About Lisa Lillibridge/Dakota 1966

I’m a writer/photographer/artist raised in South Dakota and living in Burlington, Vermont. I understand now as I age that “making" in any form has always been a form of meditation to me. My creative energy is now directed to storytelling with writing and images, mostly about understanding my prairie roots and how they've impacted my choices. Please e-mail (lllillibridge@gmail.com) if you're interested in discussing your interior geography or process. I'm always interested in hearing stories of what gives folks their spark.

life is not so black & white..

it’s mostly shades of complex grey and every once in a while when we use our vision, there are brilliant pops of color that truly delight and help us see other perspectives.

once a scavenger…

I’ve been a scavenger since I was very young.

SCAVENGE: search for & collect (anything usable) from discarded waste

For a few summers, I’ve walked Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Massachusetts at sunrise and picked up trash. I’ve collected so many items with no idea how I would ever use them. So, I categorized and stored them…seeing their potential.

Late last summer I surveyed my scavenged goods and an idea was sparked.

I went to work, the hours flew by…

CREATE: to produce something new by using your talents and imagination

Thank you Russell for trying out my sea chair after rambling upon us on a chilly Town Neck Beach morning.

Source: Merriam Webster

in total AWE…

I’ve only been on two flights since the start of the pandemic. What a gift it was to see the world from the perspective of an airplane again.

LANDING IN MINNEAPOLIS

“The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for.”
—Ernest Hemingway

we the apples…

We’ve had a bumper crop of apples this year. I’ve picked, gleaned, and shared them. Somehow they’ve seemed uniquely personified to me.

Forgive me for getting a little woo woo about my backyard bounty and all caught up in meaning & metaphor.

I couldn’t resist.

crop: the product or yield of something formed together

democracy: an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights

selfish: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

authoritarian: of, relating to, or favoring a concentration of power in a leader or an elite not constitutionally responsible to the people

When our individuality is overvalued, we can become selfish and lose something so magnificent about being human, connected, and sharing this planet together.

rot: 1. to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi; morally corrupt

experience: the process of doing and seeing things; having things happen to you

empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another

If our democracy is going to survive, we must develop the capacity to see everyone as unique, belonging, AND equal in every single way.

We the People Apples of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Constitution of the United States of America (1787)

dumbstruck & gobsmacked…

Yesterday was my 55th birthday, it was an extraordinary day in so many ways. Thank you universe, you really stepped up this year. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and not just because I was born in October.

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve thought about this quote and others of this ilk a lot lately—we are the company we keep and what we focus on grows, what you become, you think…the list goes on & on.

Reading news, focusing on lack or placing blame for for how I FEEL creates chaos in my mind and wastes my energy. I’ve deliberately surrounded myself with beauty in the last week. This is pretty elemental I suppose. However, my mind’s inclination can shift on a dime if I’m not paying attention. This week my screen time is down dramatically and my mood is elevated…seems deliberateness needs to be practiced.

Do I want to be fueled by confusion, fear, and outrage or dumbstruck & gobsmacked by the absolute beauty of the universe?

I’m pretty sure I’ve answered my own question.

prowl, prey & nourish…

It doesn’t matter where I find myself in the world, my natural waking state is roughly an hour before sunrise. I instinctively am a predawn prowler. The nourishing solitude of watching night turn to day stirs something in me that’s deeply primal and ancient.

All summer I roam Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Massachusetts following coyote tracks and scavenging the beach. Back home in Vermont now, my predawn habits shift. However, my prowling and the way I feel doesn’t change one bit.

dawn: to begin to grow light as the sun rises

prowl: to move about or wander stealthily in or as if in search of prey

wander: to move about without a fixed course, aim, or goal

prey: an animal (idea, objects?) taken by a predator (scavenger?) as food (nourishment)

scavenge: to salvage from discarded or refuse material

nourish: to promote the growth of

What else, other than nourishment, are the coyotes prowling for in their predawn wanderings?

What I’m searching for when prowling, other than solitude, shifts dramatically like the tides of the North Atlantic.

Sunshine of Your Love…

It’s getting near dawn
When lights close their tired eyes
I’ll soon be with you my love
Give you my dawn surprise
I’ll be with you darling soon
I’ll be with you when the stars start falling

—Cream

install now OR remind me later?

Recently I read; Is Self-Awareness a Mirage? by David Brooks in the New York Times. It got me thinking…are there better questions to be asking myself at nearly fifty-five?

“Maybe we can’t know ourselves through the process we call introspection. But we can gain pretty good self-awareness by extrospection, by closely observing behavior. (Nicholas) Epley stressed that we can attain true wisdom and pretty good self-awareness by looking at behavior and reality in the face to create more accurate narratives.”

Is Self Awareness a Mirage? By David Brooks, New York Times

Here’s my go to story (personal myth) about myself: I was a very independent young person and this affects almost all of my behaviors. I didn’t even want my mom to walk me to kindergarten, I was only four.

Do decades old explanations about the WHYs of my behavior matter as much as current observations of WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, and HOW I behave?

Hummmmmmmmmmm…

My independence was a strategy I adopted based on my nature and circumstances. The story of it has served me well and is a character trait I’m often proud of often.

However, like most concepts of self, there’s a shadow side too.

Perhaps it’s time to update my operating system and not overly rely on old myths about my younger self.

My independent nature is no excuse for outsized and often confusing responses to basic questions from my family.

When will you be home? What’s for dinner? Who are you texting? Are you busy now?

Good grief, these questions are not immediate threats to my sense of youthful independence. Responding as if they are though, can be hurtful and confusing to the people I love the most.

So, thank you Younger Self, I’m truly grateful for all of the stories/myths of my life. I promise to summon you when spontaneity, risk, and fun are in question. You’re a great resource for those areas of my life.

I have to be honest though, your operating system doesn’t make quite as much sense to me in midlife…it’s time to look forward and hit install now, instead of remind me later.

beach stories…

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”
Emily Dickinson

understanding myself a little better…

I was raised by two entirely different ways of looking at the world. Mom and Dad’s individual circumstances, experiences, programming, and natures formed their worldviews, just as it did for their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and of course, their offspring too.

MY MOM: We’re all pretty wretched human beings. However, if we follow divine rules, tamp down our true natures to follow those rules, and constantly seek forgiveness, then we just might escape eternal damnation.

MY DAD: We’re basically pretty decent folks, we all make mistakes, if we can own them sometimes, and be open to a little coaching then we just might learn from our mistakes and do a little bit better next time.

A friend’s mom says, “it’s a wonder it goes”…it seemed appropriate here somehow. Thank you Martha & Marita.

Grandparents, siblings, birth order, aunts, uncles, cousins, ancient ancestors, geography, friends, boyfriends, school, church, teachers, books, music, TV shows, movies, pets, sports, coaches, experiences, my husband, my children, my nature and so much more, all played a part in who I am today.

Who we are and why is so mysteriously layered and complex that distilling ourselves (or anyone else for that matter) down with just a few data points seems woefully inadequate…total bullshit actually.

My daughter, Willa Govoni shot these photos on the beach a few weeks ago. She captured moments of pure joy and goofing off. These feel like the real me or how I would like my great-grandchildren to see me one day anyway. Thank you Willa.

“I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.” —Billy Joel

Dad liked those Billy Joel lyrics and I think he also understood my worldview quite well. Monday, August 30th will be three years, try to rest in peace Big Guy.

🍦 🍕 🍔 🍟 ❤️ 🏀 🏈