This week I will be trying something new. Instead of the usual blog or "Thirsty for Good Vibes Thursday" interview series, I will be posting a few prose, poems, lyrics, or reflections which accompany photos that I have taken during my adventures. [Part one]
Visual and verbal art: part one
Meditation and Reflection
Be still. Be here now and everywhere.
Inhale the beauty of this place.
Whistler Peak Suspension Bridge Park
Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
This was my first time on the west coast of Canada. The beauty and mystery of British Columbia was intriguing. The crystal clear skies and green blue water of the mineral-filled glacial rivers were so beautiful. We flew in to Whistler on a small plane and it was the best way to soak in all the sights. This trip offered a time for peace, reflection, and appreciation. We visited the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and had the honor of listening to traditional songs in the native language. I was very grateful to have experienced my time in this place and I am looking forward to one day taking my children along.
"Layers upon Layers. "
Hilltop Reservation, Essex County, NJ
"Show all of your colors. You don't have to choose just one."
When we feel lost, we can look to nature. There are so many quiet reminders of the intricacy of beauty, life, love, loss, growth, and individuality. Like the layers of bark on a tree tell a story or the colors in the same flowers show their personality, we all have tales to share. There is room to grow and learn and live, we just have to give ourselves the time and the space. We don't plant these flowers every year, but they come back. They bloom with intensity and the desire to show us their beauty. It is almost unimaginable that they could bloom even more beautiful every year, but they do.
Beauty and Love
Is love like a pile of floating clouds?
White, puffy, gray —here today, gone tomorrow— full of rain and thunder...
Something else that blocks out the sun and the moon from our eyes?
Something that entices rainbows?
The Love I once knew
I lost you overnight.
I woke and you were gone.
There was no warning,
you weren't even sick.
You were tall, and full, and strong
—but in the snow, and, in the blink of an eye,
you slipped through my fingertips.
You were kissed by snow and from here on out those are the last lips you will know.
Allentown, PA 2013.
Peace and Serenity
After dusk's fog settled, and the birds flew through the pink cotton-candy clouds their wings slicing through the hot and sticky fluff, the night rose and this day set on the horizon of North Carolina.
We didn't even hug. "I missed your hug" one friend texted me later that day. I had waved good-bye without making eye contact. Everyone was talking to each other—embracing or smiling as they exchanged their words and methods for contact. I slowly backed away and left as I often do.
Shy, uncertain of my place or this connection. Wanting to reflect upon the time spent here, the people I met, the knowledge I gained. The person that lived in my body that I was still learning. I walked out of the woods to meet this sight. I remember gasping and releasing a puff of heated air, into an even hotter evening. My eyes, closing for a second, followed by a few deep breaths.
What a week. What a hot, beautiful, meaningful, wet, scorching, sweaty, powerful week.
Wildflower Learning Community. Chapel Hill, NC. August, 2019.
"Mind if I sit here?" [Above on left]: Belle Vie Farm, NC. August, 2019. While I was participating in a weeklong Nature-based/outdoor teaching certification program in North Carolina, we were all sitting under some shade watching and listening to Lynn Trotta create useful items out of dried grasses. She was rolling the grasses and braiding or winding them into rope. All of a sudden there was a commotion as someone found something in her pocket. It was this little guy. It had somehow hopped or climbed into her vest pocket. Even though we were all nature educators, you still get quite a fright when you find something cool, squishy, and moving in your pocket—I don't care how many years of experience you have. You're going to jump up. Then this little frog jumped all over everyone as we tried to calmly help him. He finally landed on this bit of chair. I snapped a quick picture of him trying to refocus after the excitement. He just sat there so still and refined. It reminded me how nature calms, it recenters, it grounds us. Sometimes we experience anxiety or excitement and we just need a different point of view, a different place to stop and think, a moment of quiet and time for the overwhelming feelings to subside and the peace to arrive.
"What's on the Other Side?" [Above, center]: Place, unknown. Time, Unknown. You know when you are having one of those days where everything seems to be falling apart? The days when things are just not in sync and the world around you is crumbling? Sometimes these days can come out of the blue or sometimes they follow a cycle that is perpetuated. It took me a while to realize I was creating the situations that spurred these days. Maybe I was stuck in an arbitrary schedule that I imposed on myself. Maybe I wasn't paying attention to self-care, wellness, down time, my health, or my wellbeing. Did I drink enough water today? Have I had enough sleep? Did I take my vitamins or stretch yet? It was on one of these particular days when I needed some "me" time. I was out walking or driving, collecting my thoughts, and breathing. When out of nowhere, this rainbow was just bursting forth from the treeline. It was so vibrant, so full of life, so full of light and color! My thoughts and gloom slowed, ceased even, as I inhaled the beauty of nature. The mysteries of nature that are also so sure to occur. Yes, it may have been raining but it was also sunny somewhere, just enough to create this beautiful display of refracted light. From darkness comes light, we just have to open our eyes and look for it.
