TED Conversations

Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.


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Do you have a story waiting to be told? Bring your inner storyteller and tell us a tale.

Stories weave themselves together over time and magically become the gloriously rich tale of a full life. Telling them brings the most mundane tasks or simple memories alive, reminding us how colorful and vibrant living actually is. Best of all, it allows us to see another layer of each other.

Will you tell us one? It can be random, made up, from childhood, someone else's, about your kids, a moment with your grandmother, lost love, a quirky or funny moment, poetry, a chance meeting, something that hurts...anything at all. Perhaps you wrote a story in your mind about someone you saw on your way to work, or it's the dream you had last night. Maybe it's found in a picture you recently took. It can be 10 words, 200 or haiku. We all have a story waiting to be told :)

I shared one, now it's your turn. Give it your best shot!
(If its long, just add another post in reply to continue.)


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    Oct 27 2011: Okay, how about this. Here's my story ;)
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      Oct 28 2011: I love a nicely set table, crystal water pitcher, candlelight, salt wells, and an after dinner cognac. The ritual of dining adds to the magic of an evening with friends. I spend hours perusing cookbooks seeking perfect platemates. Baked asparagus with a hint of lemon blanketed in parmesan, coupled with grilled salmon crusted in pesto. Creme brulee paired with a few fresh raspberries and a dollop of freshly whipped cream brings a perfect evening to a perfect close. Nice, right?

      This image, from a life long gone, resides in memories that once defined me and visit when I’m out at 2 am in howling wind and 20 below zero checking calves. Usually, I haven’t seen a human in days.

      My new reality is a desperately in-need-of-repair log cabin, an old oak table, dogs strewn across the floor, a blazing fire in a decades-old wood stove to keep me warm, leather chaps hang haphazardly on a nail patiently awaiting their next ride. On a busy January night, you might find a just born, half frozen calf defrosting by the stove as I massage it to keep it alive. The old oak table is covered with cameras, cattle tags, tools, battery chargers, lenses, mail, and hot sauce for a dab of color. It’s not the life I imagined but it’s the life I live.

      Did I mention the hundreds of acres surrounding me with no soul in sight? Idaho’s highest peaks looming large outside my door. The moose returning in spring to birth babies and raise their yearlings. The howl of coyotes waking me at dawn. The wild turkeys that know I’ve no intention of eating them for dinner. The lessons learned from locals standing by my side. Their mastered intimacy with this land, handed down through generations, is the best gift. That’s only the beginning of a life I never imagined. The challenges of living interdependently with the land came unexpectedly, and turned my belief systems upside down. I thought I knew it all in New York City - but it took no time at all to learn I didn’t know a thing.
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        Oct 28 2011: Beautifully written. Wow! I can almost smell the log cabin and the bite of the cold. That fresh crisp air that you only get when far away from pollution. It's amazing how the world changes to such extremes. If you showed your old self your new life... would you believe yourself?
        Thank you for sharing.
      • Oct 31 2011: Sixty years ago my folks eschewed suburbia for a life on a small farm. Living there sparked a love of hard work, independence and the need for imagination to while away those long summer days.

        This, however, led to almost all of us dying on the farm.

        My dad almost asphixiated himself from carbon monoxide poisoning digging our well with a gasoline spade.

        My mom almost electrocuted herself painting an electrical outlet connected to the house.

        My brother had his head caved in when a horse stepped on his head. He was also hit by a "widow-maker" squarely in the head when cutting wood; it knocked him out cold

        When I was floating on a raft in the middle of our pond I fell in with green rubber boots that acted like gills pulling me under. My siblings thought i was going under for the third time when actually I was gulping for air and untying my boots underwater. I got one off and then my dad jumped into the water to save me. He also had on green rubber boots (!) and had to push off the bottom to force me to shore.

        Now for the "spooky" part. Shortly before I fell in my dad, who was sleeping on the couch, had a terrible nightmare that one of us was drowing. He woke up from a sound sleep and began washing the car; shortly there after I fell into the pond.
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          Nov 3 2011: wow!

          Life on a farm is so dangerous! It struck me when I moved out west. I recall telling nyc friends how safe the city is. In rural life people were hurt constantly in horse accidents, husbands running their wives over with tractors, rattlesnake bites. It was endless. It just wasn't called crime. ;) Great story, Richard!
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        Nov 4 2011: OK You win, Linda. Just tell me what is your fav brandy? I can see we are going to have to ply you with some booze to get you to fill in the gaps in your great little half story. LOL How and why did you acquire a cattle ranch? Why are you living on it? Are you on the lam? What kind of dogs do you have? How many cattle and how big is the spread? If it isn't too big I might take it off your hands. So far it sounds like it would be perfect for my son and grandsons. No neighbors for miles? Perfect. Just name your price. Regards Vic
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      Oct 28 2011: I love your story James! It really helps to see someone from the inside out, where their passions lie and what drives their heart and mind. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you!

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