We’re All in Myth Together

Published November 20, 2014 by Susan Woodward

ujun20.v008.i04.cover I am so excited to hear that my article, “We’re All in Myth Together” has been published in Culture and Psyche, the Jung Journal of San Francisco! Click on the Journal cover to see the article.

The article is based on a presentation that I did at the Symposium on Mythology in Santa Barbara, California in September 2012.

The following is the video featuring students who were published in four of the, now six, short story anthologies that my students wrote for English 9 Enriched between 2009 and 2014.

This is so thrilling for me!!

Awesome Autumn Color 5K-and-Then-Some Race!

Published October 19, 2014 by Susan Woodward

10660273_10204330380954699_8082479894260167140_nAnd I came in FIRST! Yes, the Awesomeness of Autumn was in the air, and the only other competitor was the sedentary-couch me who had been catching up on Sam and Dean episodes while waiting for Rumple and Hook later tonight.

‘Twas a bit nippy out there, but with my hoodie and fleece jacket, along with the fire of watching Sam and Dean do what they do, I was plenty warm. The sun was shining, and it seems that this must be peak weekend (or darn near close) from all the vibrant color out there. Lovely day!

10703718_10204330380834696_5737243792115223303_nSomeone painted a series of murals beneath the bridge along the Erie Canal, and I do have to admit that I did break into the Erie Canal song, but I wasn’t going fifteen miles today. 5k+ was good enough for me!

10641246_10204330380514688_7167262468720902420_nAs I was looking at the canal remembering the song’s lyrics “from Albany to Buffalo,” I thought about the immigrants that picked up shovels and dug that canal. I complain when my elbows still act up from my tendonitis injury during silks a year and a half ago; I am sure the men who dug this canal didn’t have the luxury of Epsom Salts and ibuprofen.

10636101_10204330380354684_3667839456017222033_nToday I was thankful for the men who dug the canal because it provided me with a beautiful place to challenge myself, and to do more than watch fictional characters flex their brawn. Muscles and sweat made this place a reality.

10511334_10204330381314708_6118131472149777104_nNot to mention Mother Nature’s artistry.

What a lovely day for the Awesome Autumn Color 5k-and-then-some!

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 3.49mi, time: 01:03:28, pace: 18:11min/mi, speed: 3.30mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/770401905

Summer Challenge: Point Breeze

Published August 31, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Being AloneSometimes I just like to get into my Hyundai, pick a direction, and see where I end up. Since I had already gone east when I went to the cabin, explored portions of the south in Canandaigua, and due west with all the time I have had the opportunity to spend with my family in the Buffalo area, my car decided to go to the northwest along the Ontario shoreline. I thought I might end up in Lewiston, but instead my car found its way to Point Breeze.

I do like lighthouses, so I was glad to find that Point Breeze had a lighthouse museum, and it was open to the public. Not only that, but I had the opportunity to climb up to the top to look out!

Point Breeze 1

Point Breeze 2

Point Breeze 3

Point Breeze 4

Point Breeze 7

Point Breeze 5

Point Breeze 6Because there were plexiglass windows at the top of the lighthouse, you can actually see me reflected in the picture! I am glad I was smiling because I was having a terrific time.

 

Bringing Walden Home: Building My Heart’s Home in Nature

Published August 31, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Cone Flowers 1In keeping with my Walden Experiment this summer, I took pictures of the beauty of Nature everywhere I went. These next few were in a friend’s garden, and we spent a good portion of the afternoon making pickles (something I had not done in over 15 years).

Garden 1Bees were flitting from flower to flower, and I tried to zoom in on them.

Garden 2

Garden 3

Garden 4Flowers are beautiful gifts of the Earth, and I just love the array of colors.

Walden Pond Park LancasterSo as I am heading to the Lancaster Arts and Music Festival, I happen to come along this sign, so of course, I had to stop in for a peek. It was on Walden Avenue, but seeing the sign made me want to check it out.

Walden Pond Park, LancasterIt was mostly wide open sports fields, but there was a pond. I looked for hiking trails and came up empty, so I continued on my way to the Arts and Music Festival.

PetuniasThese petunias and the following Rose of Sharon were all taken during the Lancaster Arts Festival.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon 2

Rose of Sharon 1

Rose of Sharon Awakening

I also took some water pictures while in Lancaster. It was a blistering hot day (for this summer in Western New York, anyway), and I found some cool relief by going down to the creek.

Creek in Lancaster 1 Creek in Lancaster 3 Creek in Lancasterv2

I have mentioned before that the song of moving water soothes my soul, and as a slightly cool breeze alleviated the ferocity of the sun, and creek melodiously serenaded me while I rested.

