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into.something.better.

into.something.better.

Into Something Better – November 2017 – Ontario Canada

November 30, 2017

Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

We as a group of artist mothers from all over the world are making it our priority to turn off the tv/video games so that we can give our children the sacred experience to connect with the fast disappearing natural world. We will freelense our adventures into the wild and share them through this monthly project.

On a drizzly Sunday afternoon in early November, bribed away from screens with popsicles, we ventured across the field of winter wheat to where the bush and the corn stubble meet. There children became children again. They climbed and balanced. They poked things, threw things, collected things. They looked with eyes wide open at the changing seasons. Fall on the ground, but still green peering through at us. We noticed and we saw. It was the most glorious of fall afternoons.

Up next in our little circle is Kelly Sutton and her family’s Thanksgiving spent in Yosemite National Park (I know I am more than a little jealous!)

Up next in our little circle is Kelly Sutton and her family’s Thanksgiving spent in Yosemite National Park (I know I am more than a little jealous!)

into.something.better.

Into Something Better – October 2017 – Ontario, Canada

October 31, 2017

Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

We as a group of artist mothers from all over the world are making it our priority to turn off the tv/video games so that we can give our children the sacred experience to connect with the fast disappearing natural world. We will freelens our adventures into the wild and share them through this monthly project.

Long ago, 1860 to be exact, William Davis and Fannie Duncan settled on this plot of land in Sombra Township, Canada, a marshland the very first European explorers deemed to be uninhabitable because of the mosquitoes. They cleared one acre of standing trees per year, and eventually, thanks to Dutch engineering, vast drainage ditches were dug and field tile laid to drain the water from this soil so that crops could flourish. The field of winter wheat we walk on to get to the last of the standing trees on the back side of those cleared fields, is still drained now. Every 15 feet, running north/south, are drainage tiles.  From the back of the field to the deep ditches at the other end. The woodlot itself though is still marshy and teeming with mosquitoes, snakes and ticks, so we rarely get anywhere near it in the summer months, but in the fall and winter we walk the old logging trails, using a scythe to keep a few feet of old logging trails cleared enough for us to pass through. It is never ending, this European sensibility which is so deeply ingrained, that thinks we need to exert our humanity over nature and tame it into submission. The trees and flowers and butterflies and foxes watch us patiently and know that eventually we will figure it out.

Up next in the circle is Joni Burtt

into.something.better.

Into Something Better: Foggy September Mornings In Canada

September 26, 2017

Sleeping In The Forest

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

– Mary Oliver

We as a group of artist mothers from all over the world are making it our priority to turn off the tv/video games so that we can give our children the sacred experience to connect with the fast disappearing natural world. We will freelens our adventures into the wild and share them through this monthly project.

A couple of foggy September mornings waiting for the school bus, and a few moments in awe of the magic of spiderwebs and dewdrops.

Up next in the circle is Kelly Sutton and her family’s adventure in Yosemite National Park.

into.something.better.

Into Something Better: Sailing in Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada

August 28, 2017

Sleeping in the Forest

by

Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me,

She took me back so tenderly

Arranging her skirts

Her pockets full of lichens and seeds.

I slept as never before

A stone on the riverbed,

Nothing between me and the white fire of the stars,

But my thoughts.

And they floated light as moths

Among the branches of the perfect trees.

All night I heard the small kingdoms

Breathing around me.

The insects and the birds

Who do their work in darkness.

All night I rose and fell,

As if water, grappling with luminous doom.

By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times

Into something better.

Inspired by this breathtaking poem by Mary Oliver, a group of freelensing Mothers from around the world have come together to let our children explore this great planet of ours. Through the fields, forests, streams and rivers our children roam. Untethered and disconnected from the intrawebs of modern life. And because we only freelense on these adventures, there is a side of embracing the unexpected and the random.

One summer morning, I got a phone call. One I didn’t want, but one which might save my life. Then I got a text, a few days late, asking if we wanted to go sailing. We shunned the sardines packed on the beach. The masses. The line ups for burgers, bathroom stalls and parking spots. For the solitude of  floating on The Lake. With 3 people I love dearly. My son, my daughter and my brother.

The quiet. On this day of all days. Called to the water. This place called Grand Bend. Of Course.

Up next in the circle of freelensing adventures is Heather Robinson, fearless leader and inspiration to all of us.
(PS. an ultrasound a week later showed the lumps my mammogram had found were thankfully only cysts, and nothing to be concerned about)

Up next in the circle is the master of freelensing, Heather Robinson

into.something.better.

