The Landscape of My Soul

I believe that many of us search for answers to the deep questions of life. The quest to understand. Why are we here? What is our purpose? These questions often lead us in many directions. Trying to discover that sometimes elusive knowledge and awareness. To find a deeper meaning and connection. It is a lifetime journey. And for me this journey has brought me into the landscape of my soul.

The landscape of my soul is rich and vibrant and wondrous. It is familiar yet mysterious. It is has no beginning and it has no end. It is vast and wide and deep.

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My travels and exploration of the natural world are at the heart of what gives meaning to my soul. It is here in nature where I find my purpose and I understand better why I am here. This realization isn’t surprising. It feels like a truth I’ve known forever. But I had to uncover and rediscover it. It is all there for me I only need to reach for it.

I recognize these landscapes. It has been a journey into the wildness of my soul.

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Like the trees I am learning I can stand tall even in adversity. My roots deep in the soil finding the nourishment I need from the earth.

Like the mountains I scale with determination, strength, and endurance. Because at the top, the view is magnificent and I can see everything more clearly.

Like the wind whispering truths and the rains that wash my spirit clean

Like the rivers that flow with ease and grace reminding me to move through life in the same way.

Like the sky vast and infinite with its storms and rainbows, its dark clouds and bright sunshine, giving me hope that this too shall pass.

Like the ocean full of beauty, mystery and healing. Its ancient wisdom always teaching me what I need to remember.

All these landscape. All these places within me and around me. I see and embrace them all.

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Places of inspiration, places of joy, places of peace, places of light, places of wonder, places of harmony and places of gratitude.

This is a journey that never ends. This journey into the landscape of my soul.

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For now, it is time to wander in a new direction. I will be back here again someday.  I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement and for joining me as I wandered…

Forest Roads

Deep in the heart of Vermont lies the Green Mountain National Forest.

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Throughout this forest are dozens of roads. Forest roads. They have no names… Only numbers.

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There is something magical whenever I find myself on one. I never know what I will find or where I will end up. But it is always something that captures my heart and and my soul. There is wonder around every corner.

Lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, fields, trees, and even wild blueberries.

It is a place to get lost…Completely lost.

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But what you find is miraculous.

You feel a deep sense of awe and reverence for this enchanted place.

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And you notice a connection. Life is like a series of forest roads. You never know quite where they may lead. But along the way you will enjoy the glorious scenery, surprises, adventures, and wonders…

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Around every bend in the road.

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I am on the forest roads of my life. And it is a beautiful journey.

Saying Hello

As this year comes to a close I thought about how best to say goodbye to 2014. A year of change, challenge, sadness, growth, courage, and learning. But I realized in many ways I have already said my goodbyes. Instead I think I’d rather welcome in the New Year by saying hello.

Hello to new beginnings

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Hello to new adventures

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Hello to new awakenings

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Hello to new possibilities

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Hello to new passions

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Hello to new ideas

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Hello to new journeys

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Hello to new directions

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Hello to new dreams

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Hello 2015

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Growing Pleasure

I can remember as a young girl having growing pains. Actual physical pain as my body grew 6 inches in one year.

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I’m having growing pains again. A different sort of growth. A different sort of pain, in fact, I think I would rather just call it growing pleasure.

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This kind of growth is a very important part of my journey, of my recovery and of my life.

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When things happen…we usually have a few choices. We can numb our pain. We can run away from it or we can grow from it. I’m choosing to grow from it.

I have learned so much about myself these past few months. And I have examined myself deeply, my mistakes, my flaws and my part in all of it. And I have realized…that inside of me there is growth.

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Slow and steady…but it is happening.

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I am awakening to my life and the role I play in it. I am no longer a bystander but an active and willing participant. This is my life.

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Beautiful, chaotic, intense, playful, loving, imperfect, serene, silly, messy, bright, and exciting.

But I am wide open. To experience and to feel and to enjoy all of it.

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Growing pains don’t have to hurt. They can instead bring us incredible pleasure and lasting happiness.

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A Sunday Stroll

At least that’s what it was meant to be.

A leisurely walk in Groton State Forest, on a gloriously warm Sunday afternoon.

I had noticed on a map that there were some ponds in the forest that I had never seen. It seemed like the perfect kind of day and a perfect kind of walk to a perfect kind of destination. It didn’t involve steep mountains or climbing up rocks. Just a simple stroll through the woods.

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The trail from the parking lot meandered slowly through the woods and then connected with what’s known as the rail trail. An old railroad bed converted into biking, hiking, and walking trails.

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We had already walked about a mile. I thought the ponds couldn’t be too far away.

On the side of the trail a bog appeared. I knew we must be getting close.

The trail continued. I walked and enjoyed and took pictures. My mind empty of thoughts. Simply enjoying the beauty around me. Noticing signs of change, yet summer still very much around me.

I drank from my water bottle feeling happy and at peace. What a lovely day.