"Morning Stroll" [Above on right]: The Kinder Garden Preschool in the outdoor woods classroom, Raleigh, NC. August 2019. As an artist, environmental educator, and outdoor/nature-based educator I often explore the life cycle. Decay, decomposition, growth, life. The cycle is necessary for all life and all creation and natural destruction. Transformations and change are intriguing to an artist, or at least to me. They are the visualizations of journeys. While walking in the woods, I fox walk—slowly placing part of my foot down and rolling through the pad of my foot to the outside to the back. When you walk quietly and slowly it is more likely that you will interact with nature and its inhabitants. Finding walking and stationary decomposers is fun and satisfying. This little guy is most likely the Apheloria tigana or the Yellow-and-black Flat Millipede. These types of millipedes love to decompose leaf litter and rotting wood. Here it is with some lichen on a dead log. Each of these organisms plays its own role in breaking down the dead material on the forest floor to create new soil and add to the natural humus. Everything has a role to play. Nature is so meticulous that it offers insects and fungi to create new from old.
Frosty clouds from the once glacial plains
Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
"One of the last days"
An eerie evening after one of the last days of school. Everything was about to change, but perhaps it already had.
I was preparing for the end, but how do you even do that? Prepare for an ending? Prepare for beginnings. Life is a cycle— there are endings and beginnings all the time and, yes, on occasion, they overlap like this.
This time though so many things would change at once: new state, new apartment, no job, new life, a baby, new faces, new neighbors, new schedule. The future seemed uncertain, foggy, muddled. The present seemed uncertain, foggy, stagnant. Was the dust settling or was it rising up to greet tomorrow?
Was I walking on my own path? I was about to walk across a sheet of ice with no specific tracks or footprints. Everything had melted and blended together refreezing into a solid bumpy walkway. I don't know if I should enter this...way. My legs don't want to travel this—I don't want to—no, this isn't the destination. This isn't my story. I have been working so hard on my things. This just isn't my chapter. Maybe this isn't my page. I was kicked from within. Yes, I'm hungry too and I'll stop grumbling about the things I can no longer change. I'll go from here—one step at a time— for us, for me, and for you. This may not be my page but I'm still in this book. I'll just keep reading until I get to my part.
Environmental Charter School at Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA. February, 2013.
**This last photo was accompanied by a different entry but it seems as if my computer/internet had other plans and everything written with this was erased. It was all about being excited and finding this job that was perfect for me. The perfect fit and match directly after graduating from the MEd program at Temple University with dual teaching certifications in Special Education and Elementary Education [and completing the Art and Middle School Science Praxis tests leading to additional PA certifications]. An art teacher position blended with environmental education, nature-based learning, Reggio-Emilia Inspired Approach, and surrounded by a group of diverse inspirational educators, creative visual thinkers, community outreach, and healthy food curriculum. Things changed, one of us was transferred again for work— this time to NYC, and there were a lot of things in life occuring at the same time. It took me a long time to overcome these feelings. Life throws curve balls sometimes: I guess, you have to choose if you are going to swing, walk, or strike out. Even so, you keep playing and you go on to play the next game with completely new circumstances, players, weather, and feelings. You face each day as a new day, learn from experiences, and choose the things and people in life which are worth the fight.
You live, learn, grow, and live some more.
Thank you for checking in this week. I am not a poet but I do consider myself an artist and sometimes I like to experiment with words and imagery. All the poetry, prose, reflections and verbal art as well as photographs are my own. We'll be continuing with the "Thirsty for Good Vibes Thursday" interview series as well as the regular blog entries which focus on environmental literacy and advocacy, nature-based learning, alternative education styles, exploration, investigation, regenerative gardening and composting with children, and learning through nature and art studies.
If you would like to collaborate or work on something together virtually or in the Lehigh Valley, feel free to reach out to me: info@thefindingplace-LV.com As we near the end of the school year, I can also offer assistance with homeschool evaluation portfolios, garden design and solutions, and outdoor activities for families, small groups, and children. I would eventually like to offer a YouTube Channel with activities and lesson plans. Keep your eyes open for news in the future!
Thank you again. Live, learn, grow.