Friday, March 8, 2013
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
The quote above, taken from The Hobbit, has proven to be my truth here at the beach. We came here to rest our souls after the ladder experience. This process, this healing time, has had the odd effect of erasing my creative. It completely disappeared, instead becoming a blank white page. White noise. A vast nothingness. These days shooting photographs doesn't come easy but I do it anyway. It may only be a sunrise, a wave, a pelican but I do it in order to remember the process, to keep my skills as fresh as possible. Quite simply, oddly, photography is not the passion that it was Before Ladder. At least for now.
Today, March 8, marks the one year anniversary of our arrival at Kure Beach, North Carolina.
Our first few months here were idyllic. Spring 2012 was pleasant with abundant sunshine. Lugging chairs to the beach we would simply sit and stare out over the ocean, watch the birds, watch the fishermen and locals who walked along the sparcely attended shoreline. Once, we witnessed the process of evaporation - moisture rising off the ocean, cooling the air - and felt its immediate effect. Sometimes we would talk but more often our companionable silence stretched long and deep. Sinew by sinew my back, shoulders and neck relaxed, gradually, bringing daily noticeable differences. Sleep was deep and sound. Solitary meditative beach walks matched the rhythm of the tides - slow, deliberate, silent. Collecting beach treasures became my new passion.
And why? Why collect bits of nature? Why do I relish the feel of a barnicle-crusted old shell in my hand? Why must I collect fossilized teeth, bone and barbs? Why do I feel the need to display them, touch them over and over, inhale their briny scent?
I think it's because I'm collecting pieces of myself.
Treasures that interest me are not the usual shells but those that are worn. Pieces, even. I was worn upon arriving here, and in pieces.
Initially, I became passionate about pieces of clam shells. I didn't know at first what they were, but stripes of deep purple, lavender and mauve undulating through smooth creamy pieces caught my eye. I found one. Then another, and another, and another. Before long I had quite the collection, and they are now proudly displayed in clear glass vases and bowls.
Clam shells are common along the shoreline but they aren't particularly pretty. Clunky, brown things like a horse's hoof can be readily found any given day. However, these clunky brown shells contain a miracle within. As the surf and currents pound them up over time they break up, the brown parts break off and the inner bits of shell are polished by the ocean and sand into these creamy purply bits of loveliness.
I like to think that's happening to me, to my soul. The brown, clunky, tired, weary soul I dragged to this place is gradually breaking up, being polished, exposing a soft loveliness inside.
Having always been active and creative, goals were penned before coming here. More photography, volunteer with the turtle project, write a book, join a land trust, journal and meditate, learn yoga and Reiki.
However, what I did instead was simply stop. Stop. I stopped and I breathed. At first, my lungs always felt like I'd been swimming when all I did was walk the beach. The fresh salt air scrubbed my lungs. Walking serpentine sands strengthened my back, my legs and I turned tan and my hair lighter. My long-neglected body finally felt firmer, felt better, felt healthier, felt rested.
So it has been a year and I think I'm finished resting. I'm beginning to feel the pull of my creative and wonder what direction it will take me. It's time to begin filling in that blank white page.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
I've been involved in introspection.
Giraffe Head Tree, as a blog, is not right anymore.
There is no Giraffe Head Tree in my life.
The inspirational tree is in my mind and always will be.
But it's my past; not my future.
To blog again I must make changes.
Internal and external.
My new personal journey is begging to be told.
But not here.
Or here.....but a different "here."
Change up the place.
Breathe new life into this personal space.
Give it a new name.
Are you still there?
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Today's challenge: Clearing out my hoop.
A very, very, very wise woman once demonstrated to me a clear and easy way to think about the effects others have in my life that I ALLOW. You see, I can be a sponge - soaking in everything, every word, every action made by others and allowing these things to color my world. I take things personally all too often.
It isn't healthy, and for someone entirely too sensitive - like me - it can be very damaging to my body, my soul, my very health.
This wise woman held up two hands full of colorful hoops. There were yellow ones, pink ones, orange ones, silver ones, blue and red ones, and one green one. "Choose your hoop," she instructed. I chose the green hoop. Green, cause I'm a treehugger. Not surprisingly.
