needs to be an emoji for Tofurky (have you ever tasted the stuff? It’s not the best, lol. I prefer plain old tofu myself).

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    1. Oh, I wish I were as brave in my “real” life as I am when I’m running on the trails. Then I’m fearless. The rest of the time, well, I worry and obsess and put up vast obstacles in front of myself, lol. Cheers and hope you’re doing well.

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  2. I read your essay and was SO excited! I grabbed my husband and said, “I know her! She’s one of my friends!” Then I read your essay and loved it … of course 😉 I love the backstory too, about how you almost deleted the email … yikes. And, by the way, I’d rather cross paths with an alligator than a black bear any day, as long as it is on land.
    And I love these photos. What kind of camera do you use? My husband is bugging me to start using our Canon T3i (?). We bought it a few years ago for me, but I didn’t have the patience to learn how to use it, so he started using it. Eventually he bought a better camera (he does astro-photography and time-lapse stuff) so the T3i is being neglected. When we go out together (like to a nature preserve), I always want to take good pictures. The iPhone is okay but … it could be so much better …

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    1. Thanks, Marie. The bear piece was fun to write. About half of the photos were taken with my old reporter camera, a Canon DS126071. The others were taken with my cheapo $50 clearance-from-Target digital camera that I bought simply because it was small and slim and could easily fit inside my hydration vest during runs. I don’t consider myself much of a photographer. I simply point, shoot and pray. For years I had to take my own photos for the paper so probably I picked up more skills than I realize. I recently bought a Smartphone (my first one!) but don’t really like taking photos from it. I like looking through a camera lens, like centering shots through my eyes, with the camera close to my face. It feels more personal and I truly believe that such intimacy adds something to the shots. Cheers and have a great week. (Pet an alligator for me, okay, lol.)

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      1. Good points about photography. My iPhone is okay and I was able to film the scenes at the refuge while enjoying the scenery itself. I have a small cheap camera that I haven’t used in awhile. Maybe I should start there 😉 And please don’t mind I choose to just virtually pet a gator 😉

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