Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


The Exquisite Artwork of Landartist Hannah Bullen-Ryner

“Dawn, I sent you a message of some absolutely beautiful bird art,” my friend, Amanda, wrote. “Take a look. It reminded me of you.”
I saw Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s art and fell in head-over-heels in love. The more of her art I saw, the deeper in love I fell. Thank you, Amanda! As I immerse myself in all-things landscape, wildness, beauty, imagination, and language, Bullen-Ryner’s art seems to me an exquisite expression of all. I connected with Bullen-Ryner and asked if I could share the beauty she creates from nature here and was granted permission.
During this challenging time of deep uncertainly, the pandemic, and wildfires, I lift the beauty and spirit of this art. Art and quotes come directly from Bullen-Ryner about her work. I hope you will enjoy this respite, an oasis of peace, beauty, joy, expression, whimsy, colors, textures, and creativity. I hope this will be an experience of bathing in beauty. Here lifting up beauty for—and of—the natural world.
Bullen-Ryner describes herself as a, “Landartist & woodland pixie in love with the natural world and finding my place gently within it.. 🙏 💚🌿 I work with only found, foraged, natural items. With no fixings, my birds are temporary visitors and fly away on the breeze…🙏💚 Using only natural materials found locally and no permanent fixings, each piece I form is inspired by the organic shapes of the natural environment around me.
I create to share my love of nature and to soothe my soul.
Welcome to my little pixie world…”

“I can’t stop making Hummingbirds! 💚”

ARTIST BIO—Originally a painter and a photographer, finding the medium of Landart has allowed my art and my connection to the Earth my soul so needed, to combine. As a full time mama of twin girls, landart is my quiet time, my peace. I flow purely with found materials, creating ephemeral Mandalas or little bird visitors underneath my favourite Oak tree.  Within moments sometimes, my offerings fly away on the breeze.

A little messenger of hope sent out to all who need it this evening.. 🙏💚

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” ~David Attenborough

“My beautiful little afternoon visitor and I send you some calm from the edge of the field..🙏💚🌿
Firstly as you read this, relax your shoulders, unclench your teeth, relax your tongue from the roof of your mouth and take a nice big, deep breath in, and out… 💚💚💚💚💚 There is an Oak, Hawthorn and Bramble hedgerow behind me and I have heard many a little scurry of little feet.. little mice, foraging birds in the hour I have been sitting here. There is next to no breeze today and the sun is blazing. The treeline makes for some welcome shade for both me and all these tiny creatures. Birdsong fills my ears and my heart. From us, to you. 🙏💚

“It’s okay to rest a while.. 🙏💚🌿
The winds have been strong today and little one wanted to fly away quicker than I could flow! Managed to get a few shots before she left on the breeze.”

“My little morning visitor.. 🙏💚 It it is all done by hand.. 🙏💚🌿 I do often find a tiny point of the end of an Ash seed pod or a small blade of grass to help me manoeuvre stray pieces into place. But I also sometimes watch the breeze move a piece only for it to look better than where I originally placed it! 🙂

“I found this bit of plastic netting on a wooded pathway yesterday. I immediately picked it up to cut up and dispose of safely. This little one wants to remind you that he, alongside countless other creatures are at risk of getting fatally trapped in something like this. Please be responsible and recycle where possible. 🙏💚🌿 The little ones are relying on you.”

“A little messenger of hope sent out to all who need it this evening.. 🙏💚

“With the UK looking likely to go back on lockdown, the days drawing in, everything still very much in the air, and following on from the success of the EPC zoom call I am putting some feelers out…I want to help lift and raise vibrations and continue to share the positive steps I take to feel better through the medium of Land Art. 💚💚
“Today has felt overwhelming for lots of reasons.. luckily I have had beautiful visitors to help me find some calm..🙏💚🌿 Little fluff-head. 😊💚

“This little guy tells me his name is “Pan” 😊🙏💚🌿 He was so eager to meet you he came right up close 🌿

“There is something truly magical when a butterfly comes and sits on you, even when you are a mystical ephemeral creature yourself! 🤗🦋🙏💚

“I have been told in no uncertain terms that I should not be offering opinions on Faery head-wear by this little one today! 😂😉🙏💚🌿 Her name is “Belladonna” or Deadly Nightshade, so I think it’s rather fitting she seems a little bit cross! 💜

