Tuesday, August 2, 2016

One in a...




...million.

This is not at all the post that I wanted to write but sometimes life decides. I actually have been truly missing talking about Provence on Lost in Arles and so have been preparing - with a big intake of breath - some of the other photos that I took during those last weeks in February before coming to the States for some months. These are the things that I do on a Saturday night when I can't sleep, when the future is bullying, to calm me.

You know, I rarely look at the statiscal end of things for this blog anymore. As I have written previously, at some point I realized that I wasn't aiming to "build a brand" - seriously, I do admire those who can but it makes me kind of bubble giggle to think about it - and then I just stopped seeing for quite a while, the words wouldn't roll off my tongue but rather got caught in the back of my throat. So I was pretty silent. I still am, down to sending off missives once a week. It feels odd. With all of this time available, can't I do more? Be more? Apparently not just right yet.

Do you remember how scared I was that you would all abandon me once that I admitted that I was no longer in the midst of what was pretty much a fairy tale existence? And you all said, "No, I won't" or "What are you talking about?" You stayed. Nearly everyone - although a few long term readers have bowed out, that happens. And then, more than quite a few of you arrived without my knowing. What I have been so acutely aware of is that not a day goes by when one of you doesn't reach out to me somehow, either here or by email or on instagram, sometimes signed anonymously or with cryptic aliases. "Just checking in," is how it is expressed most of the time, that reassuring yet expressly casual hand reaching out across the wires, offering kindness. We are a mighty community.

In fact, a bit more so than I would have guessed.

A few years back, over a rosé-fueled lunch under a leafy terrace in Arles, a very successful friend with a "blog" that is more like an e-zine was teasing me about my laissez-faire attitude towards what I do here. "Do you even know what SEO's are?" she queried. "Um, South-Eastern Oreos?" I offered (or some such silliness) for I had no idea at the time. When I half-sheepishly offered up the number of pageviews I had that month, she whisked the figures out of the air with her hand. "You can't go by that," she responded before giving me several solid, helpful ideas that I tried my best to absorb. But I never did figure out why I couldn't trust those figures and now I am kind of glad.

Because last night I stumbled upon the statistics page and saw that Lost in Arles had sailed past the milestone of having a million page views. One million.

Those of you who have blogs yourselves know very well such numbers are extremely relative but...I had to admit that for a moment I was sat bolt upright, blinking in surprise. For I am quite proud. I think that I have the right to be on this one, no?

One...one...one...I have been reading quite a lot about the self, including the illusion of what that means along with the counter balance of our connectedness. And I know that to be true not only because I have been able to have a far more direct experience of who I actually am minus all of the adjectives and modifiers these past few months but also because...I feel you too. Now, don't run away so quickly - or fine, go look at the photos! - but it is true. My friend Ellie has many thousands of people that pray for her on a daily basis and I don't think that she would mind my sharing with you that she says that she can really sense it directly. I get that. You are all quite present in my life somehow, even when I am not actively conscious of it.

These photos were taken for a dear friend who I have not (yet) met on the eve of her birthday. I don't have the means to offer much these days but the evening sky was doing its best so that I could send her a gift. A bit of light. If I am sharing them here it is because I realize so clearly that is what we are doing for each other. I had a bit of banter with an old friend about the nature of the world "obsolete" - that I am not overly fond of the finality of it, preferring instead to take a more Buddhist take that things keep going and just transform. The social media folks say that blogs are obsolete but I know better. And so do you. One or one million? Same difference and that is exactly wherein the beauty lies.





















Thank you for being here...and in so doing, encouraging me to be true and true to myself. 
It's a good goal...along with self-love and inner peace.

With much love and gratitude,
Heather 

72 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos, my friend, although I'm having a bit of trouble with the two-point font of the text in the body of the post. :-)

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    1. Oh dear, sorry about that Emm! I didn't realize that it was soooo small until 20 of you had seen it. Hope that you come back to read the Official Version. :)

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  2. NOW THOSE ARE PHOTOS WITH HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MY GOD THE LIGHT!
    A MILLION VIEWS............would YOU EVERY IMAGINE THAT!SO, DESERVING............
    I STAND TO APAULD YOU....................
    YOU are THE BEST WRITER and the BEST PHOTOGRAPHER.................and soon to be the BEST DRIVER!
    XOXOXO

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  3. All beautiful Heather. Love the light. I too thought I could make a buck blogging, but it soon didn't matter. I still don't have many followers, but cherish the ones I do have. I have learned so much from blogging.

