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Sleeping Bear Dunes 2012

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I like to think of this past adventure as being a trip of many firsts… In 2012 I learned about Sleeping Bear Dunes from one of my friends at college. When I heard it was located in my home state, Michigan, I knew it was a spot I’d have to check out and planned the trip during my Summer break. I was originally going to volunteer at the national park all summer then some things didn’t turn out, but in the end I think I got what I was really looking for. Though my time there became a 5 day vacation instead, I am really glad I went. Its amazing what a few days by myself did for my mind, body and soul.

 

The first day I was there I set up my camp, locked it, and went out to paint.  My painting didn’t turn out well but I still had fun on my first acrylic Plein-Air project.

When I got back to my site I realized that I was alone and had no one else to keep me from wandering within my mind. I have always struggled with being alone, but this time I really felt it. I decided I’d turn in before dark to avoid my fears when my neighbor, a woman around my mother’s age, called out and invited me over. I was really happy to have someone to interact with that night.

We ended up talking by the campfire, all night, about life and random things that we were going through at the time. To test our courage, we went out to the lake in the middle of the night and listened to the waves and met a couple that were looking at the stars through the app on their phone, which we thought was so cool. The night ended with us exchanging names and numbers and wishing each other a good night’s sleep.  The following morning she took off for more adventures, but to this day we are still Facebook friends 😉. Thanks again Stephanie! I’m really grateful she spoke to me that night. Meeting her made me feel stronger about continuing my stay.

The following morning I went to explore the Peirce Stocking Scenic Drive…

 

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I stopped at the first site by the bridge and wrote down a few of my thoughts about light and shadow. Then I went to see Glen Lake from the lookout point.

 

I think I found my love of silhouettes here…

I started to get hungry so I stopped off at the picnic area next.

This was my first experience with “the kissing tree” that I described in the previous post of my recent trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes.

I don’t know if the carvings were there before or after the joined growth, but I still have deep reflections about this tree. Out of all of the attractions at the scenic drive I think this lesser known spot is probably my favorite… I just hope no one else will continue to carve into it.

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I walked around the picnic area and saw these daisies. When I took their picture from above I couldn’t capture their brilliance so I thought I’d try something new and shoot them from below… again this has since sparked my love of taking photography “From Below.” A simple act of play and wonder brings forth new perspectives ❤ !

Just around the corner of the picnic area was the dune lookout.

I unknowingly followed a trail a little ways away.

It led to this spot, another perfect view of Glen Lake and there was even a bench shaded by the trees.

I had passed the “Dune Climb” on my way to the Scenic drive, but was pleasantly surprised that the trail I followed led to the top of the dune. I stayed there for awhile to watch families as they reached the top and felt slightly ashamed for taking a much easier route, lol. But hey, that meant I didn’t have to struggle climbing it later! lol. 

Around this time, my camera began to turn off because the batteries were running low. I managed to take a few more pictures by tricking my camera (by swapping the double AAs).

Pressing on I came upon the Lake Michigan overlook. This was my favorite actual site! 

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This spot was crowded with people, but I managed to take pictures around them. I really started to notice my loneliness creeping back at this point. Before the last site I stopped and wrote in my art journal.

 

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I think I hit a breakthrough with myself here and continued later, though I may have gotten a bit lost in my thoughts lol:

 

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I was starting to look at my struggles and find a way to work through them.

 

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The last stop was the North Bar Lake lookout. After seeing it from above, I went there the following day and found something interesting:

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When I was walking along the beach, I ran into this piece of driftwood! At first I thought someone had carved it and left it for people to find, but from any other direction it looked like a normal piece of driftwood. This strangely gave me the feeling that nature was guiding or watching over me while I was there.

The rest of my trip then became more about observing and studying the elements of nature.

 

I had a fire every night and became intrigued by the flow of fire.

