My morning walk greeted me with these beautiful sunflowers 🌻 along the route. #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). ☺️
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.
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.
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.
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.