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    1. Donna, I always love your comments here, you would have thought that I could have checked to see if you write a blog by now? Sorry about that. Following you on Bloglovin'.

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  4. Dear Heather,
    As long as you write, I will read. This thing called "life" is so amazing, isn't it? Some journeys are fairly predictable, others take twists and turns, leaving us always surprised at the dawn of each day. Whether predictable or ever changing, the ride is always worth it. May the force and the light always be with you! With respect and admiration, Angela Muller

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    1. These are beautiful wishes, Angela, they truly are. Thank you.

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  5. Heather, your photos always astound me! They see what I would see if I were there to view it. They always make me smile and feel special ~ because you are sharing something special. Always, thank you!

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    1. Merci Kathy. I love, love that they make you feel special.

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  6. Very rarely comment here (I feel a bit shy, somehow, in what seems like a lovely community of people who know each other well -- so I tend to stay at the edge of the room with a glass of wine, listening, smiling, nodding, but not yet chatting), but there is so much that resonates. My "numbers" are smaller than yours, but I've been blogging over nine years, thought once or twice about trying to SEO, decided I didn't care enough to take that path, and have, instead, found so many rewards in having a space to express myself and to facilitate rich conversations between wise, thoughtful, interesting, clever souls. I love finding these non-commercialised, non-commodified pockets of cyberspace, some wilderness of possibilities kept alive. Thank you!

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    1. Well, for what it is worth, I am always at the edge of a room at a party behaving exactly as you described, so maybe we would meet after a short nod in each others direction that way? It is fun to think upon. So, I certainly understand your hesitation although I know well how kind those that comment here can be - just as those who don't often like yourself. All are appreciated beyond their knowing by me. And if you have managed to keep blogging for nine amazing years, you certainly don't need to hear that from me!

      You know, one way in which I differ is that I am not against monetizing a blog space...I could seriously use the money...I just am not willing to have anything on here that isn't what I want it to be. I probably don't have that luxury right now in my life so that may change. We'll see...?

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  7. I love the blowsy photos. what are they? the third one from the bottom is especially getting to me. exquise. sigh. When I read (past tense), “Can’t I do more?” then your answer, “apparently not...” I felt let off the hook. I’ve been being hard on myself. thanks for the gift buddy.

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    1. You are welcome, buddy. Happy to help. :) And I have been right there with you. shadow-boxing.

      I'm glad you like the puffy, prickly photo.

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  8. Congratulations, Heather! We keep reading for your thoughtful observations and insights, as well as your lovely photos. I can see some of your pictures on Instagram (I'm @hillonthehouse), but I enjoy reading your words. You express such sensitivity, a love of beauty, nature and history, and can make the personal universal. I for one am glad you aren't in the numbers game but are true to yourself. You've found your tribe.

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    1. I sure have, Carolyn. Thank you for being a member! :) And for all of your kindness too.

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    1. I am so glad that you like them, Patricia.

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  10. Your "Journey" is proof that from extreme pain comes beauty of the highest order. Mahalo et Merci, Rocket .. this post is ethereally delicious.

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    1. Why is journey in quotation marks, Bill? You know what a rough ride it has been! But, being serious for a moment, thank you for being a good friend. Happy you liked these. Much Mahalo...

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  11. A million views???? Congratulations!!! But the best part of that is your photographs and your words. That first photo of the tree just took my breath away. Just keep on doing what your doing and let us bask in your glorious words and photos. Bravo!
    Sandra Sallin

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    1. Thank you Sandra. It was so fun talking to you out at Contessa's...
      xo

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  12. Well Heather, those are some BEAUTIFUL photographs with that golden orange afternoon light. Especially that third photograph! You always see so sensitively.
    You might have a heightened awareness at the moment as you are thinking and working out your next steps, but your readers are not concerned about your change of location, but your take on life via your impressions and your wonderful photos!
    Keep going!
    Cheers,
    Deb - Melbourne

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    1. Deb, how long have you been reading here? Do you remember? Thank you...
      gros bisous

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  13. Lovely photos, nice way to end a Monday. Thanks.

