Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Blues and Other News

Is it lame to rhyme blog post titles? Not that I would know much about blogs lately, since I haven't posted in about A HUNDRED YEARS.

I started thinking about how and why this may have happened. In the beginning, when my secret plan to quit my crappy desk job was just that, a secret, this was like my outlet. I needed to talk about the things I was feeling, so I poured my heart out... to a computer screen. But in that process, I met some amazing, encouraging people who helped me to get where I am today.

One of my goals for this year is to get back into sharing things on here. Adventures, photos, new work, new artists that I find. What once was a place where I shared my fears will now be a place where I share my inspiration. So there's that.

Backtracking a bit, a little over two years ago when I first quit my job, I was laying in bed, awake and mid-panic attack in the wee hours of the morning. Thoughts of money, instability, and an uncertain future were choking me. What had I done? Left a job that paid well to do something that most people don't even credit as a job? Eventually I calmed down and decided to turn my balled up, worried energy into something positive, and began a project that I called 40 Works In 40 Days (you can read it HERE). Which went great... for a while. Are you one of those people who has a real problem finishing what you start? Yeah... me too. My project went uncompleted, and I honestly still shame myself over it from time to time.

Soooo, now here we are in the dreaded dead of winter, the time of year that just makes everyone cringe. I have lots of wonderful travel plans lined up for the spring, which may make this time drag by even more painfully slowly. I decided I need a project. One that I swear on all that I know I WILL FINISH. To prove to myself that I can, to have something to focus on rather than the cold and snow and ice and slush, and to complete something I can be proud of. One of my favorite artists, Mae Chevrette, did a 30 Works In 30 Days project last year and it was such a joy to watch her challenge herself. So I'm trying again, from the beginning. More on all this later.

Back to winter. While the fresh blanket of snow that fell last night is definitely beautiful, I am already longing for color, leaves, green grass, and flowers. My Adobe Lightroom library has about 4700 photos in it, some organized, some not, and getting lost in them is a regular happening during these months. Revisiting old adventures and favorite places, remembering what I was thinking and feeling... it's a little journey I can take without leaving my desk. Here are some of my favorite memories and places:

Summer adventures at the Dawes Arboretum. Hours spent wandering the gardens, orchards, and woods. This place has everything: a swing by a lake, a cute old farmhouse with lace curtains, Japanese gardens, hiking trails, an overgrown old well, flowery meadows... Read that as Stefon from Saturday Night Live would say it ;)

Dawes in the spring is equally beautiful, and there was one day last year that I sat in the grass under the blooming apple trees just overcome with how amazing the world is.

Speaking of spring, It is also when I go on one of my favorite adventures. To my "secret place." Which really isn't secret at all, because it is off of a well-traveled bike trail. But I still think of it that way. A place in the woods where little yellow flowers carpet the ground, and each year it is just as magical as the last.

And also in the spring... the magnolias. The ever-impressive, beautiful magnolias.

There's another arboretum in northeast Ohio, in a tiny town called Kirtland. Holden Arboretum is quite a drive from Columbus, but I've made the journey a couple of times now:

And going the opposite direction, down into southeast Ohio, there is a dreamy place called Clear Creek Metro Park. I've only been once, on a gorgeous summer day where there wasn't another human for miles. Sunny meadows, rushing water, thick woods... I can't wait to go back this year:

Lastly, I always have to revisit my beloved Hobbit Trail experience. A surreal, mossy forest on the Oregon Coast that I WILL return to sooner than later: 

Aaaaand then I look outside and see white, with some brown and gray mixed in for good measure. 54 Days until spring, 145 until summer, and plenty of time for me to finish one ambitious creative project :)