Tag: Nature Photography

The Journey

The Journey

What an amazing journey the course of a life offers. Choices are continually offered to us. With every sunrise we have the capacity to offer the world the precious gift of the Self.

How interesting it is to actively participate in the creation of the Journey….to make conscious choices…to follow the possibilities that come through ‘chance’ happenings, travels, regular daily experiences.

As I reflect back on my life, the promise I made to follow my heart’s calling has been the most prominent method of determining each next step. Oh, how I wish there was a black and white formula that could be easily shared with people to determine each next step…but it involves more than carefully calculated rational thought processes. Much of the journey of the soul is discerned through the language of the heart, feelings and intuition.

Helen Keller wrote, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing.” Perhaps there is no greater truth about the Journey.

Each time I have felt the stirrings of change, I have done my best to listen to clues that appear. Several months ago I felt those stirrings and suspected I would be downsizing…selling my beautiful home…and moving to a smaller living space. The beauty of this place is amazing yet the size for one person is overwhelming at times. So I allowed the stirrings to stir and began clearing out ‘stuff.’ Lots and lots of stuff. Material ‘stuff’ that simply weighs me down.

A few months ago I begin to question aloud…Where? When? And the resounding answer every time was, Wait…you will have more information in March…just wait and you will know.”

So I kept cleaning and clearing my home, closets, books…gazillions of books! And waited….and waited.

I had a book signing scheduled in Crystal River, Florida March 17th and while there…at the book signing….felt the stuck energy of the past several years ‘whoosh’ open. WHOOSH! Something shifted within me and I knew that the long-awaited answer was beginning to be answered.

I stayed a night with a friend on the way back home about two hours north of Crystal River and remembered how much I love the area around High Springs and Ft White. But….really? Florida?

After arriving home I was significantly freaked out. I thought I would be moving locally, downsizing to a smaller home and staying in the area…and that may be the case. But the energy is opening towards the freshwater springs of Florida. And as I type this fear begins to rise. It’s one thing to keep it in my head and another to share it with the world before I am 100% sure.

The other day my mom and I were texting about decisions we are both making. In an effort to encourage her to follow her heart, I told her if I had listened to all the negative comments people had and their judgments about my life and the decisions I’ve made through the years, I would never have created the work I’ve put out into the world. But it’s challenging not to listen when people begin giving you their opinions and telling you what’s best for your life. So fears arise when I share something that might  happen….because everybody has an opinion….

So how does one proceed when faced with choices? For me, clarity always comes with the recognition of where the energy flows freely…where the feeling of opening happens…where obstacles drop away. It’s like allowing the river to carry me without trying to control the direction.

Show me, is my prayer. How can I serve this magnificent planet? Where can my work best take root and grow? 

A big opening happened in Asheville when the mountains supported my ability to soar among the clouds. Strong foundations of my work have grown here in the beauty of live oak trees and white sand in Coastal Alabama as my work rooted into fullness. And now, the flow of clear water seems to be pulling me to the largest gathering of magnitude 1 freshwater springs in the world where I suspect the work will expand and flow into the world in a bigger way.

As I was floating in the water–surrounded by sleeping manatees–while at Crystal River a few weeks ago, I heard myself saying, I don’t spend enough time in the water. I listened to what I heard myself saying.

 

My work is centered on our Ocean planet….water. Being underwater or in the water is imperative to the work I am called to do and being able to be in or under the water on any and every day is what feels like the exact right next step in my life’s Journey.

What’s your next step?

 

The Dawn of Spring

The Dawn of Spring

So close to making it to the beach for sunrise but alas that amazing orange orb rose over the swamp as I pedaled. It didn’t matter. It was still an outstanding start to Spring. And was still low enough in the sky at the beach to offer very nice light for a couple of phone photographs.

I felt my life begin to open last weekend with manatees, kayaking, a book signing at Franklin Anderson Gallery of Art and a visit with an old friend. Laughter with my friend, water, sea cows and a family of artists I met were Spring tonics. Clarity began to ease the old stuck places into motion and it feels as if my life can breathe once again.

