Thursday, March 9, 2017

Wall of Friends

This post is a bit personal and not the kind of thing I general put online. But I would like to say this to a lot of people publicly. Some of you may, or very well may not, know that aside from living in a tiny house and taking photos of wildlife, the things I usually post, I have a personal life.

And that my personal (mental, emotional, and spiritual) life has pretty much been a disaster for about 4 years now. It started out as a problem between me and God, but left me so shattered that I pretty much dropped my whole life as I'd known it. Quit a job I had loved, stopped hosting a steady stream of couch surfers, no longer invited half the town over for big dinner parties, quit skiing and climbing, etc. The main effect however was that I dropped most relationships with people. Friends and family. I totally get it if people do not understand, this many years later, that it had absolutely nothing to do with any person, including any of you. The problems was simply a total loss of my foundation for how to live. And this made me feel unable to deal with or relate to life in general, as well as all the people in my life. I am sorry that I just dropped so many things, activities, and people with no explanation, but I don't think I was capable of doing anything else. Again, this had nothing to do with anyone except me and my inability to deal with or for the most part, even try to explain what was going on for me. Tiny houses and nature actually provided a bit of an escape from what was really going on inside. But I was just barely hanging on.

Then this past fall came a further crushing blow. This time it did have to do with a person, but no one referenced here. I almost didn't make it. And I mean that very literally. For about five months I was simply frozen in shock. You know the feeling you get if you've ever had a car wreck and every happens so fast, is so unexpected, and so startling, that your mind is kind of hazy about what even happened exactly? Like everything is kind of foggy and you feel frozen? That kind of shock is I think what I spent all those months living in. Trying to move forward felt like tiptoeing across really thin ice over a very deep and dark lake. But the ice was so thin that any movement at all sent me crashing back through and helplessly under all that cold dark water. I am here today only because of a few people who repeatedly jumped in and pulled me back out. I realize at great cost to themselves. As well as the support, which I only pursued at the repeated insistence of one of those rescuers, of my naturopath and his skill at helping support my now many years depleted brain chemistry. Hence allowing my mind to try to function again.

The ice is getting thicker. The cold dark lake has not gone anywhere, but I am gradually becoming more able to move without falling in. This is a very slow process and many days I don't know if I'll ever get off the lake. But after feeling bad for years now about all the relationships I simply dropped, I finally feel strong enough to at least try to say to you all that it had nothing to do with any of you. I'm very sorry if anyone thought that it did because of my years with no explanation.

I also wanted to thank each and every one of you. The people who kept pursuing me even if you had no idea what was going on. The people who called, invited me places, and sent me cards and letters despite being ignored by me. The few people who were close enough to see me drowning and who jumped in to pull me out again and again. My inability to respond does not mean that I didn't notice. I'm trying to go on. Many days this is almost more than I can do. I am not asking for anything further from you all, but just wanting to let you all know how very much it has meant to me that I do have amazingly good caring friends. People who came out of the woodwork who I never dreamed would have cared for me. I'm not asking for any response to all this. There are still days and weeks where I don't feel up to talking to or hanging out with people. So there's a very good chance if you try to contact me, you will not get a response.

However, this week I put up a "Wall Of Friends" at my house. You are certainly not all pictured there. Some of you I don't have pictures of or with. Some of you are not even online. Some names I'm sure I've missed. But from the bottom of whatever remains of my heart, I want to thank each one of you for everything you have done! Please know that if someone is struggling, they do feel your care and concern even if they can't respond. My wall of friends is there to remind me of that all your caring thoughtfulness. Thank you.


Some not pictured or not-on-FB-to-tag folks who I'd also like to thank if any of them see this: Dot Frey, Arthur Auker, Chris Marcum, Aunt Lois Trostle, Nittavone Herr, Elaine Meyers, Greg Orr, Michael Enright, Susan McGlothin, Jesse Wright, Jimmy and Grace Anderson, Karina Walters, Ian Barwell, Lydia Graves, Sasha Izard, Sara Mumma, Joy and Dicky Lundeen, Jason Desrosiers, Danny Bement, Krista Nethercott, Mori Bergmeyer, Amanda Edmunson, and Shawn Lovell.


  1. Some one wise once said "Be kind to everyone because we are all fighting some kind of battle'' Where do we turn when the enemy appears to be ourself? Tough days weeks months years and moments sometimes its a struggle to face the next minute. Been there, lived there,existed there for a long time, thankfully no longer but their are times when the echoes of those feelings beckons you just have to look back and say no thanks I have been their and you don't serve me any more.
    Prayer helps. He always answers its just that we are not listening.

  2. I hope and pray that you find your way back! :-)

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  4. Just commented on the Fy Nyth blogspot and noticed this one. Thank you for sharing what you shared in this post. I find both blogs, your images and your videos hopeful, inspiring and reminding me that there is beauty in the world - no matter what.

  5. Thanks for sharing that. Ariel. It takes tremendous courage to deal with the emotional scars of life, rather than simply ignoring them, clicking your heels, and "hoping for the best".

    Sometimes isolation and being an emotional hermit is the way the soul replenished itself.

    Pray. Keep the faith. He knows the plans he has for you.