Into Something Better: Cooling Off In The Shadow Of The Falls – Arkona, Ontario, Canada

July 24, 2017

Inspired by the poet Mary Oliver, each month we seek to bring our children Into.Something.Better. Something unscripted and unplugged and sacred. In our various corners of the planet, we venture forth. And we the mother’s, Freelensers all of us, bow down and receive gifts in the form of photographs of our children within nature, in all of it’s unexpected vastness.

(I was even inspired to write a poem while we were in the midst of our little adventure in the Rock Glen Gorge on the hottest day of the year)

Dancing dragonflies

Shimmering iridescient blue & green,

An ancient ritual in the shadow of the waterfall.

A millennia of history exposed, vulnerable

The air and wind and water and ice

Releasing ancient seabeds

From beneath. Not forever anymore.

Quietly resting, slumbering.

Until the water rushes forth to the earth and rock,

Released.

The first glimpse of sunlight in eons, maybe longer.

Dappled.

Just below the dancing dragonflies,

Through the shimmer and cascades.

We seek,

The relics and remains of primordial sea creatures.

Up next in the circle is my fellow Canadian Joni Burtt and her spellbinding images of her children in their family garden. It is simply magical! You can check it out here, and make sure to follow the circle around to see everyone’s glorious and surreal images. You won’t be disappointed!

into.something.better.

Into Something Better: Rocky Mountain Explorers – Squamish, British Columbia

June 27, 2017

We are a group of mothers & photographers who freelense. We live in all corners of this planet. Inspired by the Mary Oliver poem Sleeping In The Forest, we all have a common goal. To get our children into the wild. Into Something Better. We know it’s out there. We just have to put away the devices to find it. While we are at it, why don’t we freelense it too.

When I was researching ideas for activities for my family’s recent trip 4,138km trip from the very flat, and sanitized Southwestern Ontario, to the wild, wild west of Canada’s Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, I very quickly discovered that the term “off the beaten path” has vastly different meanings in BC than it does in the most populated part of Canada where I live. The first thing I noticed about BC, even from the air, is how the city of Vancouver and it’s suburbs, where our hotel was, are just sitting precariously on the edge of the wilderness. Honest to goodness, you are going to die if you go off the path wilderness.

A few days into our trip, we loaded up the kids into our rental car, and along with my husband’s childhood best friend, his wife and kids who live live in BC, headed north on the Sea to Sky highway, which travels from the skyscrapers of downtown Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean to Whistler. At almost the halfway point is Squamish, home of the Sea to Sky Gondola. Once we were at the top of the mountain and taking a potty break, a woman who worked there saw us with a gaggle of kids and recommended a family friendly, interactive trail to the lookout. I’m pretty sure this was actually her job to be watching for city people like us with rowdy kids who are in need of some guidance. Without any hesitation, it was her advice which made our adventure that day an adventure and not a fiasco. And only one kid got lost, but then he got found and all was good.

(After the fact, I found out from my Mom, that she and my Dad had honeymooned in BC, and had gone up the Sea to Sky Gondola and hiked this very same trail, 51 years earlier)

Up next in the circle is my fellow Canadian, Joni Burtt getting Into Something Better in a New Brunswick river.

Up next in the circle is my fellow Canadian, Joni Burtt getting Into Something Better in a New Brunswick river.

into.something.better.

Into Something Better: Rainbow Falls, Ontario Canada

May 29, 2017
Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver
I thought the earth remembered me,
She took me back so tenderly
Arranging her skirts
Her pockets full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before
A stone on the riverbed,
Nothing between me and the white fire of the stars,
But my thoughts.
And they floated light as moths
Among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
Breathing around me.
The insects and the birds
Who do their work in darkness.
All night I rose and fell,
As if water, grappling with luminous doom.
By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times
Into something better.

I am so honoured and excited to be a part of this group of Creative Goddess Freelensing Mamas from around the globe as we strive to get our kids outside and Into Something Better, whether that is a grand adventure or just a few steps outside of our doors.

This month, my daughter and her bestie wanted to explore a secret “waterfall” we discovered this spring, and have dubbed Rainbow Falls. The girls brought a picnic, a blanket and some art supplies to paint the water as it tumbles from the drainage ditch at the end of our road, down the steep bank and into the river.

This spot is actually a junk heap where generations of local farmers dumped their garbage, but in the midst of rolls of wire, discarded farm implements and rusty mattress springs, there is beauty and growth as the earth reclaims this riverbank. The blossoms welcomed us, and the trickling water serenaded us on our afternoon adventure.

Up next in the circle is the insanely talented Anna Larson from Olympia, Washington.