10.16.17 To All Things a Season

Marsh 790 xxx
photos by george billard

To everything there is a season...whether you know these words from Ecclesiastes or from Pete Seeger's song recorded by The Byrds, I'm sure you understand the underlying meaning. Everything happens in its own time. Change is the one constant and we ride it like a wave, knowing that it's taking us somewhere—always forward, though sometimes it doesn't feel that way. As we evolve, parts of us die and fall away; new parts unfurl and bloom. This is the cycle, the journey of life. And so it has come to pass that this is my last post on Glutton for Life. Even as I write that, I feel resistance, reluctance, sadness...but I know it's the right thing for me at this time. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Witch hazel 790 xxx
witch hazel blooms in the cold

When I launched this blog in 2010, I wrote early on that I was grateful "for the adversity that shows me I am strong; for the work that connects me to my passion; for the love that sustains me; for the joy of living that I can share with all of you," and all that remains entirely true. But the longer I have lived in nature, the more its rhythms have connected me to my own and the more I long to immerse myself in its mysteries.

Milkweed 790 xxx
milkweed pods release gossamer seeds

That's how I came to launch The Outside Institute this spring. My mission is to connect people to the healing and transformative powers of nature. I hope that by nurturing our innate affinity for the natural world, I can inspire joy and passionate stewardship of the land. Of course, I have not lost my interest in all things delicious and they still play a part in my new venture. Whether I'm creating a trail snack, picnic or feast, I continue to celebrate seasonal ingredients from local farms, my own garden and further afield. In addition to leading hikes, I host workshops on topics ranging from birdwatching to mushroom identification to natural dyes to cocktail mixology. Here is an opportunity for us to come together face to face, in real life, in real time and space. Our calendar of events updates regularly and can be found here. I hope you'll join me sometime.

Fern 790 xxx
hay-scented ferns in transition

My plan is to create updated content on The Outside Institute's website, under the Field Notes section. It's in its nascent stages at the moment, but I envision it will include recipes as well as explorations of natural phenomena. If you've enjoyed Glutton for Life, it will be an extension and evolution of some of the same themes. I invite you to sign up to be on my email list (scroll down on this page) if you'd like to receive updates. I'm also on Facebook and Instagram as The Outside Institute. But if this is where we part ways, I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks for your presence here. You may return here whenever you like, as the site will stay up and my extensive recipe archive will remain at your disposal.

Puffball 790 xxx
my gift to you

This space—and your support, input and compassion—allowed me to express myself, to experiment, celebrate, philosophize, reminisce, vent, despair, regroup and move on. In this intangible yet entirely real relationship, we have forged a bond and I will miss that connection. But it has also helped me grow and evolve (just check out some of those early attempts at photography!) and I must follow the path off these pages and into the wild. I leave you with my love, with my wish that you will remain a glutton for all the good things in life and with this beautiful poem...


Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver


You do not have to be good

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees.

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.




