inside the ordinary

 

Ordinary day.

Ordinary beach.

Extraordinarily poetic.

The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. 

– Veronique Vienne

For more (extra)ordinary photos, check out the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge!

P.S. I think this is my shortest post ever. But I just ruined it by writing this post script.

 

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turn left at the cow

When friends visit me for the first time, I tell them, “Turn left before the blackberry bush.” And then I add, “You might see some sheep when you turn onto my road!!” These are the kinds of helpful details you don’t get from Google maps.

It’s quiet here.

lonely barn

Here is my house. (This, of course, is not my house. I’m not crazy enough to post a photo of the exterior of my place because although I like you, I don’t like you enough to want you to visit me. Unless you show up with a bottle of wine, in which case I love you very much.)

It’s what I wanted. Sometimes I hear roosters crowing, horses laughing, sheep gossiping, cows crooning. The wind picks up every afternoon, always wanting to show off a bit. Other times it is eerily silent. Hearing myself think can be pretty boring and often leads to no good. On a positive note, I’m able to hear potential killers coming up to my door. The crunch of gravel and dry leaves acts as quite an effective burglar alarm.

I always like to find the silver lining in all of my worst-case scenarios!

The best thing about living in the country is the nature and the space. And I realize that saying ‘I live in the country’ is relative. I know there are countrier places, but this is the countriest place I’ve personally ever lived.

country living

Every time I come home, I feel a sense of peace. It is restorative.

This is my happy place, y’all.

For more happy places, check out this week’s WordPress photo challenge!

Oh, before you go, I have a joke for you. Why did the turkeys cross the road?

we own the road

Answer: I have no idea. These turkeys stopped in front of my car and started gobbling the heck out of it. They were either trying to mate with my vehicle or pick a fight. Maybe both. I’m sure this kind of thing happens in the city (substitute the turkeys for people), too.

the force of nature

This week’s photo challenge is Forces of Nature.

Hurricanes! Snowstorms! Lightning! Me, sneezing! Richard Simmons!

There are so many directions one could go, but I’ll choose to go this way (all of the photos in this post were taken at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood, CA):

the force of fog

I have a soft spot in my heart for fog. I grew up in it. Coastal fog, that is. It’s not as thick and terrifying as CA’s Central Valley Tule fog.

Coastal fog is wistful, gentle, mysterious, and romantic. The kind that Mr. Darcy walks through to get to you – if you’re into that kind of thing, which I’m totally not. If he tried walking through Tule fog, you’d never see him again because it would eat him alive and spit out his bones, spelling out the words “Darcy Sucks” just to get inside your head.

I currently live about an hour from the coast, but that lovely fog finds its way in, rolls around and then generally burns off several hours later. Recently, I went for a hike and the morning started out pretty foggy (see above). Then…

morning dew

Something weird happens when I go hiking. I don’t know when to stop and turn back. I started to climb higher and higher, my badonkadonk getting grumpier and grumpier. But I couldn’t stop. It was the force, ya know? I had to keep going. I had to get there, wherever there was.

Turns out this is where there was:

above the fog

The force of nature, y’all.

Listen to its call.

tree line

Keep close to nature’s heart…
and break clear away,
once in awhile,
and climb a mountain or
spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.
~ John Muir

get lost!

traffic jam

I hate getting lost.

It’s guaranteed to happen when I go somewhere for the first time (or the ninth). I’ve moved to a new town but am slightly familiar with the area, which means I will only get lost 75.6% of the time as opposed to 88.2%. These numbers are based on a highly statistical study of numerical and epic proportions.

That’s why GPS is my BFF. Sure, it directs me to dirt landing strips and businesses that sell hot dogs AND spare auto parts. Yes, sometimes it tells me to continually keep making u-turns. To my credit, I only listen for the first hour then realize it’s a practical joke. Oh BFF…you so crazy.

But get me in the woods? Getting lost has never been so good.

Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino, CA

Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino, CA

In fact, I prefer not to be found for hours. So if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. I’d tell you where I’m going, but then I’d have to find you and not kill you, but tickle your love handles. (I know you’re kinda sensitive about them.) Or I will shout the word “Eureka!!” over and over again, even though I haven’t discovered anything of importance. The choice is yours.

I’m losing time explaining my torture techniques. I’ve already said too much.

Getting lost now…

Hendy Woods State Park, Philo, CA

 

it’s an ephemeral life

into the fog

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.”

~ Pema Chödrön

When I discovered that Friday’s WordPress photo challenge was the word ephemeral, I knew I wanted to post some cool photos I took one foggy day. Then I started to think about fleeting moments. Then impermanence. Which led to the pondering of Buddhist concepts. And finally, my head burst into flames.

(My head is always doing strange and unpredictable things, like the time it fell off and rolled around on the ground. Well, I don’t need my head to write this post. Truth be told, I was barely using it for my previous posts anyways.)

I don’t consider myself a Buddhist. I believe and don’t believe in a lot of things. I simply decide what feels right and then try to apply it to my life. Intellectually, I get the ideas within Buddhism, but they can be difficult to practice for someone who likes permanence. When Joy enters the room, I want her to stay awhile. I ply her with wine and chocolate and the gyoza she likes from Trader Joe’s. But she always has somewhere else to be. She has a very busy schedule, that Joy.

i heart fog

Enter, Gratitude.

Photography is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If you’re like me (oh, lucky you! the sweet realization!), you capture these moments in time and then – everything changes. You feel gratitude because what you saw and experienced will likely never happen the same way again. And if you’re like me (oh, dear. poor you.), you get secretly giddy over the fact that while you were living in the moment, you captured it and made it permanent. Take that, Buddhism!

In case you’re wondering, Buddhism can take this kind of ironic taunting.

Joy, pain, gratitude, disappointment…they flow in and out, in constant motion, and sometimes they are tangled up together. I suppose that’s what happens when you stay open – you allow more of everything to enter. It definitely helps to keep your sense of humor and perspective intact. So that’s why I’m going to end with the photo below, because photography also causes you to notice things in a different way, which is, like, totally awesome, Dude.

If you’re like me – twisted, easy (…careful…), head falling off all of the time but knowing how to play it off, and willing to laugh at yourself, then…Joy!! I proclaim that we can be friends!! Because honestly, this has all been a test of our potential friendship. Okay, okay…here’s the photo:

when trees photobomb each other

when trees photobomb each other