Summer Assignment

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Following My Bliss: Stoney Brook Park

Published July 2, 2013 by Susan Woodward

100_0291“The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it’s so great, because for a little bit I’m out of my brain, and it’s got nothing to do with me.  I’m not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean?  And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness.”  — Chris Evans

That’s me walking into the waterfall at Stoney Brook Park in Dansville, New York (click on the pic for park info).  From where I stood in the water looking up, it was a complete moment of awe and, yes, bliss. As I got closer and it washed over me like the most powerful shower imaginable, I felt the stress of the end of the school year being pounded out of me.   At that moment, nothing else mattered.

Another trip I took this week as part of my Follow My Bliss campaign was with my daughter, Illy and my granddaughter, Jordan.  I had taken all the kids when they were younger, but this was Jojo’s first time, and it was exciting to see her eyes get big as we rounded the bends while hiking the creek and came upon larger waterfalls each time.

100_0269This was the beginning of our journey just as we were getting ready to enter the creek and approach each waterfall right from the water itself.

The first waterfall was relatively small, and she practically skipped up it.

100_0276Illy had to carry Jojo at this point because she was afraid of the rushing water as the falls got bigger and bigger.

100_0281She was starting to get a little braver by this point, but as she got closer, she turned away from her mom and ran back to shore with me.

100_0288I loved the sound of the water rushing over the rocks.

100_0299Three generations of women simply enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer…

100_0293…and leaving a temporary mark on the site that was immortalized by my camera.

100_0302The final waterfall at the end of the trail…and look what I see:

Pride Rock CollageI just couldn’t resist.

100_0309And I just want to point out that I climbed these stairs with no huffing, puffing, gasping, or stopping because I am NOT SMOKING!!  I simply walked up them right to the top as if walking up a regular flight of stairs.  And when I came down later, I was able to walk down with one foot right after the other instead of stepping down with my right foot each time and bringing my left next to it.  That’s how I came down all stairs for years after I injured my knee.  Now with all the exercise I am doing, my legs are strong enough for climbing!

That is blissful.

Following My Bliss: Niagara-on-the-Lake

Published July 2, 2013 by Susan Woodward

joseph campbell“Follow your bliss.  If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.  When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open doors to you.  I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.  If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that would have opened for anyone else.”

– Joseph Campbell

My summer assignment from the First Unitarian Church of Rochester falls into this thread.  We are being challenged to go outside our comfort zones and stretch ourselves…and I take that as having the courage to follow my bliss.   I plan to document my summer blissings here with plenty of pictures!

One thing I love to do that brings me peace is to go out and take pictures, especially flowers and other nature shots.  My daughter Robin and I took a day trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada last week.  I have always loved the little town with all its shops and flowers and theatre goers (the Shaw Festival is there).

niagara_fallsIf you click on the map, you will be taken to the Niagara-on-the-Lake home page.

So the first part of the blissful event was getting to spend time with Robin and Sean the evening before, and then she and I got an early start the next day.   It was also much more blissful to drive along the Niagara River on the Canadian side by crossing the Peace Bridge in downtown Buffalo instead of driving across Grand Island to take the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls on the American side.  Let’s face it… the American side is not a pretty drive.

Tuesday was a great day to do this road trip because I do not think we would have had the awesome parking and accessibility to the village if we’d gone on the weekend.   The streets and shops were also not as jammed packed as I have seen them on Saturdays or Sundays either.  One thing that really stands out is the sight of the beautiful gardens that line the streets.

100_0247 This is an Angel’s Trumpet flower.  I had never seen one before, and I absolutely loved the color.  This picture really doesn’t do the plant justice.

100_0248I shot the inside of one of the “trumpets” and was surprised at the swirling star pattern of the petals.

100_0251 100_0254These other flowers are also gorgeous.

100_0260This just gives a taste of what the gardens along the streets look like.

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Part of following my bliss included stopping at an Irish Tea Shop for a “cuppa” and later sharing a picnic lunch that Robin packed at Dufferin Islands near the Falls.

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My plan to continue with following my bliss is to get out in the world and bring parts of it home with me through pictures.   I am feeling more active now and I want to celebrate the time I have left on this earth by being part of it and not my couch.

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