Archive for April 2015
As many of you know it will be 1 year this May that I had an Atrial Ablation procedure on my heart. Three weeks ago I had an A-Fib episode, which sent me to the ER. Thankfully my heart had no damage, and the cardiologist told me having only one event in a year he considers the procedure successful. But for me feeling my heart go into what feels like a heart attack is more than a bit scary, and not something I want even once. I’ve read about the deep emotions people who have had bypass surgeries go through, and I’ve witnessed it with family members. I truly think anytime our heart is thrown out of balance it affects our psyches deeply. I know for me physically, I tire easily unable to go as fast as I want, emotionally I am more sensitive and introspective which leads me to my spirit.
Impermanence was the topic my friends and I spoke about as we were out on our Sunday morning paddle. Rains from the heavens join one body; runoff from forests run into it; overflow from creeks, bayous, rivers all join in mixing together creating a body we call by one name. Water. But nonetheless, it is in constant change. We have created temples to house holy things, solace and ritual, and these ancient temples have stood strong and solid for thousands of lifetimes. We devotedly go to our own temples believing they are perhaps one thing that will not change in life. We become reliant on routine, and believe that holy places are permanent, when in fact the only thing that is permanent is the Holy that dwells within us, but even this is in motion, and I believe that motion lies within our heart.
I’ve noticed in times of tragedy my senses are shocked with visuals, spoken and written words, I feel pain from sorrow and pain from anger. But as I go through this with the rest of the world, when I pay attention I realize what is most needed, and for me I need to tap into the Holiness within and let the light shine. Impermanence. Change. Motion. These are of natural order. I am grateful for my heart. It is command central of my body and spirit. When the world cries out because of imbalance of justice or natural order our hearts feel it, and together through concentrated intentions we can use our heart energy to send comfort, peace, and healing.
Peace and Love~Leslie Kolovich
May 7th 6-8pm central time- I will be hosting a sacred drumming circle. To bring peace within, which in turn flows outward to all humankind and to our planet. I am hoping to webcast this event so those who cannot be with us can join in visually. For information email email@example.com
The art for this blog is called, Heart Angel and is an original Leslie Kolovich pastel. Available in print only.
A Heron on 30A by Nic Stoltzfus
The following story is an excerpt from Nic’s new book on the dune lakes found in northwest Florida, Coastal Dune Lakes: Jewels of Florida’s Emerald Coast. You can order it online [link: https://squareup.com/market/live-oak-production-group-2] or at local bookstores.
Early one February morning Dad and I woke up and left Seaside headed for Western Lake to get sunrise pictures. I stationed myself at water’s edge, just at the bottom of a crescent of shoreline south of 30A. As we were taking pictures, a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) landed in the water nearby, stopping for breakfast. I continued taking pictures of the sunrise, but kept a steady eye on the heron. Stalking fish along the edge of the shoreline, the heron meandered closer to me. The sun ripened to fruition and light filled the sky.
With the light now too bright to directly photograph the sun, I slowly twisted my body and focused my lens on the bird. I zoomed the camera in on the heron. The heron continued walking closer. I froze so I didn’t scare him. Now less than ten feet away, I knew I had a good picture waiting to be captured. All I needed was for him to catch a fish. I held my breath. The heron’s neck snaked from side to side as he looked for fish below. His beak clamped shut, a deadly tool waiting to slice up a fish like scissors cutting through paper. I pressed my right index finger down on the photograph button.
Through my camera lens I saw two piercing yellow eyes quizzing me: Who are you? What are you doing here?
Stillness. A bead of sweat slid down my forehead. Despite the cold of winter, my body was warm with feverish anticipation. Please don’t fly off!
As quick as a viper’s strike, the heron uncoiled his neck and splashed his head into the water.
He resurfaced with a single seaweed strand hanging down from his beak and a fish flapping from side to side.
I continued to hold still. After gulping down the fish he flew off to another part of the lake. I walked back to the truck with a huge grin on my face—what a morning!
Headed to the Beach by Nic Stoltzfus
Earlier this month several of my aunts came south from several different states to spend some time with my family in Florida. Of course, they wanted to go to the beach. I was happy because it’s that time of year in Florida when it starts to get hot and humid, and there’s no better place to be than the beach!
When we reached the end of the boardwalk we all took off our sandals and left them there. I smiled at the other shoes lining the boardwalk, a sign of trust among strangers.
I walked to the shore’s edge and started walking into the water. It still a bit chilly, but it felt good to splash around in the Gulf.
My one aunt remarked to me that her favorite part about being at the beach is the sound of the waves. Another aunt agreed—there is something calming about the ever-neverending cycle of waves breaking on the shore. Perhaps it reminds us of a time before we were born, sloshing and swaying in the womb? Soothing. Perhaps it is that consistent and perpetual beat that calms us. Serenity.
I love talking to other people about their experiences on the beach. One friend said that her favorite thing about a long day at the beach is that “you have this fine little crust of sand, salt, and sunburn all over your skin and hair; I feel like a crunchy, happy person.” Another friend echoed this sentiment, “I might be weird, but I really like saltwater hair…it’s all gross feeling, and I love it!” There is nothing like being tired and dirty after an afternoon in the sun—I always sleep well after a day at the beach!
I swam out further, looked back at my aunts waving at me and then turned around to look at the mass of water before me.
