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by Shelby Edwards

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I’ve taken to writing the morning bird report. So far today it’s black-capped chickadees, junco’s, and barn swallows. The swallows just arrived a week or two ago and seem to delight in flashing down the tiny canyon created by the cut between my farm cottage and the sloping pasture above. They skim crazy close, just inches past my study windows. The eagles and the red-tail hawk usually show up around lunch on the thermals, but mornings are reserved for these small, noisy birds.

My day starts like this every day now. Up and out with the dog, maybe a walk through the wet pasture grass in the orchard, then in for the joy of the first contact high of fresh ground coffee and the few short steps to the desk.

Sometimes I’m lucky and the words are there and the hours fly, but regardless there’s always the desk and the work.

This was not my life a year ago. I came to Hedgebrook in March 2012, certain there had been some sort of mistake but thankful for a break from my corporate life and the time to work. My corporate mornings were rushed things, bleary-eyed in the dark, coffee in paper cups and days full of meetings and other people’s projects.

Coming to Hedgebrook, however, did something peculiar. The place and the company of writers, nudged my thinking about my own work in ways that rippled through everything.

My work shifted. By December, faced with yet another round of organizational complexity, I walked away from my corporate life. To write and do my own work and, hopefully, not to starve.

Hedgebrook didn’t do that exactly. But it did ring some sort of bell, lay down some new track, suggest a new way of moving forward.

In the journal up in Fir cottage I wrote that “Hedgebrook is cast magic made visible”. It is that, magic made visible. Magic that connects, that serves as an anchor when we doubt our work or struggle with getting what’s in our heads onto the page. When I waver, I remember Hedgebrook and the legacy, the community, it has made me part of and I press on with it.

I dream Technicolor pages now. Grateful for all of it.



IMG_7992-Web2Shelby Edwards lives on Vashon Island with her dog Tess surrounded by farmers, pods of Orcas, and very good coffee. She writes and works at ourdailytoast.com and is working on two books —Army Girl, a memoir, and The Business Guide to Death and Destruction, a non-fiction piece on corporate crisis management.







Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.

Shelby Edwards
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