Dispatches From The North

I recently went away on a trip to Manitoulin Island.

Rare are my vacations and genuine getaways where I don’t need my cell phone, where I don’t answer e-mail and where I don’t rely on technology for much of anything at all.

The majority of my trip to the island was spent with my camera in hand and my paper-covered Moleskine folded in half in my back pocket, pen tucked inside it.

There’s something blissful that defies most descriptions I could weave together in regards to my trip up North. The drive up there was 6 hours long, but it took us through these types of landscapes and scenery. I can’t even say I minded a tiny bit because of all that, but also because I had camp waiting for me and everything that went along with it. There are a lot of pictures I got with my iPhone that may seem irrelevant but they tell the story of the trip up there and bring you, the reader, or viewer, or whatever you want to call yourself (I love you all regardless), right there with me.

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There’s nothing deeply revelatory about this post in particular, because those posts are on their way, currently in the editing process.

The crackle of exciting energy surrounded me on so many stages of this trip. It started with my getting to take the train; passing through all of that unexplored back country, then stopping in the town where much of my family lives before heading for Northern, Ontario early last Saturday morning.

I needed to get out of my familiar routine and the places I’ve gone before when I needed to empty myself so I could be filled back up again. It also thrilled me to think of that much time surrounded by the best wild parts of this province.

I took books to read and my laptop in case I wanted to do some writing while away. The most significant irony is that I packed all those extra things and started reading one book, flipping through another without even touching the majority of what I brought. I used my laptop only to upload pictures to my external hard drive and carried my camera and journal with me for the entire trip.

One of the family members who were up with us commented one morning, “Didn’t you get enough of filling notebooks in school?” I replied with, “Heck no,” while thinking to myself that I didn’t fill them enough.

It’s easy to feel inspired when surrounded by so much nature and beauty, but the truth is that my soul ached with a longing unique to the moments a butterfly begins breaking free from the cocoon.

My writing and photography stalled because both pursuits require me to get so close to my Soul that I can hear it speak and I was reluctant to listen to what it had to say.

Something of a dry spell saw me setting my journals and pen aside, yet once I started paying attention, a waterfall poured out of me and whether I liked it or not, I was spending this trip with my pen in hand, romancing the blank page. The roar became deafening and I was finally able to hear again, 10 pieces of writing into my week long getaway.

I was engaged in so many different roles and activities, not paying attention to the one thing that fuelled me the most. Writing.

There’s a steadiness on my feet that accompanies filling up a blank page. Many people find it an intimidating thing, but for me it is home and I forgot the wings it gave me.

I fell into a depression that I tried to pin down and run away from but that chased me down nonetheless, because I had something to learn that I wasn’t taking the time to allow. I wasn’t giving myself the space to breathe, let alone feel much of anything and so, I sunk deeper and fell further away from the ability to connect with that space within me that creates. Writer’s block for me, is usually a sign that I’m not truly listening or allowing the fullness of my emotions to come through somewhere. Getting that close to my source of inspiration means that I have to stop long enough to hear it. Sometimes it’s sadness, other times it’s over stimulation, there have been moments where it’s been grief, while others as simple as not getting enough sleep. When it’s all those things at once? It’s crippling because the basic “cylinders” that I fire on are all at their capacity so there’s little room for creating.

When I started taking pictures, I realized how much more color the world started to take on and the way my perspective shifted so that my other creative pursuits were better off. From the outside it looked like I was doing work, I’m sure, but all I felt was a peace and the sense that I need to do more of that. More writing and less busy work that keeps me significant, sure, but has nothing to do with what I’m actually meant to do while I’m here. It is my rudder.

Interspersed with other posts, perhaps a few in a row, I’ll be sharing my experiences and vacation days with some of the pictures I took, under the category, “Dispatches From The North”.

I can’t wait to get editing and share more than these photos from my iPhone, but until I get to posting those, here are some more snaps from the week.

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On The Wings of Miracles,

~Cheryl~

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