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  14. actually, must add. I love so many of these photos. just wow.

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    1. Coming from you that always means a lot. Thank you, Jackie. Still owe you that email. I have been a bit of a recluse.

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  15. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Those Queen Anne's Lace with the light - I'm speechless. Congratulations on a million views, dear Heather!

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    1. Thank you Lorrie! I love Queen Anne's Lace. It doesn't surprise me that you would appreciate them too.

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  16. Congratulations! The only business blog I like is Ellie's and that is of course a highly unique situation. I applaud you for sticking with your soul and preserving the integrity of what you've built. These photos! Stunning! Your photos suggest you are bonding with the beauty around you and that makes me very, very happy.

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    1. Well, I know what you mean but hopefully, hopefully, on a good day one can at least look for it wherever one happens to be...right?

      Thank you for everything, SAJ. You are a great friend.

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  17. Beautifully written with such honesty...that's why we all wait for your posts and photos.

    Ali

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  18. I love the photos -- as usual, but if I were just after photos I wouldn't still be here; and neither would all of us who helped take you to a million views (congratulations!). The reason I keep coming back, day after day and year after year, is that I like you -- I like how you look at life, your honesty and your fire. Like you, I've stopped worrying about stats and I only post once or twice a week. It's enough.

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    1. It's definitely enough for right now. I loved posting three times a week and was really proud of the idea of building something and a community but that was really right for where I was in my life then, maybe it will be again...? And I like you too, Annette. But thank you for saying it. Made me feel really good.

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  19. The sky's the limit. Free Again. Barbra Streisand.

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    1. Not having been a Barbra fan, I will have to look this one up, Daniel.

      Puoi perdonarmi?

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  20. Your beauty of soul, artistry and generosity fill every one of your posts with treasures of all kinds. Thank you always, Heather, Leslie in Oregon

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  21. The great thing about the Internet is there's something for everybody, and for every mood. I can indulge my daydreaming about decor and fashion and travel, or pick up ideas for dinner. But I also can indulge in a meeting of minds with people who are too far away to meet. I have some lovely friends here IRL, but they mostly are pretty grounded. I can't discuss how quaint it is here--to them, it just is. If I try to express the pleasure I got this morning, running through the woods as the sun was rising, feeling the cool air and knowing it will be a hot day, smelling the breeze--they would laugh and say I'm crazy. But I can come here and read what you've written and see your photos and know there's a kindred spirit out there who appreciates these things.
    The e-zines are just that. I get a little annoyed when they all are trumpeting the same online sales, but as I don't get out much I am still happy to peruse them. Then there are other blogs, like this one, like la Contessa's, like Castles, Crowns and Cottages that celebrate beauty in the world, without trying to sell something. They are very special.
    Congratulations on a million!

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  22. Yes, you have reason to be proud! Yayyy!

    You probably didn't aim it but you have already created a brand. In being you!

    We all recognize a "Lost in Arles" post a mile away. Cannot be imitated because it is originary.

    Of course, your blog is not obsolete. Your blog makes a difference!

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  23. Beautiful photos Hearher, I felt as if I was reading a letter from an old school friend whom I hadn't seen in a long while. For this is what blogging does, we build friendships with people we have never met, we feel each other's pain, we celebrate and we console. Media moguls may say blogging is dead but as long as there are communities such as this it will go on for many years. Stay strong my friend and remember our door is always open, the bed is made and a glass of wine and a big hug awaits you xxx

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  24. Some may go, a lot will stay. And life goes on! And there is no beauty like nature, as you so well show in the photos you take. Thanks!

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  25. What beautiful photos, Heather! Thank you.

    Lorraine

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  26. Congratulations! It is good to see another lovely post from you. Your photos are absolutely wonderful and captured a beautiful mood.

    Have a nice week ~ FlowerLady

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  27. As always, Heather, your blog is a balm no matter what is happening here. These photos, as I think about my own definition of "home," touch me in ways that continue to evolve. And, yes, you should be proud of your fabulous 'stats!'