“All I did was *mention* that the Faery crowns *might* a getting bit OTT… 😄🤗🙏💚” (over the top)

“Friendship comes in the most unlikely combinations.. seek out those who see you for all your colours and let you fly…🙏💚🌿

“Little shy one really wasn’t sure if she wanted to meet everyone…🙏💚🤗🌿 She is adorned in lavender petals but still a nervous little thing.. I call her Anxiety.💜

“Little Baby-Blue one in amongst the Mugwort.. 😊🙏💚


I close with Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s words “Keep finding the light.. 💪✊🙏💚. Here’s a little one stretching her wings after a rain.🙏💚🌿” 

Hannah Bullen-Ryner’s exquisite landart on Facebook: Hannah Bullen-Ryner on Facebook and Instagram: @hannahbullenrynerart


Birds, Dissertation Proposal, Flowers, and Scarves!

Last week, I defended my dissertation proposal, “Exploring Stories at the Intersection of Landscape and Linguistic Literatures through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination: A Scholarly Personal Narrative.” This review was delayed several months due to all happening in the past year and then the pandemic and all of the professional and family-moving-home dynamics.

The Zoom review reflected perfectly the essence of so many of our experiences in the past months—Zoom was just not playing well with others. One of us was suddenly bumped off and then the Screen Share button for my presentation wouldn’t work. I called Luke in the next room with a simple and loud, “Help!” Luke finagled a different way for me to share my presentation and we were off.

I am extraordinarily blessed in my Dissertation Committee: May Elawar, Jennifer Wells, Luci Tapahonso. Each phenomenal woman brings worlds of unique lived experiences, expertise in a spectrum of fields, and an engaged heart. Our time together was one of deep conversation about the ideas, clarifying questions, visions and potential possibilities for the unfolding of the dissertation itself. All tremendously exciting. My committee passed the proposal. Now, of course, must pass through the Dean and Provost for official acceptance to advance to PhD Candidacy. Many, many candles lit.

In essence, what I hope to do with my dissertation is convey the research and knowledge found within the fields of ecolinguistics/linguistic human rights and holistic resource management into the genre of landscape literature through creative prose, specifically through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination.

This idea came to me many years ago and the ember has grown since. I am passionate about linguistic human rights and ecolinguistics. I am passionate about landscape literature. I am passionate about the ranch and the holistic, global methods of holistic resource management. I read widely within each of these fields and want to bring all together into an integrated whole with language as an element of landscape as the unifying theme. Now, the journey enters the next stage. I dive into my 25+ years of journals and why I write in my journal. Piles and piles of journals to identify and codify the themes of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

While discussing with Luke and Noé this next chapter of writing my dissertation, the following conversation took place:

Me: In my dissertation book, it says I need to get rid of the unessentials from my life to focus on writing.

Luke and Noé (look at each other): That’s us!

Me: Don’t worry, I already did that years ago. You two made the cut.

Luke and Noé (looking at each other): It could still happen. We better be useful! You make dinner. I’ll clean the yard.

Me (slow smile…): Excellent plan. Keep that thought.

Luke and I talk a lot about writing, words, books, ideas, life. We were talking about grammar the other day (as one does over coffee, while watching the birds in the birdbath), and Luke mentioned his delight of discovering the em dash (—).”The em dash, the sexy comma.” Yes!

Stained glass of Meadowlark cover by Marie Hooper.

The birdbath and tiny bird sanctuary that we’re creating in the backyard continues to bring exponential, crazy amounts of joy. Here is my view from my writing room.

I spend a lot of time looking at this view and thinking, planning, dreaming, organizing this next chapter of writing the dissertation and future book. Right now, a tiny hummingbird lifts from one hummingbird mint bloom to the next to sip nectar. Especially after the last year and the unanticipated delay of my proposal defense amidst all, I am very grateful to have completed.

I celebrated by laying down for a short rest afterward—(sexy comma) and fell asleep for a three hour, sleep-of-the-dead nap. Three hours! I woke and asked Luke if he wanted coffee. He looked at the clock, “How about dinner?” It was 5:00pm!

Best way I can think to celebrate.

In other events of the past few weeks, I share the following definition:

Parotidectomy (pa-RAH-ti-DECK-tomy) (n)/ An increased appreciation of colorful, bright scarves. (Reference also found under PRADA-dectomy).

