Archive | March, 2011

Earthy crunchy

18 Mar

Well, I’m off to the Grand Canyon in t-minus 2 hours!  Hard to believe I’ll be standing on a cliff looking out and down at miles and miles of sand and rock.  When you see pictures of it and think about visiting, I don’t think you really fathom the immensity and epic-ness of this natural phenomenon.  Going through the daily rut of classes and work at a suburban university, it’s hard to visualize all of a sudden being in the middle of such an out-of-this-world place.  Nevertheless, in just a few short hours, I’ll be in the car on my way to Utah and Arizona for a week-long backpacking trip with the Northwestern Outdoors Club.  We’ll be stopping in Moab, Utah, first for a rafting trip down the Colorado River and a hiking trip in Canyonlands National Park.  Then, it’s off to the south rim of the Grand Canyon for more hiking.

I’ve never been on this long of a camping trip, and I’ve never gone backpacking like this so it should be an interesting and amazing adventure!  As my mom can attest, we should become an official sponsor for REI because of all the gear I had to get for this trip, but I know that it will be a priceless experience.  The week will kick my butt physically (thanks France for the laziness and carbs) and push me mentally, but I couldn’t be more excited!  And it’ll check two more national parks off my bucket list, so I got that going for me, which is nice.  (Caddyshack? Anyone? Bueller?)

A week to forget about classes, exams, internships, grad schools, and jobs.  A week to push myself, meet new people, and expand my horizons (becoming even more earthy crunchy; although, I’m not sure I want to hug any cacti…).  I’ll take it.

In light of my backpacking excursion, here are some of my favorite nature pics from my semester abroad.

Neighbor with the trees

14 Mar

As I get ready to wear in my hiking boots, fill up my pack, and head out to the Grand Canyon for spring break, I took a particular liking to this poem that I came across in my book last night.  As if the opportunity for camping, hiking, rafting, camp food, camp games (ninja–Foley ’10), and amazing scenery wasn’t enough, I know that this experience will mean a lot.  Consider this trip a warm-up to my (hopefully) summer at a national park and score one for “earthy crunchy (dirty) hippie“.

The Out-Doors Man

He must come back a better man,

Beneath the summer bronze and tan,

Who turns his back on city strife

To neighbor with the trees;

He must be stronger for the fight

And see with clearer eye the right,

Who fares beneath the open sky

And welcomes every breeze.

– –

The man who loves all living things

Enough to go where Nature flings

Her glories everywhere about,

And dwell with them awhile,

Must be, when he comes back once more,

A little better than before,

A little surer of his faith

And readier to smile.

– –

He never can be wholly bad

Who seeks the sunshine and is glad

To hear a songbird’s melody

Or wade a laughing stream;

Nor worse than when he went away

Will he return at close of day

Who’s chummed with happy birds and trees and taken time to dream.

–Edgar A. Guest

Wild Wild West

Day of rest

7 Mar

So, I’ve been busy.  I don’t think I have the best timing ever, because I always seem to start things right before I get a rush of things to do.  Example, joining the local gym to get back in shape, but joining right before getting slated as president, starting the Northwestern cycle of endless midterms, and starting props work on a roommate’s theater show.  Not the best time to try to inspire myself to take time to go to the gym every day.  Also not the best time to try to take the time to sit, relax, reflect, and write on my blog.  Perhaps my childhood blonde roots are showing through.

And perhaps I am now procrastinating studying for my final in Human Sexuality tomorrow (yes, the Northwestern psychology Human Sexuality class, and yes, I did see it).  But only perhaps.

Well, it’s Sunday, so maybe my first reminiscing post shall be of one of my favorite European sites–churches.  God knows I have visited hundreds–seemingly, thousands–of churches, cathedrals, basilicas, abbeys, monasteries in my life.  At the time, I used to whine whenever my parents would drag my ten year-old self to Notre Dame de __(insert city name)__, but God knows I love them too.  The grandeur, the magnificence, the art, the architecture, the stained glass–the stained glass! my favorite–the façades, the life of these places.  I am far from a religious person, but I can appreciate and find my “religion” in the power of these buildings (perhaps it is even because I am not religious that I find these places so absorbing).

Whether in ruin, a tourist trap, or a traditional corner church in a remote village, I will never lose my interest and fascination for them.

One of my favorite things, and the first thing I do upon entering a church, is to take pictures of and study the naves:

And the light, no matter if it is from a chandelier or streaming in through stained glass, it breathes life into the vast, stone, otherwise somber sanctuary:

Peace, love, and cathedrals.