Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination

Rhythms, Intentions, and A lot of Smoke



Chile wreath from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

New year, new energy, new beginnings. Seasonal rhythms invite reflections on the past and visions for the future. Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry. Case in point—2020. Even in light of what is beyond our control, the new year brings opportunity to muse, plan, and focus intention on what we’d like to create and bring into being in the new year. This year finds me reflecting on learnings from the past and visions for the future, conveying these in word and image in my journal. I love learning of others’ creative and planning processes and share mine here, in case you may share this passion.

Energy and Intention

I am fairly protective about where I spend my energy and intention when it is within the realm of my control. There’s so much beyond our control that demands our energy, so I take the time and energy within my control seriously. I try my best to focus the time and energy that I have on people and projects that I love and on what I want to create in my life.

Key for my own energy and intentions are two essential rhythms of life— 1) waking early for solitude with candlelight, journal, and coffee in the morning, and 2) running. These are two foundational rhythms that I’ve discovered make a world of difference for all else.

All Wink Women in our family received this cup for Christmas. I saw and knew we had to have.

Intentions for 2021

Scribbled in prose, webs, and lists in my journals with intentions for 2021 include:

Gift from Luke. Perfect.

Dissertation: 2020 began with me still immersed in my breast cancer journey. Then came the pandemic and all three 20-something kids moved home. Gifts and challenges came with all. Once I was on the other side of the health intensity, what truly scared me was that between the breast cancer, the pandemic full house, and a overflowing work life due all happening in the field of education because of the pandemic, I found myself with no emotional energy or space for my dissertation.


I know what can happen here—this is how people do not finish. The thought of this scared me. So, in May, I decided that come-what-may I needed to throw myself back into the PhD journey. I sat down with my family to tell them of this, that I had to carve our time to focus on my dissertation. Somehow. I threw intention and energy toward this journey again, completed and defended my proposal (“Exploring Stories at the Intersection of Landscape and Linguistic Literatures through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination: A Narrative Inquiry”) and am now focused on my dissertation. My primary intention for 2021 is to complete my dissertation.

A few of the books lining my literary nest.

Reading widely and deeply: Like so many of us, I live surrounded by shelves and piles of books. My heart is content when nestled within a literary nest, both figurative and physical. Fiction and non-fiction line my nest. Through both my writing and academic lives, I organize these readings through bibliographies, papers, notes, publication, and journals. Another of my intentions for the upcoming year is to weave Goodreads back into my literary life. I am reading so many incredible books for my studies and diving into luscious fiction at night before bed, my intention is to engage with this reading community through books review on what I’m reading and learning more about what others are reading and recommend.

“Lift it up”: I am such a believer in this. I learned this lesson through life, especially those chapters of life that simply did not make any sense. For those events and chapters that no matter how hard I try, either don’t make sense or I cannot seem to make right, I’ve learned to tell myself to, “Lift it up.” I do this both literally and emotionally. I may be known along my running trails as the runner who out of nowhere often throws her arms up in the air. I’m okay with that. When my mind returns to difficult terrains, I do my best to “Lift it up,” and channel that negative energy into something positive. Again and again and again, until like a river bed, the re-directed waters form new paths.

We shall see what happens within the narrative arc of this year. Come what may, it feels good right now to both lift and ground myself in these intentions.

Smudging in the New Year with sage and intentions.

We brought last year to a close on New Year’s Eve by smudging with sage what we wanted to release from the past months and focusing our intentions and energy on what we want to bring into this year. A new tradition.

New Year’s Day, during my early morning solitude, I continued letting go and setting intentions with the sage smudge stick. I unwound the twine and allowed more oxygen into the bundle of sage. Over the course of the next hour, immersed in my thoughts and writing, my writing room filled with the purifying smoke. A LOT of purifying smoke, I suddenly realized.

I put the bundle outside in my kitchen garden, where it continued to smoke. I smudged all of our own home, as well most of the surrounding area. The pungent smoke hung in the air. I texted our neighbor to say, “When you step outside and wonder how you were suddenly transported to Woodstock, it is because I’ve been smudging over here. Smudging, not smoking!”

She wrote back, “We need all the smudging possible…good job.” Suffice it to say my writing room is now permanently purified, even after leaving the door open all day!

I stumbled across this poem and it resonates deeply. A gift.

i am running into a new year

by Lucille Clifton

i am running into a new year

and the old years blow back

like a wind

that i catch in my hair

like strong fingers like

all my old promises and it will be hard to let go

of what i said to myself

about myself

when i was sixteen and

twentysix and thirtysix

even thirtysix but

i am running into a new year

and i beg what i love and

i leave to forgive me


May you run into the New Year and may the full moon usher in your dreams.

Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination.

24 thoughts on “Rhythms, Intentions, and A lot of Smoke

  1. Happy New Year, Dawn,

    Your words carry the weight of reason, warmth and truth. Your descriptions of your life experiences are captured by authentic and “intentional” nudging by others encouraging you to be a part of their lives. I read your posts about beautiful sunsets, jogging trails and the clarity that these types of bumping-into-things brings and “smudges” on us all. Then I get inspired to live more fully, with my husband, three children, extended family and friends. You wrote about your books. Books. I am criticized so often for the number of books that I, too, hold near to my heart. You see, it took me decades to find pleasure in reading literature because I did not understand the full value that the stories of fiction or non-fiction could impress upon my life or intersect with my thoughts. I discovered Charles Dickens in English Literature class during my last semester of my senior year in high school and I became hooked on reading. Please keep writing and posting and giving to the world. The world needs your “rhythm” in it and will always be constantly inspired by what you seed into our hearts.


