By Milli Thornton
Today I have a special post for you. This is about two familiar yet ever-changing views that feed my writing a nourishing diet of nature, color and the antics of local critters. My inspiration for this post came like a double ice-cream cone of yummy, from two other bloggers on the same day.
Over at A Human Thing, where j of j’s Journey (plus a few other FoW exploits) writes of love as a powerful weapon to effect change, I was reading her post called Beyond our very human work. I absolutely fell in love with the photo of the ocean she had posted, along with the words “place of solace” from a comment left by one of her readers.
(The reader being Tall Pajama Man aka @kidstuph. Not the first time Kenneth has written something that moved me to a deeper place.)
A bit later I went to Patrick Ross’ fine blog, The Artist’s Road, eager to read a guest post from Melissa Crytzer Fry entitled Cultivating Creativity in the Sonoran Desert. On her blog What I Saw, Melissa marries creativity and writing with her visual take on the desert where she lives.
Ever tried to sum up the magnificent scope of inspiration you’ve received from two sources in two short paragraphs? Then you know how many words I’ve left out. I decided instead that my tribute to these grouse sheilas (any Aussies reading today?) and what they gave me would simply have to be expressed through the lens of my camera. And that it simply must be about
my two most visited places of solace
What I See when I venture out of my house to the one place truly worth going here in my own neighborhood.
Below is the view from the window of my office. The one that’s always there for me. The one that changes moods as frequently as I do. The one that keeps me entertained with the flutter of wings and bird song from the feeder full of sunflower seeds. (My birder friend @wordsxo would agree that topic calls for an entire post unto itself!) The picture frame for the frolicking animals who often distract me from my work.
Whenever I’m distressed I stare out my window in a form of passive therapy that never fails to contain some magical solace, even if I’m too distracted to notice it working on me.
I wish I had enough space to tell you some of the laughable, adorable, sometimes terrifying animal tales I see from my window. Like the time the chipmunk (who uses the brick ledge that passes under my window to race along the side of the house) slowed down from his usual blur, stood up on his hind legs and peered in through the fly screen to see what I was doing.
Or about how my heart leaps with joy every time I see the woodpecker—and how funny he is the way he attacks the seed in the bird feeder like he’s drilling for insects. Or the time the hawk killed a cardinal (cardinals are one of my top favorite birds, so it really hurt to watch this). Or about the way I got to hold one of the five precious bunnies born in our yard in early May.
But it’s time to move on and tell you about the other place of high adventure that’s only a block from my house: Mill Creek Park. We actually chose the house we’re renting for our Ohio interlude (my roots go no more than surface deep here in Ohio) based on a desire to be within walking and bike-riding distance of the park. We lucked out and found an almost-too-tiny-for-us house well within range of two of the access points, which means I can vary my daily route.
The first group of photos below were taken right after a thunderstorm, when the park was a mess of fallen leaves and branches but otherwise looked washed clean. After that you’ll see a little of what I see in the park on a sunny day, including one of the many wild critters (deer, owl, robin, raccoon, etc.) that I’m so lucky to encounter on a regular basis. I’ll let my captions tell the story.
I’m feeling especially excited to share these park photos with Melissa Crytzer Fry, who “grew up in NW Pennsylvania among cow pastures and corn fields, then moved to rural Ohio, then back to PA” and is totally familiar with Mill Creek Park. These days Melissa lives in the Arizona desert—whereas I used to live in the mountain desert town of New Mexico called Taos. We’ve both been making one another nostalgic lately with our respective “what I saw” moments.
On Melissa’s The Artist’s Road guest post, writer/blogger Annie Neugebauer commented to Melissa:
The desert seems to call to you the way beaches or the mountains in Colorado call to me. I wonder if every person has creativity hidden in some specific part of the natural world? It seems like it’d be worth a lifetime to look for it.
Ohio is not where my heart truly lives. When it comes to my creative soul, my ultimate place is the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia—where I hope to someday live again.
Meanwhile, as long as I’m Here Right Now, I’m lucky I’ve got two such green and glorious places of solace to feast the eyes of my soul upon.
Where do you feast your creative soul on a regular basis?
BLOGS MENTIONED IN THIS POST
Milli Thornton is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of Unleash Your Writing! and the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli also blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and Milliver’s Travels and coaches writers at Writer’s Muse.