Fifty Shades of White - This American Girl

Salla Lapland


I never knew that white could come in so many colors.


Salla Lapland


It’s one of the many things I’m learning in Lapland surrounded by snow.


Kilpisjarvi Lapland


I’ve observed that late in the morning

fluffy white mounds turn lavender under orange sunrises.


Salla Lapland


That sheets of white ice absorb a royal blue overlay

just before the darkness of night.


Kakslauttanen Lapland


That intermittent bouts of sunshine or the warm glow of street lamps

allow the flecks of each snowflake to sparkle.


This American Girl


I’m learning that I can transform my color too.


Salla Lapland


That beyond my ideas of black and white

lies a spectrum of shades

expanding as I surrender myself to the whiteness of winter.




Like the nickname that’s followed me since childhood

I am a Chameleon among these fields of white.




Ever adapting, despite how foreign I may appear.




Listening to the cues of nature, I’m adjusting the way that I exist in this world.


This American Girl


I’m learning to feel beautiful despite wearing sixteen layers of clothes.




I’m learning to broaden my tolerance for temperature

as I sweat in a sauna and swim in an ice lake.


This American Girl


I’m learning to open my allowance for enjoyment

as I fall in love with snow shoeing, dog sledding, and alpine skiing.


Reindeer meat


I’m learning to reassess my ideas of what it means to be healthy

as I sleep into the late morning, use reindeer milk skin cream, and eat enormous plates of wild meat.




I’m learning what it means to respect nature

as I hike through blizzards in the middle of the night, catch fish from an ice hole, and grill animal flesh over an open fire.


salla Lapland


In the presence of fishermen and hunters and reindeer herders

I’m reconsidering my ideas about what it means to live in harmony with the natural world.




By experiencing and allowing a different way of living, a different way of traveling

I’m opening to the different possibilities of being.




I’m reminded that there is not one way to live.

There is not one way to love.

There is not one way to honor and respect this Earth.


The Hike to the Holy Hill - 09


And to my own amazement and gratitude

these differences don’t leave me asking “who am I”.


Fifty Shades of White - 20


Instead they remind me that… I am.




Because the more that I accept the differences in others, the more I accept myself

understanding that I can only see a color if it first exists within my own mind.




Fifty shades of white.




Showing me a whole new spectrum




of my capacity

for love and light.


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