Nourishment of All Sorts

It takes courage to say yes to rest and play, in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol. ~ Brené Brown

1. A little escape into nature

During this summer break, I stuffed a rucksack with essentials and headed for the trails. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed to unplug, literally, from days of Zoom. One of the greatest rewards was this swan family. A swan, in the wild, seldom comes this close to humans but this family kept us company, gliding to and fro our camp all the time we were there.

2. “The things I want to know are in books…”

And that’s why I always make time to read. I set my reading goal for summer at five books. But I’ve already covered eight, and without counting poetry chapbooks from small presses. I’ve also reached my entire year reading goal on Goodreads but I ain’t stopping now. Anyway, one of the books I read is by H. Henneburg. My conversation with this amazing poet is coming up, in due course.

3. A small can of paint can do wonders

There’s been a whole lot of talk about baking during this pandemic. I confess, I’m not much of a baker. I simply don’t have the patience for it. But one way I destress is with a can of paint and brush. I just love painting. In fact, I’m that kind of friend who is always willing to help you paint your walls. 🙂 So, I’ve also been busy painting garden furniture anew.

4. What I’m listening to, right now?

Neo-Soul. I’ve been particularly listening to Maxwell, of late. Flashbacks of friendships, places and activities linked to his music from a different stage of my life have inspired some writing. Time will tell if these autobiographical memories are rich and textured enough to share.

5. The art of dining well

…and keeping good company. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to spend time with friends. In keeping with my travel reads, I tried some new dishes. By the way, if you’d like to try out some African cuisine, you can peruse Sophie’s rich recipe index from A Kitchen in Uganda. And if you are health conscious, Jan at The Low Carb Diabetic is got you covered. Please visit these blogs, you’ll learn more than just an ingredients list!

Now over to you, what creative outlets do you enjoy as a way of rest and play?

Occasionally, I share five random things I’m reading, watching, doing, listening or thinking about. I love hearing about your days, too.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. I love how you’re finding ways to stay peaceful and centered, Khaya. Nature, crafts, good food, music, books – what a wonderful recipe for getting through these troubled times. <3

  2. Great post. I do like some neo-soul music from time to time. Good on you for your reading goals. I did a bunch of writing and have been editing the new books I wrote in the Hollanduscosm.

    Hope you’re well!

  3. I read so much during the lock-down but now that restrictions have been eased a bit and I’m back at work, well, fatigue has set in. 🙂 How I wish I could write and write and write. I’m sort of drifting with the tide toll I get my muse back.

    Baking? My favourite. I love baking but no more do I bake. Not even for the boys. I don’t want to be tempted. 🙂

  4. Khaya, the tranquility of your break is infectious and I feel so relaxed after reading your lovely post. 😀The swans are so beautiful and graceful and your final photo of the wine in a cooler, pretty daisies adorning the table is so welcoming! Yes, we seem to be driven, by ourselves, not to stop … just stepping out into nature is the perfect antidote to this compulsion of ‘musts’. For now my creative outlet is learning a foreign language – I’d forgotten how much I love the process, practising away, learning reams of verbs!

  5. Thank you, Diana. I think we have to, for sanity’s sake, try hard to find even the smallest joys in these troubled times. Bad news keep mounting every day, and it frighteningly overwhelms at times.

  6. Yes the lock-down has afforded us time to read. But writing still remains difficult, at least for some of us. So, I get you with “sort of drifting with the tide toll” I’m in the same boat.

    Good for you for avoiding the temptation 😀 Though, on the other hand, I don’t think you should give it up completely as I view baking as another creative outlet that feeds all senses. We need these other outlets, more especially when words don’t come.

    Stay safe, dear Celestine! Hope you ease to your work routine, and are able to find ways to beat fatigue.

  7. You are so kind, Annika. Sometimes I get carried by the current of all the things that are broken in our world. My main aim is not always to lament but to find and celebrate the small wonders amidst of all the pain and suffering. So, I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this post and found it relaxing too. Thank you.

    Oh, how I love languages! Do tell, what foreign language are you learning and why? 😀

  8. Another interesting and lovely post! sounds like you’ve been finding balance. And 8 books! That’s about 5 more than I’ve read, though there are three books I am getting through now.
    I love your garden furniture! I paint/stain mine in June. It does de-stress – kind of a meditation in itself. Even when I was in terrible pain, I found a way to paint the middle of a wood fence. My poor husband would have to paint the tops and the bottoms!

  9. I’m learning Portuguese and although aligned to Spanish/Italian still very different and idiosyncratic! We meant to travel there this year … hopefully next year and at least I’ll be able to communicate in the language a bit/a lot!😀

  10. I love it when nature blesses with the gift of seeing and sharing space. I have never seen a swan up-close, thanks so much for sharing the experience with us.

