|Sara and her walking companion, Riley|
Last year was one of strife and challenge for me, and one of the most difficult periods in my life. I became depressed, something I never thought I would say about myself, and ended up on prescribed medication. I really couldn't see how I was going to continue to hold myself together.
I was walking my dog Riley every day, and every day my thoughts would whirl and swirl around in my head during our walk. They were dark thoughts indeed.
I'm not sure when things started to change, but they did. I started to notice things around me. The light bouncing off the ripples on the river, the sweet scent of the wild roses blooming, the crunch of the gravel beneath my feet on the trails. Little observations that became things to focus on, taking me outside myself and my thoughts.
Being a photographer at heart, I began snapping some images with the phone I carried. Then I started writing some notes when I returned home, just simple records of the weather and some of the sights I saw along my walk.
Instead of thinking of my daily dog walk as a chore, I began looking forward to it. Our walking route became longer, along the LaHave River and up through the walking trails. I wouldn't use rain, or cold, or anything else, as an excuse to cancel our walk. We walked in all types of weather...on days so cold, my teeth would ache...on days so windy, we had to lean forward to make progress...on trails so iced over, we would have to skirt the paths and go into the woods...and on hot days as well, days so hot that I would long for my teeth to be aching with cold.
I started carrying a camera and a notebook, documenting sights and recording memories. I printed some photographs and pinned them to a bulletin board above my desk. My notebook writings became less observational, and more introspective.
The forest was working its magic. My mind was engaged with the beauty of nature, the wonders of life.
I am a photographer, but Trailings is more than a photography project for me. It was as if the forest wanted me to tell it's story. Sounds crazy, I know.
I will be exhibiting my Trailings collection, photographs and story cloths (more about these later), at two locations from April 1 through May 31, 2021. Throughout the coming months, I'll talk some more about how my daily walks through nature inspired my creativity and saved my state of mind.