This was a few weeks ago. All good.

Onward to write!


When a Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer

I had several of these cards. They lived on our fridge, lined my pockets, were bookmarks in my books and journal.

Back from our run, Luke noticed that with his lilac-colored chew toy in his mouth, Angus and I matched. It’s important to choose one’s running attire to match your dog and his chew toy!

This piece has been a while in the making. I take a deep breath and offer these thoughts, as during my own journey with breast cancer I came to realize how very many lives breast cancer touches, whether it’s you or a woman you love, mother, sister, friend, cousin, and on and on. If a woman you love has breast cancer, I hope this piece might provide insight and ideas.

If you are the woman with breast cancer and this reflects your experience, but you may not have the words or energy to express, you can text or email this piece—”This is how I feel,” or “This is how I felt”—so people will know how to support you, without you needing to tell them.

I offer this reflection on my own experience, as I realized that when the words “breast cancer” enter a conversation, often people don’t know what to say. I can only speak from my own experience and what my mom and other dear friends have shared with me about their breast cancer journeys.

While this piece cannot encompass the infinite experiences of all women, I hope it might include common threads and make the ground firmer under your feet.

Some possible language and things to think about when a woman you love has breast cancer:

“I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” When in doubt, go with this. That was really all I needed or wanted to hear. An acknowledgement of the journey, no explaining, no joking, no trying to make me feel better, just an acknowledgment. I knew I could take the rest from there.

Listen. When this journey begins, you are bombarded with different procedures, tests, and possible treatments. Some are optional, others not so much. I learned that the decisions made are intensely personal for each woman. Listen to her and support her in her decisions. I know that I made decisions that those who love me did not initially agree with. It meant the world to me that they listened, supported me, and did not try to change my mind, even though I knew how they truly felt. It’s her body, her decisions. Listen, trust that she knows what’s best for her, and support.

Follow her lead. For some women, this is an external journey and others an internal one. Some women seek comfort outwardly, and others turn deep within. “It seems like the women I know with breast cancer go either all one way or the other,” a dear friend said to me. “Either it’s intensely public or intensely private, not too much in-between.” Whatever her natural inclination, follow that. Some women find great comfort and strength in sharing with their friend and family communities via email, social media, talking about it, sharing the journey. Whatever path the woman you love walks, follow her. It is such an internal and intuitive urge, it’s really not even a choice.

For me, the journey was extraordinarily private. It’s always been like this for me. When I go through tough times, I put my head down, go deep within to get through it, and emerge into the world after. Another reason I kept this journey private is that I did not want to see that look in peoples’ eyes. That look of sympathy. I wanted to feel and be as strong as possible.

If she is someone that goes within, often those who love her feel helpless at not being able to help or feel left out, not included. This is not personal. For that woman who needs to go within, providing her with both presence and space is an enormous support. She feels your love and presence. It’s just taking every ounce of her energy to get through this right now and when she emerges on the other side, she will connect. There are many reasons why the woman you love may go deep within for this journey. Presence and space.

Until she jokes about it, it’s too soon. I believe this comes from the very human response to make someone you love feel better through levity and humor and with the best of intentions. Until she jokes about it, it’s too soon. And, if you want to make her feel better and initially joke too soon, she understands where that comes from and the love it expresses. When my mom was going through chemo, we finally laughed when she described putting on her make-up foundation the day after shaving her head, “I went to put on my make-up today and where do you stop?” she said as she moved her hand up her forward and just kept going up and over her bare head. “Your neckline in the back?”

Grief and mourning. Her grief and mourning are real and deep. I learned later that after visiting dear friends during the depths of this journey, after I left the husband said, “That wasn’t Dawn. She just seems so sad.” I was so very, very sad. Doing my best to cover for that, but clearly there were cracks. Grief for my body. Grief about the journey. Just soul-deep grief, and I couldn’t figure out how to come out of it. I did my best to put a smile on, so as not to spread that grief. I read something Brad Pitt said about going through tough times that resonated with me, “I clean up okay on the outside, but it’s still pretty rough underneath.” That was me—with lipstick. Because my journey was private, most people did not find out until after all my surgeries, when I was on the other side of healing. Eventually, slowly and on it’s own time, the light began to shine in my soul again.

