Tag Archive | Nature Reflections

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!

 

 

 

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!

 

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?

 

Finding Balance

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Have you ever tried to recenter yourself by lying in the grass?

 

I made an interesting little discovery about the possible psychological effects of connecting with ground. When I feel out of balance, where thoughts cycle around fears of what to do next, I often find myself literally on the ground. lol. Once I feel the earth and grass beneath me though, I feel a sense of calmness. I think this balancing comes from a psychological knowing that eventually all life returns to the ground. Not in a pessimistic way, but as a sense that everything will be okay and that life will live on again through other organisms.  I’ve also noticed a similar effect from watching the stars. This was just a small thought, but I wanted to share and see if anyone else thought the same.

 

Where do you think that calming sense of lying on the ground or watching the stars comes from?

 

The Dance Between Light and Shadow

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Moments stilled,

captivated and thrilled. 

 

Balance defined,

shared space in time.

 

Shadows and light

did not fight.
 
Circular beams,

cast off into dreams.

 

Feathered darkness

moved like waves,

to the tree and the sun

upon my path.

 

Attack of the Killer Insects!

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This was the only bug that didn’t try to eat me lol

Run, Run Away!

Okay so the bugs in Michigan aren’t killing anyone that I’m aware of… but they do seem to be more active this year. This has made it difficult for me to go for a short walk let alone stop and take in the nature around me.

 

Shoo Flies!

When I have mustered the courage to go out, I’ve ran into a few flying friends. There are the gnats that swarm your face, “hey, hey, can I fly in your eyes, nose or mouth. K cool thanks!” then dive bomb into your eye. There are the deer flies or horse flies that love to take a bite out of anyone passing by. And the ever infamous mosquitoes…I have so much to say about them, but I will leave my censors on. So lets just say they love to suck your blood. I don’t like to put on bug spray, but I don’t know of any other way of dealing with these buzzing creatures. 

 

Getting Outside

I’m hoping to enjoy nature soon, but first I have to figure out how to get around these guys… maybe I’ll have to wear a mesh net around my whole body. I’ll remember to take a picture of myself if I do lol. 

 

Has anyone else noticed this yrs abundance of bugs or is it just me? Or do you know of any remedies to keep them away?