Howdy, y’all. My posting schedule has been hit-and-miss, I know. Looking back, I’ve been getting something new posted about every other week, but that trend will likely slow in the coming weeks.

I’m scheduled for a rotator-cuff surgery early next week. And, I’m assuming the recovery process will limit how often I can post. I’ll try using dictation tools, but my past experiences with them hasn’t given me much confidence that they’ll fill the gaps.

I’ve also been working through some weighty topics with my therapist. We’re digging through a lot of layers of ill-formed habits and ways of thinking.

I’m astonished at how deeply rooted some of these things are. It feels a bit like I’m sloughing off old habits—an older skin, you might say—and finding that the layers underneath are just more of the same.

I’m not sure if that means that I’m already fully embracing who I am, or if it indicates how much work I still need to do.

Either way, it’s a daunting, frustrating, exhilarating process. And I do mean it’s all of those things at the same time. I feel frustrated and sad about the root causes and how those behaviors and patterns of thinking have held me back.

But, I’m also learning that I’m stronger than I realized. And that makes me hopeful I can tap into that strength as I take more risks as a writer and citizen. I might even learn to like and respect myself soon.

That’s a helluva a statement for me to make about myself, believe me. I am ALWAYS my own worst critic and enemy. Always.

Okay, let’s move on to some lighter subjects.

I’m still toying with the idea of trying my hand at a horror story. I’ve shared with a couple of people Jen’s comments that I should try it, and they enthusiastically agreed.

I’m not sure if that means I have a darker side that I should tap into or if I just have surrounded myself with some fairly odd people. It’s likely a fairly large measure of both.

I picked this week’s photo because I tend to lean toward felid photos, and it’s not fair that I shortchange the Canidae family the way I do.

This is purportedly a photo of a pack of wolves. When looking for wolf photos, I found a LOT that I’m fairly sure were pictures of huskies or other wolflike breeds. Frankly, I blame TV and movies—along with cattle ranchers and over a century of wolf eradication—for making most of us unsure of what wolves actually look like or how they behave.

I chose wolves for this week’s photos due to their tight community bonds. I recently learned that wolf packs will adopt stray pups that aren’t related to them and raise them alongside their own pups.

The wolf pack’s focus on the wellbeing of the group, regardless of biological ties is something we might do well to emulate. It could help heal many of the sociopolitical issues we’re grappling with today.

Until next time, please take care of yourselves. Mask up, wash your hands, and find something that brings a smile to your face.

And if you have any streaming recommendations, must-read books or stories, please post them. I’m sure I won’t be tending my flowers or hunting fossils on my AC:NH island for a while, so I’ll need more reading and watching options. (Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash)

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