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Every time I approached the beach, I noticed different patterns…

I even saw my first few stone hearts here.

dscf8984.jpgAnd left my first nature message for someone to find… I should have know the waves would take it lol, but this was when I learned its okay to let my creations go. Plus I turned it around as the lake saying “thank you, I accept your love!” lol.

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I visited lake Michigan many times, I went to: the Glen Haven historical village(top left), North bar lake(top right and middle), and by D.H. Day campground(where I was staying).

 

DSCF8869I made it a habit to get up for every Sunrise and be present for the sunsets.

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Oh and I think I found my love of photographing shadows here too!

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My trip came to a quick end on the fifth day when the weather started to look bad and I wasn’t prepared for stormy weather. I learned a lot about myself during those few days and of the importance of silent moments with nature. Though I had no idea what I was doing throughout the trip, deep down I think… maybe I did. Maybe this trip wasn’t about being a part of something like volunteering. Maybe a part of me knew that this “time” was about returning to myself.

I hope you enjoyed the post this week, it was a lot of fun to look back and write about this experience. It was a little scary to share my inner thoughts and parts of my journal but I’m glad I did! Have a wonderful week, and see you next Thursday!

 

 

 

Okay Catch Up Time!

Alright, I have been gone too long! This month has been crazy! I’ve got so many upcoming posts about all the projects and fun little trips that happened in May. Here is a sneak peek of these future posts~ ❤ .

McCourtie Park

One post that I’ve been wanting to share is of a park in Michigan called McCourtie Park. All of the bridges are made out of cement, but made to look like wooden bridges. A friend of mine suggested the place so her, my mother and I had to check it out! It felt like we stepped into the “Shire”.

2018 Spring in Bloom

When the flowers started to bloom I made a point to get out and take as many pictures as I could, and I have a lot too! ^_^

Spring into the Arts 2018

I was not as prepared for this artwalk like I thought I would be. I had my doubts about how my display would look this year at the Spring into the Arts, but in the end I had my wonderful family and friends to help me bring everything together! ❤ I couldn’t have done it without all the support.

Sleeping Bear Dunes 2018

After being on edge all last year, my mother and I decided to distress (celebrate her being in remission) and take time out to have ourselves a little vacation up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes national park. In the pinky finger of Michigan 😉 , we went camping, visited Lake Michigan a few times, and took a ton of pictures! It was definitely a trip well worth taking ^_^ ❤ .

Sleeping Bear Dunes Throwback 2012

After taking the trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes with my mother this year, I was inspired to share my first trip there in 2012. I had gone there to test myself and to see if I could camp and work at the national park by myself. I didn’t end up working there but I had an amazing five days that I will never forget!

There is much more to come! I’m thinking about posting these topics on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday next week. It’s so good to be back ^_^ see ya then!

Star Reflections

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Photo by: Forest Ardennes Fernandez

I’m back! I finally got my new laptop and will be posting regularly every Sunday again! I was working on this post and thought I’d finish it and give due credit to an awesome photographer. A fellow student from Maharishi University of Management, Forest Fernandez, has been taking marvelous pictures of the night’s sky and has inspired me to write about my inner reflections of stars. I enjoy every picture he takes,  each one has a deep universal feel to them. ❤ !

 

Do you ever look up to the stars with wonder? In a previous post, Star Struck, I looked into my allurement to the stars. I’ve tried to define my connection to them, was it hope, wishing or something else? Since my last post about stars, a new thought has bubbled up.

 

Photo by: Forest Ardennes Fernandez

Are We Stars?

I took a class in college called Physics and Cosmology and learned that stars go through processes that create most of the elements in the universe. I got to thinking about the elements I am made of and how they were once created by a star which stemmed the thought “If we are made from the elements of stars, are they our ancestors.” Is this why I feel drawn to them and share my troubles with them? I seem to seek their guidance like I would a Grandmother or Grandfather and yet they are silent. Somehow their silence allows an answer to eventually emerge…  In my reflection with stars, this was as far as I could get for now. More to come as I keep questioning…

 

Photo by: Forest Ardennes Fernandez

Just for Fun

While researching about stars I stumbled upon a few interesting topics:

Thank you again Forest for letting me use your pictures in this post!

