Photography: California Vacation, Part Three

CS Sherin, August 14, 2019

A slice of a fallen redwood with dated rings, at the entrance to the trails at Muir National Monument in Mill Valley, CA; July 2019. “909 AD tree is born…1930 tree falls.”

It was a beautiful day this past July when we drove up to Mill Valley from the Bay Area in order to visit Muir National Monument, aka Muir woods, where some of the ancient redwoods have been protected as a National Park by Sierra Club founder, John Muir, since 1908.

Looking up at a congregation of ancient redwood trees bathed in sunlight, July 2019, Muir National Monument (Muir Woods State Park). Photo by CS Sherin

We were enthralled with the forest that is home to countless ancient trees (the oldest in these woods is at least 1200 years old, and redwoods can live well over 2000 years old) as well as so many groves of baby redwoods. The tallest redwoods in this forest are almost 300 feet tall. Further north they get to be closer to 400 feet tall. We spent over four hours simply hiking the trails there, from top to bottom, and all around. While there wasn’t overwhelming evidence of wildlife, the further we got from the crowds of people below on the walking trail, we did encounter tiny birds, a curious chipmunk, and ravens flying silently above us.

My daughter, Samara, inside and beneath a mammoth redwood. July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

Being among the tallest and oldest trees I have ever seen, for a short while, was a beautiful experience. I experienced it as an atmosphere of complete goodness, as if the ancient rootedness exudes an aura of deep peace, and contentment ripples outward.

Towering giants of Muir woods, July 2019, Mill Valley, CA. Photo by CS Sherin

Giant clover, the main ground cover along the floor of the redwood forest in Muir National Monument, July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

The ground cover, amazingly, was mostly a bigger than usual kind of clover. I would say that it is 3- times bigger than the clover leaves I am accustomed to. Since Wild Clover is my brand name, I have to say, it meant a lot and surprised me to see the clover there. No one talks about the giant clover dressing the ground around the ancient giants in northern California, and I completely understand why that detail would be lost. As I spoke about this with a fellow writer and friend, it pleased our humor when I mentioned that perhaps the average wild clover would be inspired to become giant among such companions towering above. My friend suggested that perhaps they are, in fact, aspirational clover. This made us laugh happily. Brilliant!

Here I am stretching up to photograph the upward view, beside Samara, July 2019. Photo by Jeff Sherin

After coming back to the Midwest’s Driftless area, the trees here who stand the tallest and oldest now look like children to us, because of the tree world scale we now know. It is a strange and welcome awareness.

Impossibly tall redwood trees leave us feeling smaller than I felt the first time we walked through Manhattan; July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

Most of all, I come away from Muir woods with, first, a deep sense of gratitude for National and State parks and beaches. Second, and just as deeply, I am thankful that the redwoods and other ancient and giant beings still exist in this world. At times, all the destruction being waged against many things — including health, biodiversity, and nature — overwhelms.

My first encounter with these giants has left me with a sense that some great natural magic of this world is and has been protected.

From that deep gratitude, I say to you and all: may we arise from the current attacks by hatred and corruption upon many fronts — stronger, wiser, and with greater measures of caution, restoration, and protection for all that is precious, naturally magical, and irreplaceable in this world and life.

This is not quite the conclusion of the California Vacation photography series! Stay tuned next week for the conclusion. 🙂


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Photography: California Vacation, Part Two

I have always wanted to see northern California. This past July, that wish was fulfilled. We were able to rent a Prius via Turo, and drove all around the Bay area, from Mill Valley and Sausalito, to Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco, and then back and forth along Highway 1, and down to Santa Cruz. It was an adventure I would happily repeat. Even the driving across a 7 mile bridge (San Mateo-Hayward bridge) was okay, because on either side is such beauty to be in and explore.

Last week’s Part One highlighted some closeups I captured at the state beaches. Today, I will highlight some of the vistas and grandeur:

The morning was misty and cool at Gray Whale Cove State Beach, CA and the surfers were out. Photo by CS Sherin

The mist was still hanging on around lunch time, at San Gregorio State Beach, CA.
Photo by CS Sherin

Standing at the top of a trail above part of San Gregorio beach in the afternoon.
Photo by CS Sherin

On another cool and blustery morning, Shark Fin Cove (along Hwy 1, CA, near Santa Cruz) was wondrous as seen from the trail above. Photo by CS Sherin

The shape that gives it the name — Shark Fin Cove; July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

A beautiful view of the flowered hills above Pescadero State Beach, and my daughter, Samara, on the trail heading down. Photo by CS Sherin

Pescadero beach is another gem along Highway 1, not so far from Santa Cruz either.
Photo by CS Sherin

There are many fun tide pools to explore, sea birds around, and interesting paths up above, on, and around Pescadero Beach. Photo by CS Sherin

The next installment in this series will feature our trip to Muir Woods National Monument, where we got to spend an afternoon with the ancient giants. See you next week!

Photography: California Vacation, Part One

CS Sherin, August 1, 2019

We had a great time in the Bay area this July. From state beaches to seeing the ancient redwoods in Muir Woods, nature was where it was at — and is at. In general, we consider a good vacation one in which we can connect with nature, relax on a beach, encounter other cultures and diversity, and walk for many, many miles each day to explore nature and local experiences.

Being near the ocean and in the woods, and out in the sunshine with the cool ocean breezes brought me a great deal of peace, strength, and even some real, lasting rejuvenation. I am thankful for the experiences and movement.

To start, here are some close-ups from some of the hand full of state beaches we visited along Highway 1:


Mole Crab (upper left), mole crab skeleton (lower left and right) on San Gregorio State Beach, CA; July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

Sea kelp washed ashore on San Gregorio beach. Photo by CS Sherin

Rock ledge at Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz, CA that quickly got submerged by higher tides; July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

Seagull prints in the sand at Natural Bridges beach. Photo by CS Sherin

A misty morning at Gray Whale Cove State Beach, CA; July 2019. Photo by CS Sherin

That’s all for part one of my California vacation photos. Stay tuned next week for another installment.

In the meantime, you can see more photos from this trip (that won’t be featured here) along with an article I wrote for the Rollerbag Goddess website — The Complete Guide To More Sustainable Travel. And if you haven’t visited the Rollerbag Goddess lately, they are up to some very exciting things over there. Go check it out, and I’ll see you next week. 🙂

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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Summer Deals On Wild Clover Services And Products

CS Sherin, July 3, 2019

Take advantage of these great summer deals!


25% off e-book purchase:
Recipe For A Green Life 2nd ed. e-book.
Coupon code: RKWWZ15US8.
Purchase here.
Expires Aug. 27, 2019.


50% off your first project:
Editing, proofreading, & research services.
New clients only.
Expires Sept. 3rd, 2019.


25% off your first astrology consultation.
Expires Sept. 3rd, 2019.


Image by Maklay62 from Pixabay

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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