This is the magic of Spring. Not first stirrings but all-out growth bursting forth.

Growth doesn’t happen simply by reaching for light. We must dig our roots deep into darkness and dare to explore the Unknown before we leap forward into light.

My friend Deco. His dad took us on a fun ride on the Suwannee River.

What a glorious dawn of Spring that amplified the joy from the past weekend. Grateful for so much….friendship, soul-sister-artists, manatees, water to play in and answers.

Threshold of Spring

Threshold of Spring

The transition from one season to another can be challenging for plant life; perhaps none more challenging than winter-to-spring. When the first blast of warm air arrives, the sleeping ones awaken and without hesitation begin sending fragile tendrils of proclamation out into the balmy breezes. YES! It’s time to grow!!

So often on the Gulf Coast, we get those first warm days….80 degrees the last weeks of February this year….and the profusion of pollen soon follows along with flower buds and unfurling bright-green leaves. They take a risk, to bloom so early…to put so much of their energy into their first burst of growth. There’s always the possibility–the probability–that cooler weather is yet to return. The time between seasons can be a risky time for growth.

As human beings,  we experience life as a reflection of nature. Thresholds are a time of change. We want to leap into the new direction awaiting us yet there is wisdom in patience, in waiting for that sweet moment when everything aligns and our stage of growth is ready to catapult us toward the next stage of our journey.

We yearn for new direction and deeper resonance with our path. The anticipation of expansion builds and finally, we can hold back no more. We burst forth with our beauty shining, our light beaming. What a wondrous experience. What an amazing thing to witness.

 It’s wise to be patient and when the time is ripe…BLOOM!

 

1972

1972

When I was a teenager, caring people with vision were fighting for the health of the planet….clean air, clean water, and an environment free of a toxin that was creating a huge die-off of birds. Bald eagles, brown pelicans and other species were not able to reproduce because levels of DDT caused egg shells to be too thin. DDT accumulated in soil and river sediment and was finally banned from the US.

As I was standing in Gulf State Park watching a bald eagle feed her baby the other day, the year 1972 came to mind. I was 12 years old when DDT was outlawed.  I remember the outrage and grief I felt over the horrors happening in our country…even as a kid. But people paid attention to those fighting for health of all life and we made steady progress until the current administration was elected, even with setbacks suffered through various administrations. A friend of mine recently said, I would hug Ronald Reagan if he could replace Trump. And Reagan was no friend of the environment.

The bald eagle watched over the eaglet from above the nest, high in a pine tree. As it swayed in the spring winds, tears formed as I remembered….1972….hope as a young kid…. the environmental ‘movement’ that gained support for clean water, air, land, wildlife….and now? I found anger and frustration arising as I reflected on many hard-fought protections that are rapidly being swept away by people concerned only about wealth and power.

It seems completely absurd these hard-fought battles are having to be fought again. Just one example: During the Obama administration the EPA proposed banning chlorpyrifos because of evidence of some bad side-effects….it attacks the nervous systems of people and insects….all animals. Residues are still on the broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and citrus when it reaches consumers. But less restrictive regulations on environmental concerns is the forte for the Trump administration….because it encourages businesses to grow (cheaper ways to produce food, oil, gas, etc etc etc etc). Damn the consequences to human health, wildlife, water, air, land…and this is only one example.

One of the lies we tell ourselves is, it’s all going to be okay. But is it? On a deep, spiritual level…of course it is. But our physical lives and those of generations to come are in danger. If we allow this kind of undoing of environmental regulations we are going against what research tells us, in black and white, will happen. And more importantly, what is morally and ethically the right course of action. But the ‘leaders’ of our country simply don’t consider clean air, water, land important issues.

I like to write about beauty and the feel-good stuff. Who wants to read about the rapid backslide into pollution? Toxicity? But I would betray the very beauty I treasure so dearly if I didn’t speak up, if I didn’t cry out, and remind us of where we have come from and where we are certainly headed if we don’t stop this reckless behavior.

