Have you ever heard of “forest bathing”? Have you ever noticed when you walk in nature you just feel better?
When the September 2020 equinox arrived, my husband and I had been staying very close to home for 6 months. The greater Seattle area was the U.S. ground zero for Covid-19.
The first known case in the nation was diagnosed at the end of February in Everett just 48 miles north of Seattle. Our home is located right between the two cities in the smaller town of Edmonds that adjoins Puget Sound.
Living in a smaller, waterfront walk-friendly town has its perks. Natural beauty surrounds us. Our town appreciates art and culture. It has a marina, ferry dock, art galleries, quaint specialty stores with colorful window displays, restaurants, coffee shops, and more; most anything someone in a small town could want. We really don’t need to drive far to buy what we need.
Luckily, we are more introverted than extroverted. Going for long walks and working from home on our varied projects has kept us pretty balanced. It’s also been a great time to expand our creativity as we cope with the grief for the lives lost during this time. We find grief rises and falls like waves.
Finding Beauty in Darkness
I always take my camera when I walk through our local neighborhoods, on our park’s trails, or down to the waterfront. Time in isolation nurtures my imagination.
While taking pictures of whatever catches my attention, I came up with the idea to make my photos more meaningful. Why not digitally enhance and build a relatable theme around them?
When I was walking through Yost Park, I paused at a little stream. I noticed a collection of leaves. The way the water was lightly washing around them caught my attention.
In my mind’s eye I saw nature carrying the leaves and depositing them to form them into a heart. It was like nature was saying:
“It’s gonna be alright.
I will open your heart and heal you if you let me.”
Creating Your Own Reality
Nature Opens Our Hearts was my first artistic image that inspired the idea of digitally enhancing my photos.
The drab colors of the sky and darkness of the day felt so appropriate for these times. So much sadness, collective grief, and uncertainty surrounds us. I felt a desire to do something transformative with this scene.
I felt the drabness and gray tones needed to remain to reflect how harsh things have been…and…the contrast of the leaves could express that healing is within our hearts if we just open and let love in.