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  28. The pictures are beautiful.

    Thank you for continuing to blog, I appreciate your thoughtful writing. Keep on keeping on, in the blog and elsewhere. x

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  29. Those are stunning photos, Heather! And congratulations on your milestone!!

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  30. Very calming photos. My visits to your blog are a way of whispering a prayer for you.

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  31. Another beautiful piece Heather. You've nailed the point of a blog in my opinion. . .I gave up watching those stats rise and I've quit writing to keep my family and close friends up to date (humbling, but they don't read the blog) but what has happened is that a whole new world of friendship has opened up as result of it. When we had our own crisis this spring and I finally wrote about it, I was so comforted in the many expressions of love and good wishes. . .blogs, in my mind will only be obsolete when friendships are. . .

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  32. Love the mellow quality and detail of your photos...great sensitivity...
    Your milestone and reception are the testimony to your talent.

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  33. Your soul resonates through your photos. The kindest thing we can all do is just be...

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  34. Thank you for this thoughtful and insightful post, Heather. I always read your blog and find it meaningful, no matter where on the planet you may be. The photos are lovely, you always capture detail so well.
    Keep the conversation flowing because we are all here to participate!

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  35. I love your posts and photos and will continue to read til you stop writing. So don't stop! Sending healing thoughts and prayers for your journey, Jill

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  36. LLovely photos as always Heather. And I will certainly not be deserting you. I look forward to your posts and appreciate your frankness and integrity . Take good care of yourself, Diana

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  37. Hello Heather,
    Congratulations on reaching the one million mark in readers. That is a significant accomplishment. Well done. You images here are beautiful and somewhat familiar to the scenery of Ontario and of course Michigan. Your eye captures beauty wherever you go.
    I think blogging will always prevail. I am happy you are writing.
    Fondest wishes

    Helen xx

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  38. You are bonding our hearts, the hearts of your readers.

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  39. Congratulations on your milestone. I always look forward to reading your posts. Your pictures are stunning. Keep on writing .

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  40. Congratulations on your milestone. I always look forward to reading your posts. Your pictures are stunning. Keep on writing .

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  41. Congratulations on touching 1 million people with your beautiful photos and insightful words. That is a fabulous accomplishment.

    Life is full of speed bumps and twists and turns and mountains and mole hills. Where you are right now is where you were meant to be. Take it in, enjoy it. Enjoy the time with your mom, step-dad and sister, enjoy the beautiful but different sights and sounds of Michigan. There is beauty all around as evidenced by these photos.

    When the time is right change will happen.

    Take care of yourself I have had you on my mind.

    Elizabeth

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  42. Wooot! One million is just jawdroppingly awesome! I loved your turn of phrase "when the future is bullying" ...

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  43. A million. That’s a huge number.
    Innumerable pollens scattered around the word
    a family, growing, caring, “present in my life”.
    Beautiful photos in diminishing light.
    Congratulations Heather.


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  44. IG has its place but it can not replace writing and blogs no matter what people say! congrats on the milestone Heather!

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  45. You have created such a thoughtful space, I am not surprised that so many people have found you...and stayed. You should be so proud of what you have accomplished, especially at this time when blogs "are obsolete". I am always grateful for your posts, you give me food for thought, calmness during times of stress, and great advice on vacation homes. Congratulations, and Thank You!!

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  46. Your photos again, are stunning! I was catapulted into thought though with this one line: "With all of this time available, can't I do more? Be more? Apparently not just right yet." I'm trying to be o.k. with that, for myself. I could not possible stay away for a minute when I see your blog pop into my inbox. I love your writing and all you share with us. We are a community.

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  47. Hi Heather i am mostly lurking but Congrats on reaching the milestone! Beautiful photos as always.

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  48. Crazy beautiful pictures and prose, and crazy proud of you for one million views!!! Please tell me when the online store is open for buying prints - I need several from this post!

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  49. I have to say you made the Queen Annes lace so real. love it. yvonne

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  50. Your writing, photographs and wonderful spirit lift all those whom you touch so your SEO's don't surprise me. Apologies beautiful Heather for not visiting for so long. Keep smiling.

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