Friday, July 29, 2011

Break Time

time for a break and we are heading north. i’m not going to commit to posting while we are gone – maybe i will and maybe i won’t (how’s that for a commitment??)

in the meantime, i leave you with this…

let nature speak to you


be in its presence

it has many things to tell you

be still

be open

let it speak

feast upon it…


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ten Years Ago (Part 5)


(part 4, etc.) november brought us into the carolinas.  we spent some time in andy griffith’s hometown of mt. airy, checking out the memorabilia, then headed back to the blue ridge parkway and the mountains.  when anyone asks me what was my favorite state or what place did we find where i could see myself living.... this area usually comes to mind first.  gorgeous scenery, great hikes, friendly people, lots of history and culture.

from there we headed to myrtle beach and met up with some friends from home who were doing a similar journey.  it was really fun seeing familiar faces and sharing our “road stories”.

The highs…..

I don’t think I have adequately expressed my sheer joy in doing this (traveling).  I’m almost afraid it will go away or end.  Right now, I just want it to go on and on.  Every day is a thrill.  I know I’ll look back at this as the best part of my life.  

11-3-01            Linville Falls Campground, Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
The gypsy in me loves waking up in new spots every few days and going out to explore first thing in the morning.

11-21-01          Halfway Creek (remote site), Francis Marion National Forest, SC
I’m sitting on a bridge over the black waters of Steed Creek in the Francis Marion Forest.  The bike trail follows out both ends of the bridge as far as I can see in either direction.  The forest is practically impenetrable on all sides.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Do I wish I was in the kitchen right now as most American women are? (or at work worrying about it!)  Certainly not – although I do find myself thinking about all the traditional stuff we’re missing quite often – especially related to Christmas.  I think I can handle it – we’ve never been very traditional anyway….  

11-23-01          THANKSGIVING        Santee State Park, SC
Not your traditional holiday, but we toured the low country of rural South Carolina, looked unsuccessfully for an open local restaurant and ended up feasting on chicken at Santee State Park.  People here have made things really festive with holiday lights draped on their motorhomes.
In many ways, this is the perfect life-style for me.  I seem to thrive on being in different places all the time – who’d have guessed it?  Add to that the almost constant contact with nature and the simplicity of the life and lack of pressure; I am really a happy camper!

 and the lows….

11-15-01Falls Mountain Trail, Morrow Mountain State Park, NC
The constant togetherness is getting to me.  I need a new attitude!  If I want this trip to continue, as I’m pretty sure I do, I’d better figure this out fast.

TAPESTRY                        3/17/02

I'm not earning any money, don't go to work each day -
 I'm not solving critical crises, my career temporarily delayed.

I don’t own a wealth of possessions -most have been given away,
Pared down to the barest treasures, packaged and stored in a bay.

But my life is rich in pleasures, those of the simple type –
Long morning hikes by the river, searching for shells at low tide.

Deciding each day where to travel, atlases strewn all about,
Choosing a place with an interesting name –letting that govern our route.

Stilt-legged wharves and sandbars, a canopy of trees,
Coffee at the picnic table, overlooking the sea.

Picture postcard villages on long winding country roads,
Laughing with some strangers from Las Cruces or Buffalo.

I could go back to the ratrace; take up my duties once more,
But for now I choose just to linger, watch the waves wash up on the shore.

These joys barely scratch the surface of what my life’s about -
But within them lies a secret; of that I have no doubt.

For added all together, they form a tapestry -
A series of precious moments recorded in memory.

And no one can erase them - they’re stored under lock and key –
A balm for future reference, when the journey is not so sweet.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

More Art Journaling

work in progress - digitally altered photo with various additions - i may write a poem on the "tendrils"

when i first started dabbling in mixed media art a couple years ago, one of my motivations was that it was a chance to use my ever-growing collection of photos in a new way.  and i have certainly done that.  i have collaged on them, cut them, mosaiced them, woven them, transfered them and altered them in every conceivable way.  and art journaling is prooving to be the perfect venue for continuing this venture!

photo transfer with some journaling under the paint

the great thing about it is that there is no right or wrong -  anything goes!!  and while it is really fun to learn new styles and techniques like i am doing in my 21 secrets class, these are simply tools in the tool-chest that can be drawn on when the moment feels right. 

self-portrait combined with 3-word phrases from my journals

 the more materials, tools, photos, words, quotes, etc. that i gather, the more different ways there are of combining them.  i don't always love the results, but it's ok.  there is always something to learn.

photo on page prepped with chalk and homemade stamp

i tend to have a lot of different pages working at once.  in one session, i'll add stuff wherever i feel it's needed.  sometimes i'll go back and add something new to a page i thought was finished.  it's a really fun and low pressure way to work!

altered photo on painted and stamped page

right now my pages tend to revolve around a photo and don't contain a ton of words.  i still keep the heavy writing for my regular spiral-bound journal.  sometimes i tear out a page or copy it and partially paint over it.  but that could change as i'm sure my style will as i move forward.

photo on paint, quote on transparency

if you haven't tried it yet, what's holding you back???
pretty good bet the next retreat will involve some art journaling!!

my very messy work space

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Making Story

“…all making of story becomes a spiritual place.  it is a place of the most intense solitude but also a place where the most intimate communal experience can be achieved: that of sharing story.  story is a place where meaning can be made and remembered.”   eunice scarfe

 this really struck me when i read it yesterday.  and now that it’s been percolating in my brain for a day i’m realizing that this is what i love about blogging.  i mean in addition to the obvious reason of sharing my photos.  when i started out i had no idea about this particular benefit, but it forces me to examine the little pieces of my life and translate them into STORY.

 story that shares not only events, but emotions and impressions. (and visual images!)   story that bubbles up from the heart.  story that clarifies ideas.  story that gathers details and brings them together.  story told in poetry or prose.  story that reaches out and begs to be shared with others.

often i’ll be writing in my journal, as i have for years, and suddenly realize that what i am writing is something that yearns to be shared.  voila – a new blog post!

i think i look at my life differently now.  as i go through my days and stumble across things that might become potential story elements, i think of all of you – and wonder if you might be open to sharing in the story.  not all ideas make to this forum, but when they do, you, my faithful little audience, are there to support and cheer me on.  i love you for it and hope that i can do the same for your stories!