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Walking. And walking. and walking some more. Thinking around each bend in the trail a pond would appear. Another mile passed and then another. I began to wonder. Maybe I couldn’t see the pond from the trail. Maybe it was hidden deeper in the woods. Perhaps the bog had been the pond at one time. Maps are often outdated.

And just as I thought about turning around. It did appear around a bend.

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And it was stunning. Breathtaking. Magnificent.

I kept walking. Savoring and marveling at the water, the reflections, the view.

And then another smaller pond appeared. And it was just as magnificent.

I looked around. The trail connected to a road. And I thought that if I followed it, I would come back out to where the parking lot was, instead of going back the way I had come. And so I continued walking.

After another mile I wondered if I might be heading in the wrong direction. A couple riding their bicycles stopped to chat and I asked “Where does this road lead?”. Marshfield they answered. And I realized it wouldn’t take me back to the parking lot. I would have to go back the way I came.

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So I turned around.

A Sunday stroll of 8 miles. I slept well that night.

Happy 1 Year Anniversary!

Yes. It’s been a year. A year since I began writing here.

When I began this journey it was because a new chapter in my life had begun. I wanted to grow and learn from it. I wanted to feel and experience everything.  And I wanted to live life more fully and more deeply as I traveled down this new road.

It’s been a year of all those things and so much more. And I’ve realized that my story is only just beginning and that it has many chapters…and many roads. Some I did not expect and others that were truly extraordinary gifts.

So today I celebrate my first anniversary with a quote…and some of my favorite photographs from this past year.

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 I look forward to discovering what life has in store for me this year…

Class 4 Roads

If you live somewhere other than Vermont you may not know what a class 4 road is. Or they may be called something else.  Here we have close to 2000 miles of these roads. At least a few in every town of our small state.

A class 4 road is an unmaintained road. A trail really…always dirt. Often frequented by 4 wheel drive vehicles and creatures on foot. Both 2 and 4 legged.

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Over the years I have discovered many. Usually without it being my intention.  Happenstance. A dead end that really isn’t a dead end. It continues.

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Sometimes they lead to something special…a hidden swimming hole, a mountain view, a pond or waterfall.

But more often then not, they are a simple trail. Through the woods where there are no towns, houses, or people.

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Perhaps that is part of their magic. The not knowing what is there or where it will take you.

But sometimes you know…it’s only a trail.

Simplicity…

Quiet solitude…

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The beeches the only color against the winter backdrop…

Clinging to their leaves through the brutal winter…until new buds in the spring force them to fall…

Posted signs on one side of the road where logging will take place…clearing this place for the future, for more than what it is now.

Yet for today it is peaceful.

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All you need really…

A class 4 road.

Life is like that sometimes…

Wonder Land

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Yes…there is such a place. And I spent a few days there. Losing myself.

Beautiful places do that. Allow you to get lost…and be fully present in the moment. Breathing in the magic and splendor of the natural world.

 Isn’t that what vacations are for?

Many of the people I work with head south during our February break. I headed north…

To Acadia National Park in Maine.

A 7 hour drive.

The journey there and back just as wondrous as the destination…

It is a place I’ve never been. A place I’ve wanted to experience though.

A place where you can lose yourself and find yourself at the same time.

A place where the ocean soothes your soul…

and mountains that exhilarate your spirit…

A place that is truly magical…

with enchantment around every corner…

A place where real life ends…and wonder begins

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Daydreaming

It was 48 degrees today. Above zero. Sunny and warm. I could almost taste it…spring is coming. Then I saw the forecast for the week. And my spring bubble burst.

Cold and snowy.

It is still winter.

As I was cleaning up my pictures files today…I came across some that sent me daydreaming…

Of spring.

Of green lushness…

Of the world coming back to life…

And of the open road…

I know it’s coming. I just need to be patient. And remember that every season has its unique beauty.

Even winter…

Two Hour Delay

It doesn’t happen very often. In fact, I think in the 28 years I’ve been teaching, I can count them on one hand. Snow days are plentiful, but not delays.

At first, I didn’t know what to do. “All schools in the Chittenden East School District are delayed 2 hours”. I had already showered. I was dressed and ready to go.

So I went. I headed to work.

Somewhere between home and the entrance to the interstate, I decided to take a different route.

I’ve noticed on my morning commute this week some interesting things happening.

Last week the thaw. This week the bitter cold.

Here was an opportunity to look more closely and capture natures’ wondrous adaptation to this extreme temperature change.

The temperature outside read -10. But the sun was rising and with it…breathtaking sights.

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I found places to pull off.

The sun rose higher and higher. I took turns down unfamiliar roads so I could follow the river.

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The warmer water reacted with the bitter air. Plumes of vapor rose…coating the trees with frost. The sun shimmering and reflecting.

My fingers frozen. It’s hard to take pictures with gloves on. But every turn and bend in the river and road…something magical would catch my eye.

I glanced at the time. My two hour delay dwindling. I made one final stop before getting on the interstate to finish my commute.

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And made it to work on time.