Cement Ridge is a place in the Black Hills that I have only been to a few times. It requires a bit of a drive on gravel roads, and then on very rocky dirt roads, to reach the summit. And it's actually over the border into Wyoming. I had a fun adventure getting to and from there with my uncle, aunt, cousin, and her wee ones this October. The minivan wasn't quite the best vehicle for the very rocky, rutted road we choose to come down on. We made another wrong turn at the bottom and I saw even more of the Hills that I rarely get to see! It was quite a beautiful, silly afternoon.
Today's Superhero Challenge on Shutter Sisters is the kitchen counter shot - essentially, looking for and capturing the beauty in the small details that make up our daily lives. I tend to take a lot of food photos in the late afternoons when I'm preparing dinner. (See these posts:soup, peas, strawberries, slice of life, summer sunshine, blueberries, for a few other examples.) I've mentioned before how I love the peaceful angle of the late day sun as I chop and put together meals. Cooking is enjoyable to me and a creative outlet; even if I don't manage to write, scrapbook, bead, etc., I still find creative fulfillment in handling food. And there's also the relational aspect of food: eating together with family and friends, special celebrations, physical and emotional sustenance.
What routines in your day bring peace to you?
In Spearfish Canyon, one of the rare deciduous ecozones in the Hills:
The path that follows Rapid Creek, up behind Silver City. One of the most peaceful places I can think of - quiet, high canyon walls, birches and spruce, the lovely stream.
Another lovely path, this one behind Camp Judson, not far from Mt. Rushmore. It follows a tiny stream, with lots of big granite boulders and patches of ferns.
Lastly, a dirt track out on the prairie near the Badlands.
What paths are you following these days?
During my recent time at home, we threw a little India-themed engagement party for an old friend. Now, this being Love Thursday, and knowing it was an engagement party, you might think the evening was just to celebrate romantic love and an impending marriage. And, in a way, it was. But looking back at these photos, I think it was more about the love between old friends (and sisters). There is such love and comfort in the traditions of our friendship, having little dress-up parties such as this one (and this one in May), where we all wore saris, which require hands-on help for those of us who don’t wear them more than once a year. We also celebrate with special food during these get-togethers, enjoying each other’s company and old jokes.
And this time, I was appointed henna master, doing something I’d never tried before. There was something touching in the way eight women trustingly held their hands out to me, allowing me to trace designs on their skin that would remain for at least a week or two. And this is perhaps the heart of the matter: we’ve already traced designs on each other’s hearts and lives in the years we’ve known each other, designs that perhaps are a bit wobbly or uneven in places, but that remain forever nonetheless.
I tend to focus on the small details in my photos; my husband is better at landscape photos. Using the TV setting on my camera, I tried to capture some of the waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon this trip. Below is part of Roughlock Falls; visiting them in the autumn has been a tradition of autumn since my toddler days. It was so exciting to see them again in the fall after seven years. I will share more about the Canyon in a later post.
I love the unexpected treasures of autumn, finding new things where we don't expect it, such as berries and seedheads that we don't recall ever seeing before, even in familiar territory. Does this ever happen to you?
The green moss that grows down in this canyon and other ones is so striking to me these days. I love the way it looks when the sun hits it and crackly leaves are scattered on it.
Have you stumbled across any small surprises lately, whether in nature or elsewhere?
What nourishes your soul these days?
The flowers in the public gardens were still beautiful up in South Dakota, but autumn was certainly apparent in places. Besides autumn leaves, what are your favorite signs of fall?
Today I am thankful for so many things:
The chance to go home again, back in the autumn season for the first time in seven years.
A refreshing, delightful eleven days with family and old friends.
Surviving another plane trip (this time on my own) with the help of a sedative, lots of prayer, and helpful flight attendants.
Hours and hours outdoors enjoying the Black Hills in autumn.
Fun gatherings and excursions with family and friends.
Having roots in such an exceptional part of the country.
Getting to see my nephew at the cute age of 18 months.
And so much more!
What are you thankful for?