I'm so sad to read this but understand and applaud your decision which I imagine was not easy. I promise to still follow you on The Outside Institute--wishing you only good things. xxoo nikki
Nikki Wargo on October 16, 2017 at 10:07 am —
Thank you for being with me from the start, Nikki! xoxo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:55 am —
Congratulations. Changing ones way in life is difficult confusing and courageous. I admire you for the decision. Selfish of me to ask, will gluttonforlife still exist or should I print out all the recipes that I use and love. Thanks for giving so much of yourself to me and the world Janet
Janet on October 16, 2017 at 10:18 am —
Thank you, Janet! Yes, as mentioned above, the site will remain up, so you can still access the recipe archive. xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:55 am —
Laura - I've really loved Glutton for Life, and I will miss it. But I'll continue with Field Notes to stay in touch. Abrazos.
judy blankenship on October 16, 2017 at 10:23 am —
Thank you, Judy! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:56 am —
I am going to miss you. I have followed you for quite a few years and enjoyed your insights and wisdom, thank you for that. Your friend from Denmark
Rita Breum on October 16, 2017 at 10:58 am —
I really appreciate your support, Rita! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:56 am —
You are a remarkable woman and I look forward to whatever comes next. Much Love, G
George Billard on October 16, 2017 at 11:00 am —
I love you xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:56 am —
Deer Laurs, I'm part Canadian goose. Have enjoyed following your amazing blog and applaud your migration into the Outside Institute!!!!! Best wishes Charlotte
Charlotte McKeough on October 16, 2017 at 11:03 am —
Thanks, Charlotte! Hoping for a smooth flight...xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:57 am —
Laura - I have loved every single post. I'm lucky in that I don't have to go a single day without your wry but sweet humor 'cause I insist on being your BFF. I hope you will collect all of your writing into a book or e-book and put me down for the first copy. I will miss it but I love TOI also!!! Hope to join you Outside as soon as possible!! Love, -Mirena
Mirena on October 16, 2017 at 11:18 am —
Don't know where I'd be without you xoxoxoxo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:57 am —
Laura, thank you so much for your beautiful words, gorgeous images, delicious insights and wonderful touching perspective on things. You have been a real inspiration for us over the years. I think we are all looking toward other paths and projects. May this be a time of renewal and rebirth as we take the next new steps. Thank you again.
Rob on October 16, 2017 at 11:23 am —
You and David have inspired me so much! I still look forward to a real-life reunion. xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 11:58 am —
You are a wild goose...harsh and exciting.
Steve burnett on October 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm —
Takes one to know one xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm —
Well said, Laura. How wonderful to remind us all (in your forward action and Mary Oliver's words) that we need to let go of some things and pivot to new adventures. And embrace the moment on this planet that our lives represent. I will look forward to seeing your lovely pictures and tales of activity along the Upper Delaware, from my rainy winter Portlandia perch.
Chris Beck on October 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm —
Hope to see you in these parts sooner than later, Chris! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 2:33 pm —
windows closing = doors opening love you xo
stephanie on October 16, 2017 at 1:38 pm —
Your continued support means everything xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm —
Dear Laura, Congratulations for moving forward, but I will miss this site more since there are a lot of memories with you guys I spent around here and your great recipes!! Thanks again for our friendship and more to come.
Tomo Makiura on October 16, 2017 at 2:16 pm —
The recipes live on - and, yes, more to come!! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm —
Jumping from bird to bird - what a beautiful, gracious, uplifting swan song, Laura. For all that you have shared and done, for all that you are sharing and doing, and for all the personal and altruistic reasons why, thank you. I am but one of many who admire your authenticity, tenacity, creativity, and imagination. Being invited to witness and participate in your evolutionary process and ever-deepening relationship with nature is an incredibly valuable and inspirational gift. Always, S
Susan on October 16, 2017 at 5:05 pm —
Such lovely words, my dear friend. I long for another visit with you! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm —
So sorry to see you go, but I so understand---Your work is wonderful and I hope to see more of it. Best, E.
Elissa on October 16, 2017 at 5:19 pm —
That means a great deal coming from you! xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 5:40 pm —
I'm sad....I just discovered you recently. Will I be able to save your recipes? I wish you so much peace and happiness !
annie kolpin on October 16, 2017 at 6:23 pm —
Yes, the entire site, including the recipe archive, will stay up! (You can read backwards!) x0
laura on October 16, 2017 at 7:49 pm —
When Rob told me this morning that you were closing the blog, it felt like he had shot an arrow through my heart. No. Not Laura, I said. I had coincidentally been reading a post from a Montreal blogger about the paucity of good food writing online, and reflecting on what to do with our own blog, already brought back from the dead once, and on life support since last year. I think blogging had its time, and you did the medium brilliant, meaningful, heartfelt justice. You've been a consistent inspiration and motivation, and I'll miss catching up with you on Sunday afternoons while skimming chicken stock. So on one hand I'm sad and want to hold on, and on the other I'm brimming with admiration for your courage and grace. The world doesn't need food blogs anymore, and it desperately needs the Outside Institute. And examples of artists who evolve and take risks and tell the heart-wrenching truth. Laura, thou hast cleft my heart in twain. (And you know what nature does when things are cleft in twain.) Thank you. So much love. David
David on October 16, 2017 at 7:59 pm —
It's been a time, hasn't it? Many shared moments from afar. Very grateful for your encouragement and certain we'll connect elsewhere. Love to you both xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm —
Dearest Laura, I'll miss the Glutton (and dreaming about things I'll never actually cook), but very happy for you and can't wait until I can actually come to experience the Outdoor Institute. Congratulations! xxoo
Karen on October 16, 2017 at 8:59 pm —
Ch-ch-ch-changes! One more in a long line of them for us both. xo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 9:20 pm —
What a beautiful evolution and exciting change. I am sad for my own self as it's the season of slowing down, however the reality is the evolution of life and the many dreams included on this curious journey. Fly on my amazing friend. xxx
pamela mayer on October 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm —
Plenty for us to share still (and the recipes live on!) xoxo
laura on October 16, 2017 at 9:20 pm —
Reading this caused me to ramble through your archives and to realize what good stuff is still to be gathered there, Laura. Shining your light in new directions will illuminate even more of the world. Relish the journey!
Sandy Long on October 16, 2017 at 10:27 pm —
Thank you so much, Sandy! It's amazing how much accumulates after 8 years...
laura on October 17, 2017 at 11:46 am —
Can't wait to see what comes next! Please continue to share your writing. It is wonderful! Much luck in this moment of transition! xoxnatascha
natascha on October 17, 2017 at 10:01 am —
It's all about The Outside Institute for me now - and, yes, I will never stop writing! xo
laura on October 17, 2017 at 11:46 am —
Warmest congratulations on navigating this shift, as usual elegantly and openly and with a keen and generous eye for truth and beauty. I'd follow you anywhere!
Janet on October 17, 2017 at 10:28 am —
Thank you, comadre! xo
laura on October 17, 2017 at 11:47 am —
Happy trails to you!
thefolia on October 17, 2017 at 10:14 pm —
My current refrain! xo
laura on October 18, 2017 at 7:15 am —
sad...but transformative...transforming.. outside in perhaps? Enjoying watching the current chapter, looking forward to the next,.
Bil Lutz on October 17, 2017 at 11:06 pm —
Precisely! Stay tuned for more on that theme. xo
laura on October 18, 2017 at 7:16 am —
I'll regret my visits here but I understand. I'm in the mists of a life change as well. It so happens that as I step towards cooking you skip away. Maybe I'll skip after you again someday? Best of luck on your new adventures! Sarah Rose
alwayshungry on October 18, 2017 at 1:22 am —
Thank you - to you, too! xo
laura on October 18, 2017 at 7:16 am —
This has been an incredibly beautiful place to visit. Thank you for sharing such beauty in this work and this pleasure. I am honored to be a stalwart supporter of The Outside Institute and cannot wish you enough grace, strength, luck, and joy in pursuing the creation of your phenomenal self to star with us all. With great respect and love, Sara
Sara Seinberg on October 18, 2017 at 9:30 am —
I share any glory with you. xo
laura on October 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm —
I think I've been reading from the start! I've loved your blog and will be sad to see you go, but excited for your new endeavour!
carolbaby on October 20, 2017 at 3:24 am —
Thank you for your loyal support! Onward and upward...xo
laura on October 20, 2017 at 7:53 am —