I have long known that the trees, the forest……..any group of trees….those are my people. 🙂  Last week when Lara picked me up at the airport and we started the drive to her “magic forest”…I had no idea what to expect…but it exceeded all of my expectations.

Before we headed to the coast last week for our photography retreat, Lara took me to her house because she had a vision for a photo shoot she wanted to do…I would dress up in a costume she cooked up and it would be magical. I’m pretty adventurous so I was all for it…

We started out draping me in green, and then in ivy and moss…it was such a total blast…I love dressing up and it was one of the most unforgettable and wonderful memories of my life…..

When we were done I looked like this:

Many of you know of Lara’s phenomenal talent as an art photographer….an artist. I know of her as a soulfriend…..and a fellow artist…and now as a world class life-coach-esque retreat facilitator. She blows my mind.

I think one of the most loving things you can do for another human being is to truly “SEE” them…I am not talking about noticing their hair or their funky new shoes…I am talking about really SEEing who she is…what she is about…what she yearns for…what scares her…what she is made of…what she is gifted at….what she is learning…what she has already learned….how absolutely heartbreakingly brilliant her spirit is…..

Lara has the gift of doing this. She does it through her camera lens and she does it through her words. She does it through being SO PRESENT when you are talking eye to eye with her…and she did it for me. I feel like she really SEEs me. I feel like she works hard to see everyone she loves, and everyone she comes across in the world…and because I try so hard to to the same…she taught me so much about it and made me want to try even harder.

Lara, and the hours of conversations I had with her was a catalyst in my decision to unplug for the summer to make art and write. She could SEE me, and she could see that I needed to get quiet. She helped me to be brave enough to make the decision that I made.

I woke up at her house in a room in the corner of the house with windows on both sides. I was surrounded by trees. It is how I feel most at home, safest and most “understood” somehow…I know it sounds silly…but the trees are my people and it was such a gift she gave to me to let me be in her forest, but also to “capture” ME. To SEE me. I love all of the photos and you can see a whole bunch more of them here….but I wanted you to see my favorite one of all…and the little poem I wrote when I saw it…

Thank you, Lara Blair. I will love you forever and I count you as one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Dear sweet tree, you have stood there always

and you have grown so tall with such grace

and I want you to be my teacher.

I want you to teach me how to stand, rooted, proud of who I am.

and how to keep standing when the wind blows

and when Winter comes and strips me of my leaves.

I want you to teach me to grow brand new buds

and then the blossoms, and then the fruits

and then let them go so that others can enjoy them.

I want you to teach me that sometimes I get to make shade for others

and sometimes my limbs are too bare

and that there is a season for all of it, no matter what.

I want you to teach me that I am not something else

I am what I am, and I can do what I can do

and I already am what I am, and I know how to do what I can do.

I want you to teach me to grow toward the sky, limbs outstretched

sometimes even being a home for birds or squirrels

and that my branches are strong enough to hold a few others sometimes.

I want you to teach me that I will stand stronger when my roots are intertwined

with the roots of those who stand next to me

but that I will make it ok if I am in a field all alone, too.

I want you to teach me to feel beautiful when I am covered with blossoms

and when I am covered with leaves, and when my leaves turn red

but especially when my leaves fall off for a season, leaving me raw and exposed.

I want you to teach me to be still in the sunshine

and still in the snow, and still in the wind

I want you to teach me to stand tall and with grace.

Will you teach me?

xoxo…back I go to my quiet life.

missing people today…lots…but I know I can do this, it is so good…so worth it.

sending love,

melody