Pink. Not all women with breast cancer embrace the color pink immediately. Remember my own near Great Pink Balloon Rampage? It would be an understatement to say that I immediately embraced pink. I remember Mom expressing this, as well. Philosophically, I whole-heartedly embrace pink and the research and at last naming and holding space for a woman’s cancer marginalized in the medical community until recently that it represents. I just didn’t want to wear or see it during the most intense times. I embrace it now. It has taken quite a bit of time and I’m out of the deep throes of the journey. Other women find tremendous comfort, community, and support with pink. Whatever she feels, it is deep, visceral. Go with it.

Don’t even try to explain her experience to her. Please, please, please do not explain how she’s feeling or what she’s going through to her. That’s a great way to get throat-punched.

Just do it. If you want to provide support or show love, just do it. Do not say, “Let me know if you need anything.” That sentence hands another responsibility to the woman you love who is already doing all she can to keep one nostril barely above the water. Just send flowers or a card. Just send luxurious face creams or have take-out delivered. Put together a care package with an impossibly soft blanket that she’ll curl up under and feel your love. Send tea and candles. Bake homemade bread and send. Whatever feels right. Just do it.

If you’re the woman going through this. I’ve been on the other side of this for a few months now, some things that I would say to myself or any woman going through this. Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the very best you can. Trust yourself and your intuition. Sleep when you can. Create a soft nest with an impossibly soft blanket, candles, tea, flowers, meds. Stay there as much as possible. Your body will be different, not worse. Embrace the stories of your scars. This one will may take a lot of time. I’m just starting to maybe get there. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Trust what feels right for you.

While these ideas cannot encompass the infinite ways that a woman experiences breast cancer, I hope they might provide light in what can feel an opaque and unfamiliar landscape.

Follow her lead.

Trust that she knows the right decisions for her.

Presence and space.




Exploring Language, Landscape, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Dear Dewdrops Community, I hope this note finds you well and safe in these wild times. Please know how much our connection means to me, always and especially now.

My current work explores the connections between language and landscape through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination. I live in multiple worlds, as so many of us do. One of my worlds is that of creative prose and narrative with a focus on landscape. Another world that I am passionate about is the academic world of Linguistic Human Rights and ecolinguistics. I now intertwine these worlds together, with the hope of enriching each with the beauty, research, knowledge, and wisdom into the other. Into the creative prose of landscape literatures, I bring language as element of landscape and the research of Linguistic Human rights and ecolinguistics. Into the academic world, I express knowledge and research through creative prose.

Here the works found in such journals as Orion, Emergence, Terralingua & Landscape, braid with the ecolinguistic and Linguistic Human Rights research of Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Robert Phillipson, and Sune Vork Steffensen and the powerful prose of Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston, Amy Irvine, Robert MacFarlane, and Craig Childs.

If exploring language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination interests you, I’m creating a Twitter community with this focus.

While I’ve had a Twitter account for years (@dawn_wink), I really haven’t spent much time there. Or any time there. As I dive deeper into my current work, I’ve discovered world of kindred spirits in academia, creative writing, and readers who love wildness, beauty, and imagination. My own space is one where these worlds and ideas mingle.

Current reading landscape.

In that space, art, nature writing, academics, creative writing, gorgeous prose, and photography thread together. Anything that resonates with me as conveying an essence of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

Some of the pieces shared there include:

Orion Magazine | Speaking of Nature: “While it’s true that words are simply vessels for meaning, without meaning of their own, many cultures imbue the utterance of words with spirit because they originate with the breath, with the mystery of life itself.”Finding language that affirms our kinship with the natural world with Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Emergence Magazine: Coyote Story: “THE SKY ON that day was the color of the paper on which I write this story.”

Knowable Magazine: The Fragile State of Contact Languages These linguistic mash-ups are at high risk of extinction. The race to save them is a matter of time, with more at stake than words.

Raven’s Time: Critical Literacy in the American Southwest “The raven looks out the window from the corner of my desk.” A piece on place, landscape, language and healing.

Orion Magazine | Together Apart A series of letters from isolation. Every week under lockdown, we eavesdrop on curious pairs of authors, scientists, and artists, listening in on their emails, texts, and phone calls as they redefine their relationships from afar.This first exchange is between Amy Irvine and Pam Houston

The beauty of a mosaic of languages. SIL International @SILintl Today, about 75% of the world population speaks approximately 8% of the world’s languages. Conversely, 25% of the world’s population speaks the remaining 92% of the world’s languages. This represents about 1.8 billion people.” Dr Michel Kenmogne, SIL Ex Dr

Veins of Turquoise: Migration, Immigration, Language “Let us create turquoise in the political and social fissures surrounding immigration and languages, as the land does amidst geographical eruptions. If turquoise is the stone of spirit, of healing, of prosperity, of protection, of journey, of safety, and of homecoming, then let us bring it to the land and our people.”

