nature

Day 1: 30 Days of Nature

Trees are my favorite plants. Day 1 of 30. #30DayNatureChallenge

Trees are my favorite plants. Day 1 of 30. #30DayNatureChallenge

No one will argue the meditative effect time spent in nature has on our psyche. As I welcome September and, soon, the autumnal equinox on September 23, I can’t help but feel sadness that my lush garden will go away and the beautiful trees will lose their leaves and go into hibernation for the winter.

I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors this year, in my urban garden harvesting pounds of delicious tomatoes from my nine tomato plants, hiking the trails in Portland, Oregon, and taking my dog Scout on really long walks. I’ve continued to journal every single day since my birthday last year in August, taking time to reflect on my days and what matters most to me.

I’m going to miss the warmer weather and as much as love my sweaters and boots, or my hands wrapped around a hot cup of coffee as I cozy up with a good book and warm blanket, I’m trying to figure out how to bring as much of the outdoors inside this winter season. I realize how much nature nurtures my soul and I need it.

So this month, I’ve decided to try a 30-day challenge by posting a nature photo each day on my blog. I’m not sure if I can do it for 30 straight days, but here goes. Maybe the images will bring me joy when we’re in the heart of winter and I start plotting my escape from the cold clutches of Chicago’s unforgiving cold days and nights. It’s worth a shot (pun intended). ☺️

Stopping to Smell the...Tulips? - Week 3

I’ve been visiting the Chicago Flower and Garden Show annually for several years now and one of the reasons I love it is because it makes me hopeful that winter is on the way out and spring is around the corner. In this case, spring arrived (at least on the calendar) on Wednesday, March 20. We still need to wait a couple of months before we can plant any vegetables but I’m hoping to get started with growing my herbs indoors next month before I bring them outside. Baby steps, friends!

Pink tulips are my favorite spring flower. Seeing them annually at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show makes me smile.

Pink tulips are my favorite spring flower. Seeing them annually at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show makes me smile.

Women’s Journeys in Fiber usually has an exhibit at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show and I love to walk through it and take in the art. This one by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. It’s not big but it caught my attention. The theme of this year’s exhibit had to do with time and her piece, entitled Time, asks the viewer to try and recall the last time we took the time to stop and smell the roses. The piece has a little girl clutching flowers, inhaling their aroma and appreciating the sunny day and the innocence of childhood. “In time, storm clouds of life gathered in the distance, and the rumblings of adulthood could be heard,” the artist writes in her description of the piece. “Before long, these clouds hung over us, dark with the cares that now preoccupy our once creative minds.”

She goes on to write, “I am learning more with each passing day, to make choices and find balance for my soul. Never let the child-like innocence be clouded out by your storm clouds. Life is just too short.”

The art piece by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. Perhaps not to smell the roses, but to consider how I’m trying to balance the storm clouds and life’s demands with more opportunities to feed my creative soul.

The art piece by Natasha Lehrer Lewis made me pause. Perhaps not to smell the roses, but to consider how I’m trying to balance the storm clouds and life’s demands with more opportunities to feed my creative soul.

It was another great week of seeing friends and meeting new ones. I’m really enjoying these artist dates as well as getting out to see people. This winter has been brutal for me so it’s nice to feel more alive and happy. Thank goodness the sun has been making more appearances, too!

Soaking In Nature and Natural Light - Week 2

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I’ve embarked on a new year-long project to take an artist date a week. This week’s artist date appears to have a bit of theme as it reminds me that spring is around the corner and I cannot wait to get outdoors more often, in open space and around nature.

Plant Shop is the perfect little shop that is packed with beautiful plants for your window sill or corner in your room that needs some greenery.

Plant Shop is the perfect little shop that is packed with beautiful plants for your window sill or corner in your room that needs some greenery.

I learned of a new-to-me plant shop, appropriately called Plant Shop, so I set out to find it. It’s as darling and charming as I read and so glad I visited. I followed-up that visit with a trip to the New Independence Library, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite libraries because natural light streams through the enormous windows.

The New Independence Library’s windows and stepped seating area are among the many reasons I love this contemporary Chicago Public Library. It’s easy to get a lot of work done in this space since it feels both open and calm.

The New Independence Library’s windows and stepped seating area are among the many reasons I love this contemporary Chicago Public Library. It’s easy to get a lot of work done in this space since it feels both open and calm.

Sometimes it’s fun to explore in nearby neighborhoods. A change of scenery can do wonders.

Sometimes it’s fun to explore in nearby neighborhoods. A change of scenery can do wonders.

Finally, I had a pocket of time and the weather was nice enough that I decided to go for an extended walk with my dog Scout. Across a busy street from where we live, there is a small neighborhood that is filled with beautiful American Craftsman homes. We trekked in that direction and one corner home always has something to catch the eye. I was drawn to these pretty bird cages that hung from one of her trees.

My New Love Affair - Week 1

Don’t these handmade papers beg to be touched?

Don’t these handmade papers beg to be touched?

There are many things in life that make me happy. Textiles, handmade paper, art, and trees are among them. Books and coffee, too. So when I set out to start dating again, to take myself out on “artist dates” as Julia Cameron from The Artist’s Way calls them, I started jotting down some places I could visit to reclaim some of the creative feelings I seem to have lost in the bustle of day-to-day life. I suppose it’s no surprise that my first date was to BLICK, an art supply store in Chicago’s Loop.

While Cameron advocates for time alone during these artist dates, and I’m committed to doing them alone, I’m also trying to schedule more time with friends. I was able to follow-up this lovely artist date with a real date with a friend who I met for lunch nearby at Miller’s Pub, one of my old haunts when I worked around the corner and attended graduate school at DePaul University.

If you care to follow along, I’m hoping to use my blog to stay accountable and an online diary of sorts as I post my weekly artist dates here. If you have any recommendations on places to visit, please let me know. My goal is to keep these dates going through the end of the year.