Every time I cycle by the bald eagle nests, the year 1972 blinks in my mind like a neon sign. I can’t forget what it took for environmental laws to be birthed. Can you? Are you willing to risk the health of your children…grandchildren? What are you willing to give up so the wealthy and power-hungry in our country can thrive?

Brigid’s Cross

Brigid’s Cross

This summary of the recent journey to Ireland has been avoided because it brings the experience to another level of finality. I want the travels to remain open and fresh and ever-expanding in my heart and mind. Alas, it is time to reflect and accept the many gifts and let them rest peacefully.

There were many powerful moments; perhaps the most meaningful experience of the trip was at a small convenience store where a post office clerk gifted me with a freshly made Brigid’s cross.

I planned the trip so arrival would be on Brigid’s Day or Imbolc, a cross-quarter day between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Imbolc celebrates the first-stirrings of spring and was originally a festival associated with the goddess Brigid and fertility. It was later Christianized into the festival of St. Brigid…who was based on the Gaelic goddess.

Tradition calls for reeds to be gathered every Imbolc and woven into a cross. The cross is usually placed on the hearth as a reminder to honor the home and family. The next year it is burned and a new cross woven and placed.

When I saw the cross, I asked the clerk if she made it. She said her sister did and asked if I would like to have it. It was such an act of generosity and kindness. I politely thanked her but said I couldn’t take her cross. She said, “I can get another one, please take it.”

Tears filled my eyes and my voice cracked as I tried to thank her. Finally, I was able to speak a proper thank-you.

The cross sat on the dash of the car as I drove through the Burren. It waited patiently as I visited the Poulnabrone dolmen burial chamber and had an otherworldly experience with my Celtic whistle and spirits of the land and sky.

The green cross sat on the window sill in the bedroom of the cottage I stayed at in Doolin. It was there watching the two horse neighbors, the sacred hill where the moon set every morning and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

It was there as I drifted off to blissful sleep after traditional Irish music that sent my soul soaring. It was there when I dreamed of finding a harp and learned the saying, “It is now strung and shall be heard,” Ireland’s call to arise from persecution and claim their right to freedom.

Brigid’s Cross traveled to the Maumturk Mountains and heard my anxious words as snow fell and temperatures dropped as I drove toward Killary Fjord and the village of Leenane. It heard the first, tentative notes of the new whistles I adopted from traditional music stores….adventures in their own right.

It heard the story of the hilarious attempt at candle-lighting at the small, Gothic cathedral at Kylemore Abbey; it witnessed the wild attempt to hike the upper reaches of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park.

The many beautiful moments at the Cliffs of Moher, beaches, rocky grasslands, steep-mountainous roads, villages….are all stored in the reeds of the cross. As well, feelings of gratitude, love, excitement, wonder, awe, bliss, grief, courage and ‘home’ fill the spiral design.

After months of singing to Brigid every morning as a daily dedication and intentionally planning my travels to coincide with Her day, the simple cross created and gifted with love is the symbol that ignites my memories of a land for which I am profoundly grateful.

On arrival to Ireland–after landing, picking up the rental car and beginning the drive from Dublin towards Doolin–I randomly chose an exit on the motorway to find food. Nothing was close to the highway so I took a turn and ended up passing Brigid’s Well in Kildare. I felt Her welcoming spirit so strongly. It is difficult to believe I didn’t stop and visit this holy well. What was I thinking? 

The only other regret I have from those 10 days is not returning to the Doolin Hotel for music the Monday before leaving for northern Connemara. The music there was transformational to my soul…(sigh).

I could return and spend a month in Doolin wandering the countryside and enjoying the serenity of the land and immense strength of the Atlantic Ocean. The music could carry me to other dimensions as I once again found myself in my spiritual home.

What is a spiritual homeA place that supports and nurtures us to be the fullest expression of higher self. For me, the wild, west coast of Ireland has twice awakened me to freedom to be myself–connected to land, sea and sky in complete surrender. The relationship I share with the land there is profound and deep, ever-evolving into greater understanding of what it means to consciously walk upon this sacred planet.