Linguistic Rights Are Human Rights: A Hope for a Future of Linguistic Diversity / Smithsonian Folklife. “Yet my hope for the future goes beyond this: it is that every soul, whose existence happens to manifest itself on the planet, continues through the generations to bring something new into the world, retains their  individuality, develops their own sense of humor, and tells their own unique story in a distinctive way.”

Dr. Gerald Roche @GJosephRoche—In the same way that dehumanization precedes genocide, the construction of languagelessness precedes language oppression. /fin

Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language Terralingua. “I listened to the desert. I listened to water. This is what I heard.”

Discovery of this world of kindred spirits would have been welcome any time, but right now with the pandemic and all of our social and travel restrictions, I feel a sense of an opening up the world. This discovery infuses a sense of energy and expansiveness.

So, if you’re interested in exploring these ideas, please join me on Twitter at @dawn_wink. There’s a whole wide world of language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination out there to explore!

Hummingbird mint.

Robin in the bird bath.

One of my great joys of this summer in this time of social isolation and working remotely from home has been the birdbath and hummingbirds right outside my writing room window. Watching these birds and their antics, which I can see from my desk, brings me crazy amounts of joy.

This little spot has become the happen’ place! Robin comes every day to splash and cavort. A big white wing dove has taken to doing full-on cannonballs! Tiny songbirds flutter around and wait their turn, often descending in groups of four of five, dipping their little wings into the water and then fluttering and dancing around.

The hummingbird mint blooms around the birdbath and at least three hummingbirds have made their home in our yard this summer. They sip from the blooms throughout the day, diving and whizzing about. This swirl of birds throughout the day… crazy amounts of joy.

Sunrise and raven on early morning run.




Wink Ranch, Part II – Welded Art Sculptures in Lemmon and Rock Climbing in Spearfish, South Dakota

Prairie moon over Wink ranch, July 2020.

My week on the ranch overflowed with too many wonderful times to fit into a single post. We took a few days away from the ranch and went to Mobridge (the town where Mom grew up), Lemmon, and Spearfish, SD. Even by South Dakota standards, Lemmon is remote—close to the North Dakota border with a population of 1,989. Lemmon is the hometown of John Lopez, one of the premier welded sculpture artists of the world. We have wanted to see his sculptures and after a day in Mobridge, we headed back to the ranch via Lemmon. We were not disappointed. We loved Lopez’s incredible art at The Kokomo Gallery. Check out his website for professional photos of this artwork, stunning detail.

Custer’s Last Stand

Tree of Life

We headed to the Grand River Museum to see more of John’s work. For those familiar with the movie The Revenant, the film is based on the life of Hugh Glass. We discovered the 200-mile journey Glass walked after being mauled by a grizzly and left for dead, took place along the prairie lands, rather than the mountains portrayed. Here is the piece photographed in full glory.

Delightfully surprised to find Meadowlark on the shelf in the book store and right next to one of Linda Hasselstrom‘s books—perfect!

Earlier in the day, we’d been to Mobridge and saw another of Lopez’s pieces, Fishing Cowboy.

With Mom.

Lots of surprises in this small town, including the Petrified Wood Park, including dinosaur claw marks and bones.

Petrified Wood Castle

Spearfish Canyon of the Black Hills shines as one of the true treasures of South Dakota. Mom’s maternal grandparents, Grammie Lucille and Grampy Dave, lived in Spearfish. I have memories of playing in the water ditch that ran along their house as a child with my cousins. Spearfish is a jewel of a college town nestled right at the base of the Black Hills. This is where the prairie sharply ends and the green forested carpet of the hills begins. On Very Special Days on the ranch, we get cleaned up, put our town clothes on, and head for Spearfish.

Spearfish Canyon

I had two Very Special Spearfish days during the week on the ranch—one when Wyatt and Natasha took me rock climbing and another with Mom, walking the green paths and picturesque downtown. As we find ourselves sticking close to home due to the pandemic, a bit of art, greenery, and liquid beauty for us all.

