Discover more from Pass Along Songs
“Sometimes I wonder where we older women fit into the social scheme of things once nest building has lost its charm…Because our culture has assigned us no real role, we can make up our own. It is a good time to be a grown-up woman with individuality, strength and crotchets. We are wonderfully free.” ― Sue Hubbell, A Country Year - Living the Questions
Regular readers of this Substack will recognize a well-established theme in this post. Since starting Pass Along Songs in 2021, events have derailed, detoured, and reduced my life to a shadow of its former self. As difficult as those events have been (I’ll spare us both the replay), I’ve come to see them as gifts - really.
It turns out that shadows are actually doorways into kinder, more expansive realities if you have the courage and tenacity to walk through their moist and foggy tendrils. Shadow-fog makes it hard to see the world and others clearly. It dampens and distorts sound so you mishear, misunderstand, and lose your sense of direction. Worst of all, shadow-fog turns dreams into colorless ghosts of themselves.
Well, I’m not buying it. A colorless world is no way to live, and while I can be quite stubborn (some might say pigheaded), I eventually get the message. The way I was living wasn’t working. I was miserable. I was broke and still trying to do the “right thing” by applying to jobs I knew I’d hate. So what was the answer? What could I do that would support me physically and allow me to share my dreams with others?
It turns out the answer was right in front of me and has been all my life. I feel most alive and do my best work when I’m spending time with or around animals either in the ocean or with my bare feet planted firmly in the dirt. Animals are my touchstones. They allow me to slip the too-tight skin of my humanity and see the world through different eyes. They remind me that all lives have value, and for all our myopic self-absorption, homo sapiens are just one of the pack - part of a larger, interconnected, and interdependent web of life.
And so I’m taking my own best advice - chucking resumes, job boards, and skill assessments into the recycle bin - and making a hard left turn (cue arm signal) into a new adventure I’m calling, Whales in My Backyard.
The title is based on the nine years I spent in Hawaii where whales and other sea creatures living in the warm waters off the coast of Maui (less than a mile from my home) became both my playmates and my teachers. While I will be sharing my favorite stories from that time, I plan on including work by other writers, artists, and musicians as well as tales from life before and after Hawaii. Look for stories, illustrations, and musings on how the lives of animals of all kinds touch and impact our own. There’s also a strong possibility that poetry will be involved ;-)
My goal is to entertain, delight, and open doors to wonder - to remind us that love (not computer generated words or images) are the foundation of life on this planet, and we all have a vested interest in preserving and protecting it. Won’t you join me?
The Nuts and Bolts
Whales in My Backyard will be free to read but paid subscribers will also receive:
The audio versions of the each post (read by yours truly)
Pieces contributed by authors whose work I know and love
Access to “Wimby’s World,” a special stack devoted to kids*
Additional pieces (poems, drawings, quotes, and miscellaneous ramblings)
*As many of you know, I write books using the stories of animals to help kids develop the emotional skills (EQ) they need to become kind, empathic, and capable adults who will protect the planet. I want to make it possible for kids to enjoy and learn from Whales in My Backyard as well. When you see the image of Wimby (see below) that means another post by Wimby is available. The image will include a link.
2. To read a sample story and subscribe to Whales in My Backyard, visit:
If you are already a paid subscriber to Pass Along Songs, I will give you a free subscription to Whales in My Backyard for a month with my thanks for supporting me on my journey. Please drop me a line and let me know if you’d like me to add you: JenaBall@CritterKin.com.
P.S. Wimby and I will also cheerfully accept one-time donations. Just click on the donate button below to be taken to our PayPal page. Thank you!
If you would like to suggest a topic, share your own story, or suggest the name of an author you think would be a nice fit, please email me at JenaBall@CritterKin.com.
See you in my backyard!
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Copyright 2023 by Jena Ball. All Rights Reserved.