 

Nature “I Am Always Here”

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There are days I get absorbed into the anxiety of daily life that I forget the calm and stillness of nature. I question the objects we create for faster travel, either through space or through the web. These feelings brought me back to, Nature is Present Everywhere.  I looked through older photos and found this theme to be present in quite a few pictures, so I decided to expand on the last week’s post. 🙂 

 
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While getting ready for work I noticed a reflection on the suburban outside. This moment of discovery calmed me immediately and I thought “be here, be present, everything is how it should be”.

 
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A few years ago, I waited for my next home health aid client at the arboretum. Nature called, “I am here and all around you, no need to worry”.

 
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While at college, I was having a hard time on a project on my laptop and leaned back in my chair. I looked at my blank screen and then focused on the reflection of my window in the background. I laughed, then took a deep breath as I finished my video.

 
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After a nice long walk in the woods, I thought I wish I could be in this calmness all the time. When I approached my car I got the sense that I can, I just have to see it and take it with me.

 

 I want to expand on the topic of reflections even more and dive deep into the reason why I favor this type of photography. See you next week in Water Reflections!

 

Nature is Present Everywhere

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So, these pictures aren’t the best quality… but they were taken when a moment left me breathless. Thanks to my handy dandy flip phone 😉 I am able to share those moments with you!

 

The picture above was of condensation that had turned solid from the cold.

 

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I am always in awe of the way our sun reflects off water. 
 
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My eyes caught the sunset in the side mirror of my boyfriend’s Jeep. I later noticed the words, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” I laughed and thought “okay nature I here ya, thank you.”

 

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Can you guess where this was taken?

 

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Yep, in the side mirror of my car ;).

 

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These last two were in my car as well, I loved watching the water flow down the window. I also liked how the snow turned the pictures into more of a black and white photo too.

 

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Each day I feel closer to nature, closer to something more real. Is it just being in the presence of nature or a fullness of life? 😀

 

Walk of Wisdom

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As the full moon approaches and the snow begins to melt, so too do my emotions. Another surge of doubts had me running to my grandfather’s woods. I have come to realize that this is my sacred space, my safe place. Every time I set foot to ground there, everything becomes clear.

 

Walking into the Psyche
A terrifying dream the night before, made me feel like going to the house was an unconscious way of facing my fears. As usual the fears lifted once I began my walk.
The wisdom I heard from myself and the forest are as follows:

 

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Today I noticed the many trees and limbs that littered the forest floor. Many previous paths had logs and brush blocking the way. I thought “the woods look dead or like they are dying”. Other thoughts countered “it is not dead, it’s just beginning, you are seeing the aftermath of Winter. Soon Spring will come and the richness of this place will once again be lush with green”.

I stepped over logs and continued down old paths until I came to a bushel of briers. After attempting to walk through it another thought sparked, “Why continue down an old path riddled with pain and possibility of getting stuck, when you can create a new one”.  I found a different route and at one point became confused as to where I was. Looking around, I found the house between the trees and went further into the back of the woods. I came upon one of my favorite stumps and grazed the rings of it’s age. My heart cringed as to why it was cut down.

 

Further along my walk a thought struck me of how important these woods have been to me in the past. “Sacred, this land is sacred”, my grandfather tended these few acres when he was alive and now I may have the opportunity to do so if I choose. At this time I do not have the means to purchase the house and land, but a strong sense overtook me, “I will do everything within my power to protect this land”.

 

I left the woods as if born once again. Was this all really about the house or something more? I wonder…

 

Water Transformations


From vapor forming on windowsills…

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To droplets dripping down glass…

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Solidifying and resting upon rooftops…

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To condensation stretching out as it freezes.

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Frozen in time…


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Only to melt once again…

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And bring life back from hibernation.

 

Water shifts into many forms, so why am I so rough on myself when I go through mine?