    I’m recovering from another surgery, so I’ve been reading a lot. I finished H.’s book recently and really liked it.

    I don’t bake much when it comes to pastry. Not just because I’m not all that great at it–and I’m not, lol–but because I would probably eat all I make and then explode. Such a mess!

  11. This is the hard season for me to get much reading done due to all the outside work. These days I am in the garden most of the time, and catching up on projects there I did not get to last year. Your post reminded me I need to do some painting here myself. 🙂

    I did run some song lyrics by old musician friends, who have encouraged me to continue working on it. I started writing it 12 years ago and have just needed the outside motivation to finish it. 🙂

  12. Yes it has been a much needed escape from the city to reconnect with myself and find balance, clarity and everyday small joys. I do feel much rested. How lovely to hear that you enjoy painting as well, and even better “collaborating” with your husband! It makes for a fun exercise. 🙂 As for reading, I read faster when I have plenty of time (like a summer break) and Audible comes in handy too. But then there are books that demand to be read slowly, paused or reread. I think it’s good to read at one’s comfortable pace than not reading at all. And so, happy reading and thank you for popping by my blog!

  13. Hi Maga, I wasn’t aware you underwent another surgery. I wish you a quick and easy recovery, and that you are able to enjoy the summer season as best as you can.

    Books are good companions, especially when taking it easy after surgery. But I also know you are an avid reader with great book recommendations. I’m actually busy reading one of those recommendations, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It is a harrowing read and yet it’s difficult to put down. So, thank you very much for sharing your wonderful and informative reads. Me too, I enjoyed H.’s book, and super pleased that she agreed to chat about it.

    I know what you mean about baking. “Exploding” a terrible mess, indeed! 😀 And it’s one of the reasons I stay away from pastry.

    As for nature, you know I’m a devotee. I can’t sing enough praises about the wonders of nature. But I’m super happy you enjoyed this close-up with the majestic swan. <3

  14. I think reading can be more like writing at times. Because there are times that it’s just difficult to sit down with a book, either due to time constraints or no interest. And farm life can be exhausting even though it’s fulfilling. Sometimes reading a book after a hardwork’s day is impossible. But I’m glad this post served as a reminder for you to paint. Enjoy! 🙂

    It’s also wonderful to hear that you are revising some song lyrics. Gosh, writing is a long and hard process. It’s a blessing to have creative friends, who can offer feedback and encouragement. All the best with songwriting, Lavinia. I hope to hear that song, one day. 🙂

  15. I need to take some time to disconnect again soon. I’ll have an extra day to do it at the end of month. I miss my local nature center.

    My summer reading is coming along well. I’m about to start Neverknight (it was recommended by a video blogger I follow). I’m not sure I’ll get to start something else before September but then I’ll just start my fall reading. 😀

    The garden furniture looks great! We need to paint our whole back deck eventually. LOL, I’m not sure I’m ambitious enough to tackle that on my own.

    I’ve been hitting the classical music section on Spotify as I work on a couple of big writing projects, but when I’m not writing I go through some really random moods! I spent an afternoon listening to J-rock with a focus on Visual Kei bands, spent a Sunday morning with A Tribe Called Quest, only to zip back to a little Dolly Parton the next day.

    Would you believe my kids are taking on some of the cooking duties? LOL, I think I’ll have to direct them to the sites you mentioned. The diabetic one will be good for the hubby. I haven’t had African food in aaaaaaages. Just you mentioning the site had me thinking of jollof rice and goat with a side of plantains. Mmmm…..

  16. I definitely recommend taking some time to disconnect, benefits are huge. Do make use of those extra free days.

    Great to hear you’re also making progress with your summer reads. I know you sometimes post your reads on Insta, but I haven’t been too active much there. But Neverknight sounds like an exciting read judging by the reviews. Girl, you have fall reading too! You are really a book nerd…lol!

    I’ve heard somewhere that classical music sparks creativity among its other numerous benefits. So, it seems an excellent choice of music for those big projects. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.

    Isn’t that wonderful, kids cooking! It leaves mom and dad with lots of time to do all sorts of exciting things. I really do hope the kids check out those blogs, there are so many delicious and simple dishes to find. Ah, the jollof rice! A dish that either unites or spark passionate discussions about who “owns” it, in West Africa. 😀

    Thanks for this wonderful conversation, Rommy. I’m always happy to see you here. <3

  17. I do like the photograph of the swans.

    Many thanks for the ‘shout out’ to the low carb diabetic blog.

    Take care.
    My good wishes.

    All the best Jan

  18. Oh yes, that’s another lovely and refreshing way of connecting with oneself. Wee hours are best for witnessing the wonders of nature. 🙂

Do leave a trace!