I love the grandness and magnitude of the sea. I feel small, a mere microbe floating and bobbing in an element much larger and more powerful than me. It is humbling. The forces at work along the shore’s edge are dynamic and move with stunning rapidity. I can go walk in the forests of my childhood with sights still unchanged. But I go to the beach one day and the following day it has been visibly altered.
I swim back to the shore and walk up towards my family, the waves pushing me back to them.
There is a force, a great power at work that wipes away the footprints and memories of one day and offering up a clean slate for the next. The sea gives and takes away—at one moment it is a place with angry thunderheads, tsunamis, hurricanes, and typhoons that come crashing down and bearing destruction. This is the power of the great seas of the Earth. Yet, another moment it is soft and gentle—sometimes even the next day, after the rage of a giant storm has passed. It offers gifts: small shells washed upon the shore, bits of seaweed that look like junk to us, but are food for the shorebirds that nibble on them for their livelihood.
Waves crash upon the shore and a gentle salt-scented wind blows past my face as I dig my toes deeper into the mushy sand. I am at the beach, and I am happy and free.
Dune Lakes and Milky Way by Nic Stoltzfus
The beginning of May last year Dad and I went down to Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to do some filming and photography for the Coastal Dune Lakes documentary. The one thing we wanted to accomplish was filming the Milky Way over the dunes since its position in the night-sky was perfect for snapping a good picture. Dad had looked at the star charts and figured out that the Milky Way would be visible starting at around 2 am.
I set the alarm on my phone for 1:50 in the morning. I fell asleep around 10 pm and awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. “Did I sleep at all?” I wondered to myself. I saw lights flash and heard a guttural cycling growl outside and knew that Jeff, the park ranger who was going to take us out to the dunes, was outside in the ATV.
He picked us up and we headed down to one of the dune lakes. It was cool on the dunes at night and the only sound was the steady rolling of waves on the sand and the first peeping of summer crickets. The three of us hiked down to where Dad wanted to set up his shot with the Milky Way framed behind the dunes. Dad set up the Nikon D800 camera on the tripod with part of the outfall from No-Name Lake and the dunes in the foreground and the Milky Way in the background. After framing the shot the way he wanted it, Dad took a picture with a half-minute exposure—this allows for brighter starlight. During this time I painted the dunes with light from an LED film light. The light had a dial on the side to change the brightness from dim to oh-my-god-don’t-shine-that-in-my-face-it’s-blindingly-bright. I painted the dunes with OMG-Bright light and, after the camera shutter clicked shut, we saw a great picture in the viewer. Mission accomplished!
We took a few more photos then hiked back to the ATV. As Jeff drove us back the sliver of a first quarter moon was tipping westward towards the end of her journey across the heavens. I blinked twice and yawned, I am no night-owl. We arrived back at our roost at 5 am and the sky was just beginning to brighten, shaking off the twilight blue of the night to reveal a lighter Berlin blue reminiscent of Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” The sky was as blue as that Pacific wave rolling towards the Japanese coast and the stars were a soft silver like snowflakes falling on the peak of Mt. Fuji’s snowy peak. I yawned again and laid down to go to sleep. Goodnight Milky Way, Goodnight Moon. Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Dunes.
The Paddler’s Planet by Christian Wagley
It’s a rare moment for most of us when we stop moving and have nothing specific to do. I recently found myself in such a place, and it brought me a refreshing reminder of the joys of pausing long enough to fully see and appreciate what’s around us.
The occasion was my appointment to visit with a local elected official to discuss community issues. I arrived on-time and was asked to wait in a reception area. I didn’t want to sit down, and since I’m not one to play on my phone, I began to look more closely at what was around me.
The walls were covered in historic photos of my city. There were streetscapes, parades, fishermen, beautiful buildings long since gone, and many more snapshots of an earlier time. I took great interest in one photo of a vibrant street full of people and businesses that today is mostly empty storefronts and a hotspot of crime. It made me think that what once was could be again.
From the fourth floor window I looked out at the back of our city’s original courthouse. I marveled at how closely the large masonry blocks fit together, so perfectly tight in so many ordered rows. More ordered rows marked the roof, as slate tiles overlapped neatly to shed the abundant rain of the Gulf coast. An American flag flew stiffly from the top as a strong south wind blew-in from the bay.
In the courtyard below there were comings and goings, both human and avian. A man sat quietly on a bench as visitors and employees came and went through the secured doors. A male cardinal is his most resplendent red sang from the far end of a tree branch.
Looking high again I followed the many paths of the elaborate cast masonry detailing on an adjacent bank tower built in 1915…arches, floral patterns, cornices that ran around the top. The appeal of the building harkened back to the days when cities and buildings were made to be beautiful rather than cheap.
Gazing farther afield I watched cranes moving cargo from ships at the city port. The blue waters of the bay churned with whitecaps sent by the wind.
Had the commissioner been on time I would not have had the opportunity to stop, to observe, to notice and appreciate so many pleasing elements of the world all around me. It reminded me of an instance years ago when I waited in my car for a freight train to cross the tracks, disgusted at having the progress of my day interrupted. After a few minutes of negativity I caught myself and repackaged the moment to an enjoyable one, endeavoring to never get angry at a train delay again. And I haven’t.
I was due for a similar reminder of the good that can happen when we take a few moments to stop and look around. Thank you, commissioner, for giving me the opportunity to wait.