    • Dear Tara,

      Oh, your beautiful soul shines throughout all here, Tara. What a gift to read and feel your spirit and wisdom in all you write. Here’s to our books, books, and more books! I am so grateful to know that we share this passion. Thanks ever so much for sharing your literary journey to fiction and non-fiction. I’d love to talk books sometime. I am so very grateful our lives have connected. Such beauty in all you do.

      Love and hugs,

  2. Dear Dawn, Oh, dear lady, I can’t imagine how you manage to do all you do, and still find time…and energy…to write the beautiful things you share with all of us who love you and your messages. This piece is especially beautiful and meaningful. You bring to me advice…not intentionally, but lovingly…that I need to interject into my own life…so busy. Thank you once again for sharing the beauty of your thoughts, words, and actions, and I shall attempt to consider my OWN intentions. I pray that your medical issues are over, although I can only imagine how scary “over” can be. Also, I hope that you are able to find the energy to finish that dissertation. Prayers for you, dear Dawn.
    Much love and keep “Wink-ing” at all these challenges! Rhoda

    • Dear Rhoda,
      What a gift to receive your message, so full of heart and beauty. Thank you and thank you for taking the time to write and connect. Here’s to our sharing our journeys of intentions in 2021. Thanks ever so much for your good wishes! Yes, here’s to health and completing that dissertation! Thank you for your prayers. I believe in prayer. I could feel people praying for me during the height of the intensity and oh, what a difference that made. Deepest gratitude to you, dear Rhoda!
      Much love,

  3. Dear Dawn, wishing you much joy and peace and love for your life’s journey in 2021. May much good come to you. “May the full moon usher in your dreams.” Emanuel

    • Dear Emanuel, oh, how beautiful! Thank you and thank you for these good wishes. Sending wishes of light, peace, joy, and love to you and yours for this upcoming new year. Here’s to your dreams!

  4. Sending you love and light and all best wishes for your very best intentions. I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT! Cheers to yo in 2021. XOXOXO

  5. And THIS is why I love you so much. I swear I smelt that smudge all the way in Davis!

  6. Dearest Dawn, You are truly an inspiration in many ways. I am confidant you will “kill it” when it’s time to defend your dissertation. Three grown kids at home, what a blessing but hang in there!!! It’s time for me to make another smudge stick. I put a bit of juniper in mine so it burns better but it’s easy to over do it!

    Much love, Dan

    • Dearest Dan,
      I always so look forward to what you’ll write about each piece! Thank you so very much for taking the time. Thanks ever so much for connecting on all here—it’s been quite the journey that we’ve shared, hasn’t it? Juniper in the smudge stick – good to know. Especially, if it makes it easy to over do, since I apparently excel in that even without the juniper! I’ll keep a close eye on it this time.
      Much love to you,

  7. Thank you, Dawn! This was just the inspiration I needed to get off a very long space of…space. Have a wonderful new year!

    • Peggy, so very lovely to hear from you! I am grateful to know that this resonated amidst all of the…space. Oh, do I understand! A wonderful new year to you, as well!
      Much love,

  8. Happy New Year! I was just going over your presentation to LESC and the minutes about the need to more support and mentoring for teachers when your email came in. I know why you haven’t finished the big D – you are always giving to others. I am so glad that you are committed to giving time to your goals. I love your topic and think your insights are very important to share with the world. What a year you have had! I’ve had a broken ankle and heel for the past two months of 2020. Best to you and your family hunkering down, waiting for the opportunity to get vaccinated. Hopefully the world will get back to something resembling normal again sometime in 2021. Love you! Meredith Machen

    • Meredith, thank you so very much for reading and taking the time to connect on all here. Means so very much to me coming from you. I am sorry hear of your health challenges this year — let 2021 be a year of healing! I love my topic, too. So very grateful to share with you. So much love to you! Dawn

  9. Beautiful writing, as always. I wish you all the best for finishing your PhD! Good health and much love to you all.

  10. Hey Dawn! Glad you posted your blog via LinkedIn, so I am back on your list! Sorry to hear about your breast cancer, glad you’re on the other side.

    Five weeks since my hasty move to the endless suburbia of Orange County, California (Bleah!) to become a chauffeur/caretaker/personal assistant for my widowed, elderly father (no regrets, there). He suggested we summer in Santa Fe. Not sure the pandemic will recede soon enough for this year, but next year looks good! Will definately be tromping around town and campus – and we can get together!

    • Hey, Patty!
      So wonderful to hear from you and I am grateful that we are connected once again! I’m glad to know of the latest chapter in your life adventure. Wonderful that you’ll be headed back to Santa Fe for the summers! Yes, would love to get together when you’re back this way!

  11. Happy New Year! Thank you for your inspiration.

  12. Enjoyed the latest Dewdrops. Think of you and your mom and what is ahead for you, medically. It has been 45 yrs since my mastectomy and 2 yrs of chemo. Thought I wouldn’t get through the 2 yrs but I DID!!!

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    • Sharon, thanks ever so much for taking the time to connect here on all. Wow – what a journey and what a reflection of your courage and strength! Much love to you!

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