Spearfish Canyon

For those who know Wyatt, he lives to rock climb. Wyatt never crawled. He stood up at nine-months and started running and climbing everything in sight. He hasn’t stopped since.

Wyatt climbing.

My first time climbing outdoors. I knew my guy wouldn’t let me fall.

Then a beautiful hike along the trails. I was taken with the gorgeous bark of the trees.

Mom and I returned a few days later for another Very Special Day. We walked the trails, strolled the picturesque downtown, and visited the fish hatchery. Mom playing in the stream.

Considering I was only on the ranch six days, we made the most of every minute.

I needed to leave far too soon. Time there filled my spirit and I’m already hoping to make it back this fall. The photo of the full moon over the dam made me think a song that Mom used to sing to us, and often still does, when there is a full moon. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SXi1Xvi7Mk




Wink Ranch, July 2020

Amidst the pandemic and all else, I made it to the ranch for a week in July. It had been far too long. A balm for my spirit.

I recently discovered the music of Ryan Bingham and listened throughout the trip, as I crossed the wide expanses of open country. I chuckled at the name of this coffee shop when I stopped for gas in Lusk, Wyoming.

Only in Wyoming—and a fairly apt description of me on many days. Thirteen hours into the trip with only one to go, I crested a hill to this storm cloud. Stunning.

And fourteen hours after leaving Santa Fe, I turned down the lane at last.

The stars aligned this year with Bo and I were both on the ranch at the same time. Wyatt is working on the ranch, joined by his girlfriend, Natasha, whose veterinary school classes went online. Luke spent a number of weeks. Work kept Noé and Wynn in Santa Fe.

A molten sunset the first evening. 

This was the first time in many years these four Winks managed to be in the same place at the same time. A gift.

Too bad we had no fun at all!

Checking water tanks with Daddy and Bo.

It was July 3 and Mom referred to us as her “three firecrackers.”

A gorgeous rain came through. I only wish I could include the scent with this video! Imagine it’s there.

The shifting light, colors, and textures of the land and sky on the Great Plains.

Work continued for Daddy and Wyatt. As Mom would say, “What could possibly go wrong?”

We squeezed as much as possible into this week, including trips to Spearfish, Mobridge, and Lemmon, South Dakota treasures. More on those soon.

Of course, one of my favorite times on the ranch was my time with Josie, who holds such a special place in my heart for so many reasons. She was the inspiration for the mare in Meadowlark. She’d been out for the summer and one evening Daddy and I headed out to the pasture to see her.

Josie is a grullo with her wild and wonderful coloring. In the winter she hairs-up so much she resembles a yak. Her mane reflects her grullo coloring with threads of russet, blonde, roan, black, sorrel, and the spectrum in between. I cut the tangle from her mane, trimmed the rest, couldn’t quite leave on the ranch, and brought home. My family is not quite sure why hair from Josie’s mane remains on our kitchen counter.

Because laced within the beauty of the horsehair strands are all they represent. Shades and textures of the prairie entwine within, as does the ranch and all that holds—birdsong, shifting light, textures, and colors, and years of family love and memories. One of my guiding quotes is, “Children need two things: roots and wings.” So many of my kids’ deepest roots thread this land, roots that ground them through the sunshine and the storms of life.

As I go about my day, I find myself reaching over to run the tips of my fingers across the coarse, colorful strands of Josie’s mane and my heart smiles.


Joan & Dawn: The Personal and the Professional

First bouquet of Summer 2020.

First bouquet of Summer 2020.

Dawn & Joan, Tucson 2019

Dawn & Joan, Tucson

In between Zoom meetings, report writing, and email today, I received a text of a piece she wrote from Joan Wink. Some know her as an internationally renowned scholar, professor, and writer. I know her as Mom. During this time of the lockdown, this piece on the intertwining of our personal and professional lives feels especially resonant. For all of us, the compartmentalization of the personal and the professional has dissolved in these past months, whether we wanted it to or not.

For Mom and I, the intentional braiding together of the personal and professional creates a primary pillar in of our personal and professional lives—each strengthening the other. Mom began writing of this piece for WinkWorld and discovered later that day that I was making a video on just this topic this for one of my PhD courses focusing on Women in Leadership.

