Falling Water

It’s easy to dream of going to far off places. Deserts, jungles, exotic animals, and languages I don’t understand all seem to call my name. But what about exploring close to home? This weekend a friend and I went to a beautifully painted canvas of waterfalls, bridges, and hiking called Ricketts Glen in Pennsylvania. And it was freaking amazing.

Here are a few photos of our day trip:



Where will you explore next?

Birds Sing Through the Night…


PC: Kevin Young

I know because my window is open at night now that the weather is warming up. I like the ventilation and fresh air clearing out my stuffy room after a cooped up winter and chilly spring. More importantly though, I live in a neighborhood at the treeline of the Central Pennsylvania State Gamelands, which means I get a good dose of nature right outside that window.

So, window open, lights out, and for a few nights in a row it’s been nothing but restless tossing and turning. Drinking water, walking around, stretching, and feigning sleep haven’t helped. And the more determined I’ve been to sleep, the more my body and mind have refused that quiet bliss. My bed too hot, the air too cool, but really I’ve been doing what I shouldn’t- stressing about people, relationships, and circumstances that I can’t change. Until last night.

It was around 3:30 AM, I sat straight up with a frustrated sigh when I noticed a shift in the darkness. A quiet singing. It was a beautiful melody, faint and distant in the woods. With each passing note, the voice sounded gentle but determined. I felt like the song was written for me, after all, I was the only one awake in that part of the world at 3:30 in the morning. So I climbed out of bed, leaned out my window, and breathed in the cool air, listening.

Within 30 minutes, more voices added to the melody, each distinct and soothing. Within an hour I saw the faint, faint outline of the sky lighten with the sun. By now my mind felt more at peace, so I closed the window, turned to my bed, and slept for a short 2 hours. That’s when the full choir of birds decided to sing their loudest, waking me up again. Apparently they really wanted an audience. I gave into their song once more, quieting my mind to appreciate their joy in sharing their sweet voices.

I realized then that even in the darkest, birds do sing. When the night is black, and not a soul is around except for you and your racing thoughts and emotions… the birds taught me it is possible to sing. It is possible to hold onto joy. Or when it’s really dark and lonely, it is possible to let others’ joy carry you. Because before you know it, the worries of the night will give way to a pink and orange painted sky and rest will come if you allow it.

So sing in the dark.

It is what brings the light.


Shades of Green.

Danist SohPhoto Cred: Danist Soh

I live in a part of the USA overrun with a diversity in weather for lack of other diverse things that could mark this town and region.

Fall is colorful or grey; there is really no in between with bright skies and orange-red leaves one day that turn to a stark grey barrenness as soon as the wind shakes those leaves from the branches. Winter brings ice, snow, sleet, and a bitter cold that reaches its fingers all the way to my bones making it miserable to be outside, or like that one winter, it was in the 50’s for most of January; one just never knows. Spring is wet- colorful like fall with tulips, red clover, and other flowering plants- but it is a long time coming as often it can snow in April and rain through May; sun where are you?

But it is July now, so I want to focus on summer. Summer in my area is marked with rain and overcast skies most days. Sometimes the rain comes out of nowhere in a black-grey, thundering mass rolling through the sky, that pelts the earth with big, hard raindrops. The rain cools down the mugginess and humidity that makes the air heavy. Rain also takes care of the bugs, giving a brief respite to the buzzing around my ears; mosquitoes that just love my skin; bees that have a knack for picking me out to explore and chase around in circles, leaving my friends in peace; or, my favorite was yesterday, I was writing at a park and a daddy long-leg spider literally climbed 1/2 way up my calf before I felt him on me and I karate chopped him off my leg. Gross!

It is these humid, rainy, buggy days that put me in a state where the “grass is greener on the other side.” Moving to the northeast of the US from sunny, southern California, the grass is not literally greener as there is an intense water deficit in CA. But I yearn for the long, dry, sunshiney days that CA is known for. Picnics are never cancelled on account of the weather and the term “rain date” is a foreign concept. I long for heat where I don’t feel sticky, beaches, and palm trees reaching for the cloudless, blue sky above. And most of all, I miss orange and fuchsia sunsets showing off above the ocean.

classbbrainforest.comPhoto Cred: Pinterest- ClassBB.wordpress.com

The rain where I live keeps me inside and I worry about summer getting away from me. When I do go outside, there are the perils of before mentioned bugs and insects and the black garden snake with white stripes lining his back that I saw in my mother’s garden.

Then, in a brilliant moment, the rain disappears and I see a rainbow shimmering in a hazy arch- such a mysterious array of color that MUST have a leprechaun with a pot of gold at the end of it. The clouds part and a mist rises from the trees into the sunlight, radiating an ethereal beauty. The downpour subsides leaving a dripping from the wet leaves in it’s wake, sounding like faint music. And when I inhale, the earth smells mossy, sweet, clean, and refreshed.

Rick McEwanPhoto Cred: Rick McEwan

I realized after the last storm that the sun always shines again and when it does my favorite color green shimmers in various shades of hunter, jade, and sweet lime. Green is everywhere in this piece of the USA that I live during summer. And it’s beautiful, life-giving, fresh, and rich.

It takes the rain to bring out the full force of green in the gardens and woods around me.

Bringing this to a personal level, I can’t have that rich, beautiful, colorful life I imagine for myself with out the rain and storms of life to grow me. Like the earth and gorgeous summer green that marks the east coast, the hardships of growing up are necessary for me to reach my potential.

Whether it’s the job application and resume dance that seems to lead me further down an endless, dark tunnel and I just want to give up; the dysfunctional family drama that seems to pop up just as I am ready to forgive again and take down the walls I’ve built to protect myself; or the financial stress of not having a steady paycheck to pay for medical bills or the last visit to the mechanic for my car…

I have the hope from watching the world around me that these clouds of life will clear! The rain will stop. And in the storm’s place will be a rainbow, sunlight, mist, a unique beauty, a new song, and most of all a full, rich, thriving life in the shades of green that are unique to me. So let’s be real. I love the rain. The world needs it.