Photography: Enduring Moments Outdoors

CS Sherin, July 17, 2019

We took a road trip to Decorah, IA about a week ago. We had never seen the 200 foot waterfall there, called Dunning Springs. The top of the waterfall starts from a small cave up towards the top of the bluff. The spring becomes a pretty impressive and relatively long and big waterfall. The naturally air conditioned air surrounding it was a bit of a heavenly welcome on a humid summer day.

My husband and our little dog weren’t able to climb all the way to the top of the trail along the waterfall, since it gets quite steep, slippery and hard to balance with a dog in tow. They let me go the extra five or so feet up, where I could see the origin of the spring that gushes, amazingly, into a vigorous and beautiful waterfall. This first photo is of three harmonious trees that stand right above and to the right of the waterfall, above where I stood.

Three trees above Dunning Springs, Decorah IA, July 2019.

The view of the source for Dunning Springs waterfall, Decorah IA, July 2019.
Photo credit: CS Sherin

Dunning Springs Waterfall, Decorah IA, July 2019.
Photo credit: CS Sherin

And here is the look of a happy, proud, sweet, thankful dog on a hike with her people.
Photo credit: CS Sherin

That’s all for today. I hope you enjoyed this week’s summer photo fun!

As always, if you would like to order a full resolution archival quality print or digital copy of any of my images or art, contact me.


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Photography: Moments Become Memories

CS Sherin, July 10, 2019

The cool thing about photography is that it provides an enduring insight into fleeting moments. This is one of the reasons I love it. As someone who has always preferred being outdoors as much as possible (with some exceptions), nature photography allows me to stay present with it even when I am indoors a lot of the time. There are usually important memories and moments that are strengthened and better remembered with the photos. With summer now in full swing, this is the time for exploration with my camera.

Here are some of my favorites that are also recent.

Peonies rise up to meet the azure sky.
June 2019

Leopard frog determinedly rests upon a lily pad, covered in cottonwood fluff.
June 2019

A chipmunk smiles for me in Hixon Forest.
July 2019

A little milkweed plant blossoms in my garden.
July 2019

As always, if you would like to order a full resolution archival quality print or digital copy of any of my images or art, contact me.

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Dream Work: Some Other Life, “Ixchel Dream”

CS Sherin, June 27, 2019

I believe in the power and importance of dreams, because that has been my experience. No one taught me to listen to and pay attention to my dreams. When I was in middle school my dreams simply began getting my attention, and I listened. I began writing down my dreams of my own volition. There was a knowing within me that dreams are something more. I honored them and found solace and wonder with them.

Having worked with my own dreams for a long time now, I have learned that a decades old dream can still hold power and importance in the present, and for the future. There are some dreams that are powerful — and that power does not wane. Some dreams remain special because they hold a healing power and/or deep insight and Mystery.

When my then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I first went to Mexico, we became engaged on the beach under a full moon. It was a special time, and a beautiful trip. That was 21 years ago. (This July, we celebrate 20 years of marriage!) It was on that big first trip that we encountered the Mayan ruins together. On that trip, and for a time after it I had vivid, spiritual dreams influenced by being present there. I wrote them down, and honored the wonder and mystery of what was unfolding in my dreams.

If I hadn’t written those dreams down, I would have lost a lot of the crucial details, and would eventually have forgotten all of it. Instead, the dreams were active, living parts of my spiritual and personal growth and development.

About 9 years later, in 2007, I had another dream that seems somehow related to that time in 1998. In this dream, I found myself being a woman of another time and life. This dream was so powerful for me that I was moved to create a painting to honor it. The following is an account of that dream. I call the dream “Ixchel Dream” because the dream seems to indicate or is in someway reminiscent of the Mayan rainbow goddess, Ixchel.

Ixchel Dream

Watercolor painting by CS Sherin, 2007.

I am an Indigenous woman. I speak a different language. I am aware of who I am. I belonged to a privileged class, but I left. I am now wandering, seeking something important. I approach the edge of a jungle that meets a river. There is a clearing nearby. I look down at the river. I see a wide vivid rainbow and feel a mystical presence. I say the name for what the rainbow means to me in the language I speak twice. (It sounds like: Ixchel-coatl or Quetzalcoatl.) I look at the rainbow twice. Then, I turn and walk to the clearing. It is vibrantly green. There is a sloping hill at the end of the clearing with large grayish boulders and smaller stones. A deer appears from that area and rushes towards me. I feel scared. The deer lightly brushes my shoulder and continues on, rushing down to the water. The deer then stands still at the river, maybe to drink. I get a good look at this deer now. I am surprised to see a singular unicorn-type horn on the deer’s head. The horn is at least two feet long, maybe longer. I feel a strong surge of hope within and around me.

The feelings in the dream were: determination, wonder, surprise, fear, joy and hope. The feelings upon waking from the dream were: astonishment, engaged passion, appreciation, bemused by the mystery. The action I took in response to the dream: I wrote it down, thought about it and sat with the gift and mystery of it, and I created a small watercolor painting of the woman pointing to and touching a rainbow.

The feeling from the painting and dream remains strong. It is: proof of hope and joy contained in a spiritual depth — at a time when it is desperately needed, as time has been rough.

The painting now resides in Guatemala, with a friend of a friend, who is Mayan.

What I got from this dream was a deeper sense of other lives and realities. There was not a sense of me needing to take ownership of this life. It was an experience, a gift, and a moment of beauty and insight. The deer seemed to be a surprise that gently touched on a loving affirmation that arrives when finding or being close to finding something important. This comes after leaving what was comfortable and familiar.

Dreams hold gifts that are timeless. Sometimes they can’t fully be appreciated until much time has passed. In writing down our dreams and in sitting with the memory of them respectfully, we may find that we track and access a natural magic, medicine, and hidden knowing that can make all the difference for our paths in our waking lives.

Even in accessing and thinking of this “old” dream of mine today, so many years later, I find the energy and gift of it is still palpable and special.

Photography: Peony Season, Part Two

CS Sherin, June 12th, 2019

More peony photos for Spring. Hooray! As always, if you would like to order a full resolution archival quality print or to buy a digital copy of any of these, please contact me.

By the way, I recently found out that white peony tea is not at all a peony (Paeonia). White peony tea, Bai Mudan in Chinese, is from the Camellia sinesis plant.

This is good to know, as the leaves of the peony plant are not edible. However, the root of the peony (Paeonia lactiflora) is used in Chinese herbal medicine and has many uses.


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