Mom shares her wisdom and my video here: Dawn & Joan: The Personal and the Professional.

As I watched the video for the first time in several months, taken after a month spent on my parents’ ranch while my dad received treatment for prostate cancer in AZ, I flashed on Daddy, Mom, Noé, and I this past Christmas, smack-dab in the midst of my own cancer treatment. Daddy said, “I’ve heard that it’s 1 in 8 people in the US who develop cancer. In our Wink family, it’s 3 out of 4.”

“Well,” we said, “at least we’re in it together!”

As we all navigate this global journey of the lockdown, doing our extraordinarily imperfect human best to meld our personal and professional lives into the best whole we can compose, perhaps we might find ways to fuse these often separate lives together for a mutual strengthening and inspiration of each. No matter how messy and exhausting the journey (and it is), bits of beauty are sure to shine through.

At least we’re in it together!

Work day.




Mustangs and Music—The Wild Mustangs of San Luis Valley

Mama and foal mustangs, San Luis Valley All photos of trip ©Wynn Wink-Moran


Wynn and I headed north to Colorado to pick up Luke who was on his way back from the ranch. It was a lovely drive through the San Luis Valley. While we are very fortunate where we live to have access to the outdoors (i.e. long runs and walks), it still felt fabulous during these weeks in quarantine to get out.

A remote valley in northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado, we took the two-lane road through miles and miles of sharp stone cliffs and vast landscape. We drove through the wide-open country and I listened to Wynn sing along to her favorite musicals.

This was my first time through San Luis, CO. It’s website reads, “San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado, was established on April 5, 1851, with a present population of approximately 750. San Luis is predominately Hispanic, with strong ties to Spain’s religious, cultural, and artistic traditions. Once a part of four Spanish land grants decreed by the King of Spain, the town’s adobe architecture and classic Spanish town layout retain the texture of the historical and cultural influences which shaped the early communities of Southern Colorado. The surrounding area is mainly a farming and agriculture area.” There is a definite feel of stepping into a historic and weighty past here.


As we drove the remote two-lane road, which reminded me a lot of driving to the ranch, a car coming toward us blinked their headlights. I assumed that it was to let me know there was a patrol officer ahead and checked my speed. Several miles passed and no highway patrol anywhere. When the next car coming toward us miles later also blinked their lights, I wondered what might be happening and soon discovered.

In this part of Colorado, blinking headlights means, “Look out for wild mustangs on the road ahead.” Considering the history of the Spaniards, who brought horses to this area, this felt to be a blending of past and present.

Wynn and I slowed to a crawl and the dark swirl of shapes shifted to become a mosaic of horses and foals.

One little one particularly captured our hearts with its scampering about. Wynn took photos and we imagined the story, one the may resonate with parents in quarantine around the world.

“Come on, Mom. Let’s play. We’ve been munching grass all day. Come on, come on!”

Mama and foal

“Puh-lease let’s play! Please, please, please, please!

“Maybe if I crawl on your back, you’ll want to play!

“Wait! There’s someone over there. They’re watching us. Mommy, stand still. Let me hide. I am one with you.”

“We’re leaving? You’re not going without me! Let me walk in front of you—right under your feet.

“Well, okay. If we must. No playing? Maybe later? Huh, Mom? Maybe later? Mom? Mom? Mom?”

As Wynn and I drove away, the horses drifted south. I kept checking the rearview mirror until they were a distant dark smudge. Wynn turned on the music and again sang along.

We drove north amidst mustangs and music. I thought again of the poem:

I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.
I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to ALL
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.
-Author Patty Barnhart

Light ©Wynn Wink-Moran


The Poetry, Inspiration, and Beauty of Birds

Dawn ©Julie Morley

Instagram: @juliemorley

I woke one recent morning to discover a hummingbird had been named after me. My dear friend environmental educator, bird photographer, and author, Julie Morley, takes stunning photos of birds, conveying their beauty through her own incandescent spirit. A gift of beauty beyond words.

Julie wrote about the hummingbird she named for me, “Dawn rising. I took this photo just after dawn this morning. She reminded me of the sky and also of my friend named Dawn whose ability to rise above inspires me. Hummingbirds are tiny but also resilient. Their super powers amaze me. They are magic.

