While out for a hike with my lovely photographer friend, we had gone across the train tracks and were scrambling down to the river, when we saw a man, alone, working at gutting some fish (we think?). He was by some Pondarosas close to shore, and I remember we were a little leary, as, all over the news that day they were warning the public about a dangerous man the Police were hunting down. So, of course, our imaginations were in overdrive when my friend saw something dart up a massive old Pondarosa just to the left of the fishing Man. I remember saying “No, no, its a porcupine” LOL! Nope. It was a Bobcat, drawn to the man cutting up fish and we had scared it up the tree. It was unreal how no one had seen this Bobcat until we scared it, and, even looking through the pictures now, his camouflage is uncanny. Unsettling.
It’s Wildlife Week!! Take the time to play outdoors, hike in the forest, feed the birds & marvel in the world around you.
Roland and I will be participating in the Walk for Wildlife on Wednesday and are raising funds for the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Please donate to the cause at our website here.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation’s mission is to conserve and inspire the conservation of Canada’s wildlife and habitats for the use and enjoyment of all.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation conducts its activities through a cooperative approach – working with people, corporations, non-government organizations, and governments to inspire collaboration in achieving wildlife conservation. We will use the best available science-based information to develop our policies, programs and communications. CWF prides itself in being accountable and transparent in fulfilling our mission.
I usually link all my art to nature. I do landscape & travel photography, both my books have strong ties to mother nature, and it’s where I go to get most my ideas or clear my head. Its my muse and sanctuary. But, since becoming pregnant and developing symphysis pubis dysfunction (terrible name, I know), which is just lots of pain in the hips, back and legs, I haven’t been able to do much hiking. Or walking.
It began to feel like I was having a creative block, no great ideas coming in, and not much going out. The loss of having adventures hiking to the mountain top, around desolate lakes, in dark, ethereal pine woods, made my mind become dull. Pregnancy can be tough enough without your work, your passion, weighing down on you as well. Until I began reading Twyla Tharps The Creative Habit. She labels these times where your “creativity fails you” as ruts, “when you ‘re spinning your wheels and staying in place”, because that is literally what it felt like to me, both mentally and physically!
Before, I was driving my sports car, laughing madly, creating art as I cruised along. I was driving like Cruella and…. I hit the ditch. Now I’m stuck, because old rear wheeled sports cars don’t come out of deep, slick mud easily.
I was so stuck.
I may have also begun to feel a little sorry for myself, considering nature was the setting and an important theme in my books, AND in my LANDSCAPE photography LOL! UGGG! I was just so creatively depressed. I am sure many can relate with that sense of staring at the black page/canvas/etc.
I knew I had to switch gears. Twyla Tharp’s book made me see a little clearer. She writes,
“A rut can be the end product of bad timing. For some reason you are out of sync with the world. You can have the brightest vision with the most mind-blowing idea, but if the world isn’t ready for it you can spin your wheels for years”.
It was like a an epiphany, I was trying to finish my fantasy book (soooo close to being done!!) and prepping a second book that I planned to use for NaNoWriMo, both of which were closely tied to nature, but I couldn’t go and gather more ideas, more feelings, more information without the stark reminder that I was house bound. These books were just not a reflection of me in this time period.
Another section in The Creative Habit is about having an organizational system for your projects. At the beginning of every endeavor, she opens a box.
“I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance. This means notebooks, news clippings, CD’s videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancer rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me.”
What a fantastic idea. So I copied it. I put works in progress for my photography in folders, labeled clearly, saved for another day on my hard drive. I bought simple folders and moved my two books into them and filed them on my shelf. I know where they are, they aren’t just hidden away, lost causes from another life, but just put on hold. Still visible and within easy reach should I want them. Then I moved on.
And a funny thing happened. I started seeing beauty in simple objects. I wandered around my garden. I used different filters and styles to create photographs. And, slowly, I began creating OTHER things.
I’m finding ideas in the city now, instead of just nature. I take myself out for lunch more often and people watch. On weekends I go sit at my favorite coffee shop and daydream, write, and, again, people watch. I even take my writing with me when I go to the Doctors,
which, wow, can you EVER eavesdrop. Nurses gossiping, people running into friends (or frenemies), drug rep’s sales pitches, couples whisper fighting. Its brilliant. I NEVER would do things like that before, and I feel like It has opened up a whole new world of dialogue, insight, ideas and understanding for my art. I even go for car rides with my husband when he’s got running around to do, just to sit and listen to music, enjoy the drive, relax, LOL! (And, yes, the dog comes too, because us cooped-up free spirits need outings when we can take ’em!)
I even have a new book idea for NaNoWriMo, an urban fantasy/murder mystery ghost story. Its still developing, so I’m sure I won’t make the 50,000 words for November, but, really, its all about the spirit of forcing yourself to write daily. To rally yourself for a creative endeavor, where at the end you can congratulate yourself for at least trying, having fun, joining a community and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
We snuck out to Cowichan Bay and Juan de Fuca Provincial Park on Vancouver Island for a couple days and enjoyed some quiet, beautiful, sunny days on the beach/hiking/boating. I seriously can’t believe how great the weather was for us, as the last two times we went to the Island it was nothing but rain and fog, lol! Not too fun in a tent!
Our first day out there, we went to some friends of ours who live out by Cowichan Bay and they took us out crabbing. It was absolutely gorgeous out and they took us all around the area along Salt Spring Island and out to Maple Bay, etc. I think I spent the whole time wishing I could win the lottery and live in one of those houses clinging to the hills with a little boat and dock. Anyway, we didn’t catch much, but I had never been crabbing before, so it was neat just to watch what was going on. Plus they gave us enough crab to have a massive campfire feast on our first night camping, YUM!
After stocking up on crab, we took off to Port Renfrew and checked out Avatar and Botanical Beach Provincial Park. Side note, I read a great article from Hakai Magazine about a female teacher named Josephine Tilden from University of Minnesota, who established a teaching station at Botanical Beach for all her female Botany students. I loved walking around the crater like beach and envisioning these enterprising women from 1901 in their dresses and boots.
The tide-pools were teaming with life, I have never seen anything like it. Every pool was completely different, filled with colorful, strange sea creatures. It was fantastic.
We camped at China Beach, in Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. It was a nice campsite, super clean facilities and somewhat secluded camp sites. Our dog Belle came with us and OMG did she love the ocean, especially the waves, which she would run away from lol!
We realized that we didn’t pack utensils, so my husband made us chopstick using the one camping knife we found LOL!! The 3rd picture above was the Banana slug that loved Belles dog food.
Below are just some pictures of the beaches you could hike down to. The hike down to the beaches was about 2-5 km depending on the hike.