The movement of the water fascinated me, and I watched it move from what seemed to be a still pool through a narrow opening. As the water moved into the opening, I noticed the patterns in the current as it moved over the rocks. One rock just beyond the opening acted like a dividing surface, akin to a fork in a road. The water split in its path, creating a criss-cross pattern on the surface. My camera does not do justice to the movement of the water, but as I watched, it reminded me of the various paths we face in life, and how our forward movement is dictated by the choices we make along our path.

No matter which way the water moved around the rock, each “leg” of the current did its own little swirling dance before reconvening in the next pool beyond. Although unseen, the current still rides under the water, still moving it forward. And that is what I see in my life. I go off on my own path, then reconnect with others, all the while feeling the effects of my choices within me.

The summer draws to a close, and I begin to plan my new school year, hoping to take with me the tranquility of Nature as my soul attempted to Build It’s Own Damn House of Tranquility.

Summer Challenge: Canandaigua and Ganondagan

Published August 20, 2014 by Susan Woodward

I have to admit that I delayed writing about this hike, and as I go on, you shall see why. However, I am going to share the beauty of the day as well as the lessons I took with me in the aftermath.

First of all, I had spent the earlier part of the day in the Canandaigua Lake region making pickles at a friend’s house. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so as I was meandering my way home the long way (I tend to avoid the thruway in favor of scenic explorations), I stopped by the lakeshore and then at the Ganandagan Historic site.

There is so much beauty in Upstate/Western New York with the shores of two Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, and the numerous waterfalls (not to mention Niagara Falls) that I am grateful to have so many choices when I want to take my camera for a ride or a hike!

Canandaigua 2

Canandaigua 3

Canandaigua 4

Canandaigua 5I love the texture of these trees as the draping branches dance on the wind.

Canandaigua 1Looking up, I saw large pine cones. The scent was wonderful.

While making pickles with friends earlier in the day, one of the ladies mentioned the Ganondagan Native American Historic Site, and I promised myself that I would get there one of these days soon. It seems that I was to get there sooner than expected because when I saw signs directing me to the area, my car took on a mind of its own and followed. Good Hyundai!

If you click on the following picture, you can learn more about this historic place in the Finger Lake region.

Ganondagan 1

The beginning of the path seemed so inviting, like a type of portal to another realm. It has been said that fey folk inhabit the forests of Ganondagan, and I was hoping to witness some truth to the legend.

Ganondagan 3 Ganondagan 2

Does this not look like a place where woodland sprites would roam? It so happened that there was going to be a Quest For the Knotties, the sprites believed to inhabit the knots of the trees, that coming Saturday. As it turns out, I was not able to make it on that day, so I decided to have my own little Knottie Quest.

Ganondagan 6

Ganondagan 5

Ganondagan 4

These places look spritely to me! I stepped off the path a few times in order to seek out these Knottie homes, but something I’d only hoped for and not actually expected happened when I returned to the path. Click on the following picture:

Ganondagan 7I happened to look off to my right when I was walking and noticed a single yellow leaf appearing to dangle in mid-air. I watched it dance in the breeze for a minute before going up to it and running my hand over it several times, thinking that it might be attached to a spider web or something.

And it kept dancing.

I shared the video (and it’s not great quality because it was on my phone) with friends, and so many tried to convince me that it was just attached to something and not a supernatural phenomenon. I am not buying that because I checked. No web strings. Nothing. Just a dancing leaf.

Others thought that it was just being carried by the breeze. Okay…but if you look at the video, there are many dried leaves on the ground, so why is only ONE moving like this?

I am certain that this was a visit from a woodland sprite. And based on the events that took place once I exited the woods (remember I said that there was some lesson that I took from this particular experience?), I believe that I was detained to watch for a reason.

When I finally did tear myself away and return to my car, I discovered that someone had smashed the driver’s side window in order to pop the trunk and steal my purse. Given that I was only in the woods a total of 40:51 (see the MapMyWalk link below…thank God I had my phone with me!), it is possible that the purse was stolen during the time that I was spent in fascination with the fey folk.

What if I had happened to return in the middle of the robbery? These folks were bold enough to do it in broad daylight in a place where there were multiple cars. But what if I had come across them face-to-face? Would I have been injured?

I am thankful that I did not have to find out. Because I had my phone, I was able to call 911 immediately, followed by a call to my bank to cancel my debit card. The stuff in my purse was all replaceable (except for the cash), and GEICO was able to help me set up an appointment to have my car fixed first thing in the morning. It made me appreciate that things are replaceable, but I am not.

I am thankful that the spirits of the woods detained me so that I remained safe, and now wiser for the experience.

I hiked with MapMyWalk! Distance: 1.16mi, time: 40:51, pace: 35:09min/mi, speed: 1.71mi/h.
http://mapmywalk.com/workout/694029543

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