  6. wow - wow -i mean seriously wow!1 . what a great example of the falicy of social media and even the more personal "blogosphere" - wow - wow - wow - your site was on my radar because I am mapping trips for my wife and maybe grown kids - if they have time - and WY is on our list - I emailed you aksing personal questions about locations and land and rent.. etc - but wow - if I had not search this one more Googled your name I would never had a clue that your life was nothing but just plain awesomely going the way you wished it to - not that it is not - but I am certain in your ideal world "dropping relationships (although sometimes some need to be cast aside because they are toxic - we can only be "little godlike"reenactors because we are not he..) struggling with "thin ice" the sense of crumbling or struggle, disaster and all the other words we might use when we find ourselves burdened, not being our best self, struggling to wake and move - BECAUSE - your pictures are beautiful and little to no mention of personal struggles - even as an art source the photos do not depict struggle or emotional battles - they are for lack of better phrasiology - very Martha Stewarty - this is in no way an intended insult - the photographers there are top notch because they take us away from our concrete surroundings and allow us to imagine something different - but unlike paint - we do not sense your struggle - hence the Social media referenece - all forget that the instagram, Fb, Snap is just that - a snap - the balance of the waking day is sometimes nowhere to to be seen and boy was I surprised by this entry - i wish nothing but good things, be they happiness, god, pleasure and no struggles - but such is life - isn't it - we are very much like an ocean with tides - waves are present always - some large some small - so make us get out of the water and wait, reassess before we enter again - good luck and if you have a chance please answer my email - and here is a thought for you - because it is not original but having grown in PA what appears to be an Amish upbringing, menonite perhaps (these are not mutally exclusive are they?) . perhaps a small amazon book is in your future on kitchen survival skills - guaranteed - 90% of amereican families have no clue how to preserve meat, fruit or veggies - - yes lots of books on the subject but from single, tiny living young lady not quite 30 having learned from generational experience - i suspect you can make it interesting - (my finders fee is 15% - -:) . )

  7. Wow. You have described depression very well. The thin ice, the drowning, the barely hanging on, the withdrawing from people. I, too, have struggled with life. But I hide it well, from everyone but myself. Some days I see a very distant ray of hope but many other days I'm alone on the thin ice, not knowing if I have enough strength left to make it to shore. Thanks for sharing your struggles. I know it was difficult to share. It let me know I'm not alone out on the ice. I mainly watch your YouTube videos. I'm new to the blog and how it works. You mentioned a naturopath and brain chemistry. I'd be very interested in how to improve my brain. For many years, I have avoided using chemicals (cleaners, perfumes, scented candles). I feel like I'm the canary in the mine, who is effected by the negative things earlier than others. I feel like my brain has become a sieve, full of holes and can't retain things. It is very scary. If you are looking for video topics, maybe talk about brain foods. I especially enjoy your cooking videos. I have zero skills in the kitchen and am the opposite from you. I MUST use a recipe (I REALLY appreciate it when you put the recipe in the description!) and I never have people over because I'm a horrible cook. I greatly admire your skills. I'll stop rambling now. Thanks for all the videos and blog posts. They are a blessing to me and many others. I wish you all the best.

  8. Dear Ariel, you remind me so much of darling little house sparrow. Like a sparrow you are small and delicate, sweetly flitting among your daily chores. However this belies your very sturdy and determined constitution. The house sparrows that live near my home do not migrate south when the weather becomes cold, dark and ugly. They hunker down and patiently wait out the hard winter months, knowing that the warmth of summer's sunshine will surely follow.

    I am so sorry that you must endure this dark night of the soul; that is what St. Terese of Lisieux called such feelings. I have no wisdom to offer you other than the assurance that you are not alone and that the sun. You will have no need to hope for a thickening of that ice on that cold dark lake, but you will surely swim and frolic in its warm waters under the summer sunshine.

    You are such a strong, intelligent and confident person, I know this time will pass for you just as the seasons pass from one season to the next. When that time comes the joy you will feel will be so much deeper because you have also come to know the very depth of sadness. For it is impossible to know joy without also understanding despair.

    I suspect you have many people in your life who love and care very deeply for you and you have no need for the support a faceless stranger who happen to stumble on this post after having enjoyed you YouTube videos. But know that there are people like me that care about you and wish you all the best. A Wisconsin Farm wife and mother, Anne

  9. Know that you are thought of in a very dear and caring way. Rimona from northern California

  10. Hi, I left a comment on your vlog mentioning places I don't particularly want to go. That was before I read this post. I also am surprised with this info. I have been battling my own foes for many years. Recently, my war has been losing ground. I'm working on it but is quite a struggle. Amazingly, having discovered you I have new found faith. Thank you. I'm not much of a people person although most of my past employment has been in the service industry. I keep to myself because I have not found true friends that I care to be around. I'm enjoying your blog now. I have one but haven't written I'm it for some time.(realmoftheeighty) should get you to my spot. Kinda gives a preview of me. I don't know why I'm wasting your time as I realize you are probably not looking for any friends but again, when I discovered you I got an awesome feeling we could be good friends. Thanks for reading, if you did. Hopefully a friendship can be hewn from a dark yet beautiful Forrest. Rick.