Photo and quote composition ©Julie Morley

Julie’s exquisite photos and poetic lens through which she lives and expresses the world never cease to brighten my day, to inspire and illuminate. Julie had no idea that hummingbirds hold an extra special place in my heart and world as they symbolize beauty and joy. I especially love that she named this bird after me, as her colors are the shades of the sky at sunrises and sunset. This resonates with powerful poignancy as I continue my healing journey.

I think of the global healing journey we all now find ourselves on. As we navigate this new terrain, I hope that Julie’s photos and words may inspire you and bring texture, life, and beauty to your day. 

“Happy Nanday parakeet flying through the tasty coral blossoms.”

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
― Robert Lynd

“Fairy Princess in her magical realm.”

“Once upon a time, when women were birds,
there was the simple understanding that
to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk
was to heal the world through joy.
The birds still remember
what we have forgotten,
that the world is meant to be
~Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

“Hawk beauty in eucalyptus.”

“Pearl grooming in the early morning. Hummingbirds have an oil gland in their back to shine up their feathers and keep them water resistant.” (Pearl is one of my favorites. She’s frequently featured in Julie’s work. I feel as if I know her!)

“Handsome Mr. Finch at sunset.”

“The unbearable cuteness of little Rufous. He was such a tiny fuzzball back then.”

“Peace to ALL.”

It is a joy to share the elegance and grace of the birds featured through Julie’s stunning photography. Wishing connection, relationship, and beauty to you.

Julie Morley is an environmental educator, author and speaker on complexity, consciousness, ecology and interspecies creativity. Julie’s book Future Sacred: The Connected Creativity of Nature combines cultural criticism, history, philosophy and complexity theory to describe a radical approach to rethinking our future.
I include here the most recent Dewdrops, as I experienced a bit of technical difficulties when published. Most of you did not receive, many of you received two times, and I know at least one person who received five times! Yikes. So sorry about that! I’ve been working with technical help and hope that we have now resolved. For those who did not receive, I really hope you do this time. For those who already received, please go back to the beauty of the birds!

Wild Waters, Langscape, and Stories About the Collective Human Experience

Birthday beauty.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you to all who reached out to connect on what’s been happening in my life. Each beautiful email, post, text, card lands in my heart in deep, profound ways. If I have not yet responded, please know how much you and your connecting means to me. I will respond. I am so grateful for our shared life paths. Writing that piece after months of holding, and your loving response, created slivers of peace absent before.

Wildly, just as I re-emerge into the world, our world is now self-isolating and retreating into itself. I hope this finds you and yours safe. In our family, kids are home, we are self-isolating, and working remotely.

I was delighted to receive an email from the editors of Terralingua‘s Langscape Magazine that they are now publishing pieces online with goal is to make their “digital repository of important stories about biocultural diversity freely available at this critical time in our collective human experience.” My article, “Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language” is now a part of those available collective human experiences.

Truth be told, I just love this piece. One of my favorites ever. Please find “Wild Waters”, and many more, here.

I am running again, which is a spirit saver. It is also when I compose many Dewdrops pieces. I am working on different pieces around cancer, COVID, teaching virtually, and Harry Potter. Will keep running and hopefully get those to you sooner, rather than later!

Much love,


Making videos for faculty and students.


Wild Waters, Langscape, and Stories About the Collective Human Experience

Birthday beauty.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you to all who reached out to connect on what’s been happening in my life. Each beautiful email, post, text, card lands in my heart in deep, profound ways. If I have not yet responded, please know how much you and your connecting means to me. I will respond. I am so grateful for our shared life paths. Writing that piece after months of holding, and your loving response, created slivers of peace absent before.

Wildly, just as I re-emerge into the world, our world is now self-isolating and retreating into itself. I hope this finds you and yours safe. In our family, kids are home, we are self-isolating, and working remotely.

I was delighted to receive an email from the editors of Terralingua‘s Langscape Magazine that they are now publishing pieces online with goal is to make their “digital repository of important stories about biocultural diversity freely available at this critical time in our collective human experience.” My article, “Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language” is now a part of those available collective human experiences.

Truth be told, I just love this piece. One of my favorites ever. Please find “Wild Waters”, and many more, here.

I am running again, which is a spirit saver. It is also when I compose many Dewdrops pieces. I am working on different pieces around cancer, COVID, teaching virtually, and Harry Potter. Will keep running and hopefully get those to you sooner, rather than later!

Much love,


                                        Making videos for faculty and students.