 “as a writer, i am transformed in the making of story; the reader is transformed in the reading of story.” eunice scarfe

let’s keep on transforming each other!!

new post on retreat blog here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Confession

ok, let me begin by establishing a couple of things:

i know you will laugh at me
i get that i’m not overweight
i exercise every day
i follow a mostly healthy eating routine….

having said all of that…. i am having a little bit of a struggle.  you see i like to maintain my weight.  it’s comfortable.  it keeps me in my jeans.  it’s been pretty much the same for a really long time and i like to keep it that way.  some times in my life that has been relatively easy and other times (like when i first moved into the dorm in college) not so much.  as i get older it’s moving into the not so much category.  i feel like if i start gaining weight now (and I have), it’ll be a “slippery slope” and i don’t want that.

 so here’s my confession:  i’m a candy-holic.  ok, maybe that’s too strong of a word – i have a serious candy habit.  for as long as i can remember i have eaten candy.  like every day.  i have it in my car.  i like to munch on it in my studio.  i really like it after dinner while watching tv.

 even though i know it’s not good for me or my teeth…. i never thought i had the wherewithal to give it up.  i feel like i kinda need it.  but of all the things i could choose to give up (at least temporarily) this makes the most sense.  it’ll be good for me, save me money and make it easier to maintain my weight.

that’s what my rationale mind told me and (albeit reluctantly) the rest of me finally agreed to give it a try.  5 days in and i’m surviving.  is it getting easier each day?   not really.  but at least i know i can do it.  and that’s big.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Ten Years Ago (Part 4)

Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

(part 3, etc.) so by this time, it was already october and starting to get cool.  we put our plans for new england on the back burner (for the next year!) and decided there was enough to see in the virginia area to keep us busy before heading south.

Lewes, Delaware

 we did take a side trip to cape henlopen in delaware for my birthday.  fabulous!!  seeing as it was “off season” lots of the parks were practically empty, especially during the week.  nothing like having a state park all to yourself!!

Cape Henlopen
Delaware, Rehoboth Beach, I think

back through maryland, across the chesapeake bay bridge and into virginia beach.  all told, we spent a whole month in the virginia area before heading into north carolina.

Pokomoke River, Maryland

Chesapeake Bay bridge, Virginia

 sadly, i was not taking very many photos at this time and didn’t keep some of the ones that i did take. i know, hard to believe, but it wasn’t until i got well into reading the artist’s way that i started to flex my creative muscles.

some of the ups and downs:

10-13-01          Oakridge Campground, Prince William Forest National Park, VA
Some of my favorite moments have been on solo hikes.  I’m reminded of this because I’m on one now.  My thoughts just work in a different vein.  This particular spot is on a boulder in the Quantico Creek in Prince William Forest Park near Mannassas.  The colors are brilliant and my feet are in the water.  The only sounds are the wind, the leaves falling, the insects and birds.  I think I’ll have my lunch now. Oh, for more moments like these!  I see quite a few more on the horizon.  All I need is myself and a beautiful spot and no one else around.  It’s not expensive!  By myself, I can finally start to realize the tremendous relief of completing all I had to do this summer to get to this place.  The relief has been coming in small doses. 

Virginia, Newport News Park

 10-21-01          Newport News Park, Newport News, Virginia
I’m reading “The Gift of a Year” – I discovered it only after my year was already in motion and started reading it only after my year had already begun.  I’m finding it very reinforcing that I am doing the right thing (I’ve honestly had no second thoughts).  I can’t believe how little stress I have right now.  I think my year (or more) will lead to other causes and ideas.  I’m certainly open to that, but I had to free myself of commitments to see what those might be.
This constant connection to nature feeds my soul!

Virginia Beach, water-view campsite

 10-25-01          Richmond, VA
This is the second day spent here in the RV shop in Richmond in record breaking heat waiting for the installation of the inverter and extra batteries.  We just got the bill and I’m not a happy camper!  But tomorrow we hope to be back on the Blue Ridge Parkway....

Williamsburg, Virginia
 Be Prepared 

So you want to live in a motorhome?
Pick up some glue at the store –
Everything you thought was tight  
Will end up on the floor.

While you're at it get some tablets
To write your problems down.
And make a list of necessities
Should you ever get to a town.

Pack a little vacuum –
Your floor will be a mess.
You’ll track in dirt and sand and leaves,
More than you could guess!

And don’t forget the quarters
You’ll need to wash and dry,
You can’t do laundry cheaply
Even if you try.

You’d better learn to read a map-
Many mistakes can be found.
You’ll travel twenty miles
Before you can turn around.

I hope you like your spouse a lot-
Set up a cozy nest.
Confined together 24/7
Can put you to the test.

Is it worth it you say
To put up with this stuff?
I had no idea
It would all be so rough.

Once you see all that’s out there
You’ll have to agree –
The joys of the journey
Will set your soul free!