Making Sense of It All

Kate/ November 10, 2016/ blog

The dogs are long gone, outrun and outsmarted.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
—Stephen Hawking

Things don’t always turn out the way we planned. And no matter how hard we worry, or try to prepare ourselves for the worst, worry is not control.

Feeling out of control can be scary, or it can be liberating, depending on whether we keep trying to regain control, or if we let it go.

When the world seems to be spinning out of my control, I retreat to nature. I lose myself in the woods, by the sea, in the mountains, wherever the creatures outnumber the people, and the wildness drowns out my noisy thoughts.

Sometimes it is enough just to know that the wilderness still exists. Other times I need to write down what I feel, and sketch what I see. When I do these things I am present in this moment–the only moment where I do have some control. Right now I can sit, I can stand, I can walk, I can breathe.

 This moment, this is a gift. It is life.

This weekend I’m heading to the Poconos for a few days with my loving husband and family. I’m gonna spend some time staring at the stars and the mountains.

You might try that too if you’re feeling out of control. A lake, a stream, a city park—any patch of nature will do. Find some wildlife and be an observer for a little while. See if you feel calmer as a result.

Maggie May climbing Mount Bierstadt with me. One of our last Rocky Mountain adventures before moving back to Pennsylvania. 2010

Above: Maggie May climbing Mount Bierstadt with me. One of our last Rocky Mountain adventures before moving back to Pennsylvania in 2010. Those mountains are still there, even though I can’t see them.

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About Kate

Kate Garchinsky illustrates and writes children’s books and educational media in her studio in the woodlands near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her debut picture book, The Secret Life of the Red Fox, written by acclaimed wildlife author, Laurence Pringle, received a starred review from School Library Journal. Kate Garchinsky received a grant from the Eckelberry Fellowship at the Academy of Natural Sciences, where she has been researching and illustrating extinction stories about North American birds such as the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet. Prior to creating children’s books, Kate designed lots of fun things like toys, birdbaths and trail maps. She lives with her husband Brian, Julia and Spencer the cats, and her one-eyed beagle, Maggie May. Kate recently signed on to illustrate two more “Secret Life” narrative non-fiction picture books with Boyds Mills Press—The Secret Life the Little Brown Bat (2018) and The Secret Life of the Skunk (2019). While drawing foxes and bats, Kate also began work on Belle’s Journey, a middle-grade non-fiction chapter book by ornithologist and osprey expert, Rob Bierregaard (Charlesbridge 2018). Get to know more about Kate Garchinsky at (aka