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Hello! My name is Candace, and I'm a sketch artist with a passion for helping you connect with the world through art. Pull out your sketchbook and watercolors and find your favorite view — I'm glad you're here!

“Those days, like today, I walk with a purpose but no destination…Today it is enough to make a shadow.”

— Gretel Ehrlich

I first discovered the author and poet Gretel Ehrlich in 2012.

After finishing her poignant book, The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold, I moved on to Islands, the Universe, Home, which contained a passage I remember to this day:

Some days I think this one place isn’t enough. That’s when nothing is enough, when I want to live multiple lives and have the know-how and guts to love without limits. Those days, like today, I walk with a purpose but no destination. Only then do I see, at least momentarily, that most everything is here. To my left a towering cottonwood is lunatic with bird song. Under it, I’m a listening post while its great, gray trunk—like a baton—heaves its green symphony into the air.

I walk and walk, from the falls over Grouse Hill, to the dry wash. Today it is enough to make a shadow.

For some reason, that last sentence especially struck me. I’ll confess to you that being present in the here and now, and mining each moment for the simple riches it contains, doesn’t always come easy to me. And so the way that Gretel put it—Today it is enough to make a shadow—presented me with a new way of expressing our gratitude at the end of a day: No matter the challenges it might’ve held, or the many directions our minds might’ve gone in, what about each day was enough?

* * *

Ever since reading that passage, I’ve ended many a journal entry with the words, “Today it is enough to…”

In 2014, when I was living in a yurt on Canada’s Salt Spring Island, I once set out on an afternoon walk and came across a man playing a long silver whistle as he walked towards me from the other direction. When we passed each other, he pulled the whistle away from his mouth and smiled.

“What would you call that?” I asked him. “A recorder?”

“I think it’s called a penny whistle, or maybe a tin whistle.”

“Well, it sounds lovely,” I said. “Keep it up.”

As he kept walking, filling the air with his simple melody, I silently thanked Gretel Ehrlich for giving me a way to frame what that moment had meant to me:

Today it is enough to hear a penny whistle sing as I walk.

Handwritten journal notes

An excerpt from my journal on the day I crossed paths with the penny whistler.

* * *

I thought of Gretel’s line again just a few months ago, when my surprise voyage on the Skydancer delivered me to the Norwegian city of Tromsø. I knew little about Tromsø when we arrived, and I shared this with my friend Nick.

“Let’s see,” Nick said, thinking for a moment. “It’s the fifth largest city in Norway—about 75,000 people. It’s called the Paris of the North, because it has so many cafés and restaurants, and it’s also called the Gateway to the Arctic. It doesn’t sound like a big city, but it will feel like one after Lofoten.”

I had the whole day to see Tromsø, before catching a ferry back to the Lofoten Islands that night. In between wandering its pretty streets and eating a picnic lunch at the historic site of Skansen, my favorite hours were spent sketching a wooden church in the center of the city—or what I would later learn is the Tromsø Cathedral, no less, and the only Norwegian cathedral made of wood.

As I sat and sketched from my perch on the cold sidewalk, I loved looking up at the cathedral’s turquoise steeple; keeping time by the clocks on its churchtower; and—most of all—thinking once again of my favorite equation for enoughness, as I even wrote on the sketch itself that afternoon:

Today, it is enough to be in a new city above the Arctic Circle.

Sketch of Tromsø Norway

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  • manalika

    Hello again Candace. It wasn’t hyperlinked so I’m not sure if there’s a previous post on it, but I was wondering – when and how was it that you came to live in a yurt in Canada? As you can probably guess by now, I’m a subscriber, and love your writing and your sketches!

    • Thank you so much for asking, Manalika! You know, I came very close to linking to a story about living in the yurt, but didn’t want to put too many links into this post 🙂 I’ve just added a link now to the first story and set of sketches I wrote about the yurt, and there’s a few more on the site as well–if you look at the archives for March-May 2014! I absolutely loved the experience and wrote quite a lot about it while I was there, so I really hope you enjoy the stories. Thank you again for reading and saying hello–it’s great to connect with you 🙂

  • Nancy Bardos

    What a great sketch, Candace. And lovely that you shared Ehrlich’s passage. Isn’t it something to discover such a gem, not only to read but to start living it? I have to admit I nearly swooned reading “…..while its great, gray trunk…like a baton…heaves its green symphony into the air.” Looking forward to your future posts, as always.

    • It’s wonderful to hear from you here, Nancy! And if I’m not mistaken, I get to wish you a very happy birthday today as well 🙂 I’m so happy that Ehrlich’s passage resonated with you, and I know exactly what you mean about how such a line can really become a part of your daily practice in life. Thank you so much again for your note, and know I’m sending the biggest birthday blessings your way for the year ahead!

  • Kathe Byrne

    Love , love , love!!! Will do this!

  • Roberta Charles

    A simply beautiful sketch Candace and I loved the accompanying story as well. I make reference to your mention of your living in a yurt in Canada in 2014 and was wondering if you have ever had the chance to get or see the DVD of “The Weeping Camel” that I had suggested to you at the time. You were so entranced with living in a yurt and the DVD was a story of yurt living in Mongolia & had everything in it but the smells. Was just wondering…you have been to so many different places since then. Glad you got to see the Northern Lights, they are so spectacular, so sky and heart filling. Looking forward to more sketches and tales.

    • Thank you so much for your note here, Roberta! And thank you as well for reminding me about “The Weeping Camel,” which I definitely remember you suggesting…I’m now at home in Virginia for the summer, and will be sure to finally watch that! It sounds fascinating, and will no doubt have me pining for the yurt life all over again 🙂 And “sky and heart filling” truly is the perfect way to describe witnessing the Northern Lights–I would love to hear about your own experience of seeing them!

  • Sunny Christian

    lovely, just lovely. lovely account of your excursion, lovely lovely sketch. bless you

    • I can’t thank you enough for your kind words here, Sunny–so happy you enjoyed the sketch and story! Blessings to you as well 🙂

  • As always, your thoughtful story brings me back to the sweet, simple truths of life. Funny how you and I always run in such parallel ways, because I myself have been doing a lot of thinking, reading, and writing about gratitude lately! I will use the phrase “Today it is enough…” as an exercise in gratitude, now, too! Thank you for that, and thank you for a new book recommendation through your fabulous quote! Best wishes!

  • Thank you for your lovely story, Candace and the beautiful quote from Gretel Ehrlich. I too am learning to be grateful and the phrase ‘Today it is enough to…’ is a beautiful way to remind us to appreciate the simple things and to live in the present. I will be using it from now on. Thank you for sharing, for your fabulous sketches and for the new book for my reading list.

  • Thank you Candace, always love your posts and sketchs because they remind me of what really matters in life. I’ve been meaning to get into watercolors for a few years now but still haven’t done it. Do you have any good websites or books to recommend for beginners? Would love to do what you’re doing one day!

  • aswin

    Beautiful!
    Being an aspiring photographer and writer, I really admire you Candace, albeit with a considerable amount of envy! 😀
    Would love to interview(a chat 🙂 ) you someday!