Stay Open To It All!

The title of this blog borrows from a poem in Space Between called “The Way.” It turns out to be good advice, especially when traveling.

Since my last blog I have been to Norway to see the Aurora Borealis and to Switzerland for skiing. We saw not a glimmer of green lights in the far north and had but two half-days of skiing out of a week in Switzerland due to wet snow and rain!

Had we stuck tenaciously to our goals both trips could have been sorely disappointing. As it was we had a glorious time with our friends on each adventure, enjoying local food and culture, and whatever caught our attention.

In Tromsö, north of the Arctic Circle, we nosed about in second hand stores and I found a winter parka that I love for only $45.00! (Yes, even Rockefellers love a bargain!) My friends gave me a strip of Swedish embroidered tape they had which another friend later sewed around the sleeves and bottom trim so it now looks like a $600 parka!

In Switzerland, when we weren’t getting lost along mountain meadows in a sudden burst of snow, or taking wrong turns down a mountain and having to skate ski 2 ½ miles on heavy downhill skis to the nearest operating lift, we visited the Gruyère cheese factory, and poked our heads into some art galleries.

One gallery was exhibiting the work of British photographer, David Yarrow, known for his conservation orientation in wildlife photography. My husband, Paul and our friends were immediately drawn to the central photo of the exhibit, called “78º North”. The emaciated polar bear in Svalbard, Norway, is moving away from the camera with its left hind foot raised just enough to expose the black pad and toe marks.

We stood before it and wept. The photograph is an iconic representation of the effects of climate change. It reminded us of why we’re trying through our philanthropic work to help transition the world to clean energy.


Happily we were able to buy the last copy.

By staying open to it all we found unexpected treasures that will have value outlasting a flash of green light or a perfect day of skiing.

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18 Responses to Stay Open To It All!

  1. Karen Bacon says:

    Love ❤️ your musings. Makes me feel like Grace Llyod is still here to make me laugh out loud. You have similar hilarious and joyful love of life, humorous insights and a folly is always transformed into a moment of jolly fun.

  2. Michael London says:

    We miss you guys . . .

  3. Steve Johnson says:

    What a special trip! Perhaps recommend Gruyere to our favorite cheese makers? But that poor bear. I pray we don’t live to see the day when its kin are to be found only in refrigerated zoos. Keep up your important energy work!

  4. joan says:

    Eileen . . . as you have now found, if we open ourselves to the larger world when we travel, our hearts become opened as well. While your foundation is focused on climate change – and that is so commendable – to actually see that our melting world is impacting so many wonderful living creatures makes the situation come front and center. The polar bear — such a beautiful and touching photo – told it all to me. It gives visual purpose to your own quest . . . and adds an extra bit of focus to your family work in this area.

    Your words bring the wonderful places you have only now explored so fully to life . . . you are a master writer and touching communicator, making us wish we had been along as well. So – along with your many other readers – I extend my warm thanks!

  5. Cath says:

    Love your recount of this trip. We have also found bits of fun, new friends, new realizations—by staying OPEN to it all—as we navigate the journey the calif wildfires have created for us. Lots of love to you and Paul

  6. Mac McConnell says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I chuckled when I read of your bargain parka, well recalling that it was your complaint concerning the cost of LP records that started our correspondence.

    Clean energy, of course, but there is a public cost, seldom mentioned, but which you will hear much more of in the future. Specifically, and obviously, solar panels and wind turbines MUST have a source of electricity as a back-up to cover electrical demand when the wind doesn’t blow, and the sun doesn’t shine. For the foreseeable future this means very large nuclear, gas, or coal power plants. BUT, no business can afford to build and/or maintain these plants if they are only going to sell electricity when it is required as back-up. This is going to be a very large public expense I seldom see considered.

    Cheers, Mac

  7. Phyll says:

    Poetic words, angelic thoughts. I, too, had to chuckle over the parka “bargain!” Will remember that next time I’m in a thrift shop (which is often!) Sounds like you made the best of some disappointing situations. Overall, it sounded like a nice trip with some light-hearted adventures. Glad you found one last print of the bear, too. Very sad situation—climate change–and sadder, still, that our president doesn’t recognize and DO something about it. Will you watch the State of the Union Address tonight? Now, THAT’LL be something to cry about! Let’s all encourage and support each other during these trying times. We need to feel solidarity—between ourselves, Nature, forests, waterways, flowers, fields, birdies, sea-life, our pets and animals all over the world and keep believing in a Higher Power who will comfort and help us all. Amen!

    • Dear Phyll, whatever we pray to, I agree we must pray. And in whatever ways we can act we have a duty to act, just as we have a duty to hope. Never lose hope. Love to you.

    • Hello Elaine! Thanks for your loyal communications. You have clearly had a life rich with intellectual and other adventures. Goodness, I had almost forgotten about Valentine’s Day! Thanks for reminding me!

  8. louisegil5 says:

    Dear Eileen–love your report on the recent adventures. I too found the photograph of the Polar Bear truly heartbreaking. Your description of finding the parka was a delight to read, so much so, that I want to see you in it—maybe your next blog. Belated good wishes to you and Paul for 2018!
    Love to you and Paul, Louise

    • Well that’s a fun idea! I’ll have to think about that one. I have another blog coming out this week but it won’t have my parka. I’ll have to use the parka as a Valentine! love to you!

  9. Hi Eileen,
    Trekking, skate skiing, going near enough to the the Arctic Circle gives me the chills… Your sense of adventure and spontaneous ins and outs are admirable. Paul, beside you, must have provided warmth and you, too, must have given him strength, as you forged on… I can not connect on the great adventures you tackle in your travels, even though, I was, once upon a time, a regular skiier, never missing a snowy weekend at Mt. Cranmore, diligent practiced skater and one who never pulled away from pretty embroidered ribbons. Well, I, always, owned the warmest parka and coats in winter. In fact my first pay check, after graduating from college went to buying a beautiful Antarctica coat. My sister joinned me in buying a coat at the chic Cambridge shop, too!! My volunteer efforts and work have included many worthwhile organizations–nice people. Art history courses at college stayed with me, as I toured museums all over the Europe and the states. Education. So, I believe in the added value of all the philanthropic work you and your family, foundation and friends take on. Philanthropy. Galleries, poetry, writing go a long way in relaying your message. Thank you. Wish I could have worked for/with you, too… Here comes Valentine’s Day– throw a kiss…

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