"Step inside your hoop, so that it surrounds you." I did as instructed.
"Think of who are closest to you. Those who have the greatest influence on your life." Orange for my husband. Pink for my daughter. Blue for my father. Silver for my mother. Yellow for my sister. "Demonstrate where they are in your hoop - the more they are inside your hoop, the more they are influencing your emotions, your health." (Note: I'm paraphrasing - she said all this stuff much better than I remember!)
I'd been working hard on these relationships for some months. Most hoops were firmly outside of my personal hoop, but one remained within. This hoop leaned up against my legs. Not good. This hoop is my biggest struggle. Fast forward to today. Today, it's practically leaning vertically against my knees. I aim to shove it away. Granted, I've come a long way. This particular hoop usually stays outside my own. Sometimes it is very, very far away. Today, I have allowed it right back inside my hoop. It's time to give it an emotional shove.
It's up to me to bring my mind back around into a more healthy state of being. Concentrate on myself, my world. Today, this morning, watching the sunrise on the beach, pelicans and northern gannets flying and swooping, wild waves crashing, this quote came to mind:
"Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering." (Don Miguel Ruiz)
Flashback: Remember my post about Impressions? Well, I tend to weigh every word I say, thinking I may damage someone's psyche. Really? I don't have that kind of power but perhaps really I'm thinking about how I allow people's words to effect ME, not them.
Don't take anything personally - got it. Today, that's my mantra, my chant, until I can feel it deep in my soul. No more needless suffering. I am a strong woman. I'm going out into nature today to breathe in Spirit.
Friday, September 28, 2012
Daylight hours have been consumed with thoughts and images of dreams I've had the past few nights. A particular image from a snippet, of a part of a dream, will not let go.
The image: A giraffe breaching the ocean.
Unless I'm mistaken, giraffe's aren't known for swims in oceans. And if they were to test said oceans the event likely wouldn't be here, on the east coast of the good old USA. Also, if they did decide to take a dip they definitely wouldn't be able to jump out of the water like a whale. Okay, okay...it was only a dream. Must ponder.
My morning walks with Baylee are enjoyable again, thanks to early autumnal temperatures. Cooler temps and lower humidity is making me long for the sights and sounds I'm used to this time of year. Changing leaves, mist on the lake, the sound of loons, wood smoke, migrating birds, the Loopers traversing the Tennessee River, red buckeye seedpods, possumhaw holly berries - those experiences and many more that I've blogged about for years now under the watchful eye of the Giraffe Head Tree.
I've struggled with blog content after leaving my beloved GHT and river behind. Nothing has really clicked. The beach is beautiful, the live oaks are majestic, the salt marsh is magical. Most days I walk Baylee, then I put her in the house and then I walk me. Sometimes I walk here. Sometimes I drive to the end of the peninsula and walk there.
But back to the giraffe imagery. As you know, recently I was lucky enough to see a whale breach the waves just a few hundred yards away from where I was sitting on the beach. Easily, this has been the highlight of my adventure here. For my giraffe to replace the whale - is my giraffe head tree telling me to move on? Or telling me that it's still there, watching over the river, a respite for weary squirrels, a perch for red headed woodpeckers? Maybe it's simply on my mind and these autumnal clues are reminding me of wonderful memories from my past. Which really is reminding me that it's time to make some new ones.
What is autumn like on a little east coast beach? Time to find out...
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
You can't hear the cries of trees over the grating sound of chainsaws, the incessant rumbling and bumbling of bulldozers and bobcats.
Nor can you hear their screams over the din as stout, proud branches are hacked and pulled off, down onto the ground, loaded into trailers to be hauled away and burned.
You don't see the bird nests that are destroyed, the butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalis's that are maimed, anoles and tree frogs killed, complete ecosystems that are decimated, or the people who cry at this loss.
You can't hear the ground shriek as thick roots that anchored a living thing to the earth are yanked out and cast away as nothing.
The earth is crying today as one of hers is gone for good. I am crying, too. Marc Cohn in my ear, everything blocked out through my iPod, even that doesn't stop the faint rumble from coming through as the carnage continues.
Makes these seeds ever the more precious.