forest

Spiritual Connection

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Spiritual Beech Trees of Catalonia, 2018

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” (Martin Buber)

Such it was for me. After the tram rid though long-dead, eroded volcanoes we had lunch then showed up again at Lava Parc for our next adventure – a carriage ride to see the beech forest. I kept asking Xavi “are we there yet?” “are we there yet?” and he patiently said “…..you’ll know when we’re there.”

And I did. The carriage lunged up a hill and slowed down in a sea of green – the beech forest. We all grew silent and the guide told us this grove of trees is due to a particular soil mixture that occurred due to the volcanoes. And, these trees only grow here, in the heart of Catalonia, and in Iceland.

We slowly clambered out of the carriage, which left us to hide behind a curve in the road.  Our chance to experience this place without intrusion.  As we fanned out I left the group and went into the forest.  Touching a larger beech tree I began suddenly to weep.  Tears flowed from emotions deep, deep within me, and would not stop.  I wanted nothing more than to lay here in this forest and sob.  Most of my photos are blurred from emotion.  My reaction was not unnoticed by Xavi who, when it was time, came to help me out of the forest.  Tears blurred my vision.  My family, who know me well, gave me lots of hugs and we left the forest behind.  I am weeping while telling the tale.  This was an unexpected experience, a surprise reaction, a truly rare moment that I’ll never forget.

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Reflections

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It’s all in how you see things….

Recently, we shared our home with two friends; Bo from Wisconsin stayed one week followed by Al from Texas who stayed the following week.

Early in Al’s visit he and I walked the beach looking for shark’s teeth and treasures.  He remarked that the beach isn’t his favorite place because it never changes.  Imagine my surprise.  Our friend is an avid explorer with a remarkable curiosity that I admire.  All environments change daily, minutely, assuredly.  Because I photograph this beach on a weekly, sometime daily basis I have never been disappointed by its diversity of mood.  Our amazing earth delights me – desert, prairie, river, sea …. meadow, mountain, forest, canyon … grassland, farmland, tundra, rainforest.  This planet changes daily, either minutely or in grand ways.  The trick is to sit still and notice, appreciate them all for what they are without judgement.  Al has documented incredible beauty in Texas with the promise to introduce me to the luscious diversity of his environment when we visit.  I am really looking forward to seeing his world. 

The week before our Texas friend arrived we had the pleasure of hosting one of my Wisconsin blogging friends for a week.  Bo, a remarkable woman and incredible nature photographer – had shared with me through our many animated conversations her thoughts on taking that first shot in the wilds.  First, she sits quietly until the buzz and hum of nature creeps into her soul.  She listens for birds and insects and the cracks and snaps of nature.  She smells the air for subtle scents.  She journals her feelings about the place and how it makes her feel.  She begins to look closely at her surroundings, noticing the light, angles, shapes, geometry and colors.  Only then does she consider her first shot. That, my friends, blew me away. I often simply begin clicking just because it’s there without actually noticing what’s before me.  That sounds odd, but its true.  Five years ago I found Bo’s blog skimming the blogroll of another friend.  Its title caught my attention – Seeded Earth.  Well, that is just so “me.”  Over time we have become fast friends – soul friends. 

Certain people have a gift for truly living and seeing our world in all its glory.  Bo and Al’s visits freshened my vision of my beach and its various habitats – maritime forest, salt marsh, brackish river, ocean and sand – and I fell in love with it all over again.  Al eventually saw the beauty of salt marsh and beach after a week of “immersion therapy.”  He left here refreshed and fully appreciative of the beauty of this place.  Thank you my Texas and Wisconsin friends for your wisdom and your forever friendship – you both bring such joy into my life.  Each of you in your own way reassures me, accepts me, lifts me up and teaches me new appreciation for the blessings before me.