I am currently starting to get ready for my College applications. It is a lot of stress and, on top of it, loads and loads of homework. I always try to find something that can distract me. I tend to try and get everything done in one sitting but I have to remind myself that my body needs a break sometimes. I have started to go on runs to get my mind free and it works! But often the day has just been too tiring to go on a run on top of that so I go and do something creative such as drawing, editing photos, or playing the guitar!
But I must say there is one thing that nothing else can come close to that makes me happy and relaxes me. And that is just going to the barn and spending time with the horses. It’s not even the riding part, mostly I just sit down in a stall with a horse and just watch them. Two years ago a very close friend of mine graduated. She learned riding at the school and bonded with one horse especially. The horse’s name is Simba. He has such a character and is an incredibly fun horse to ride. When my friend graduated she asked me to take care of him for her, and so I did. I started forcing a bond with him. Now every time I see him I am filled with happiness and joy.
I have always had stronger binds with animals than I had with people. I guess part of it is that animals don’t talk. They just sit there and do their thing. They don’t judge you and they don’t talk about you behind your back. They have their own characters and they do what they want.
Simba has taught me a lot throughout high school and he has helped me to find time to relax and just be. He can be a brat sometimes but he has taught me to never give up even if you have a bad day. Just push through it, and it will eventually get better.
For many years I have been an active advocate and participant in wildlife conservation. With my photography, I am hoping to reach people and show them the beauty and diversity we have on our planet and show how important it is to keep it alive. There are so many incredible photographers out there that do just that, and who use their voice to stand up for animals. I have many role-models that I look up to, but recently there has been an uproar for one of them.
David Yarrow is one of the most famous photographers and one of the seemingly biggest advocates for wildlife conservation. But in reality, he embodies everything that is NOT conservation. From chasing a giraffe to get a perfect shot, to using wolves and bears that are enslaved, to game farms with a record of abuse, there is one image that has caused the public to hold their breath. A picture in which a model is standing just 15 feet away from 3 elephants.
Now many will probably wonder why that is so bad. If anything would have happened during the shooting, say if one of the elephants started to feel stressed or threatened, they could have firstly endangered the life of the model, but also their lives. If one of the elephants would have attempted to charge, he would have paid for it with his life and would have probably gotten shot. One of the three elephants is named Craig, one of Africa’s last big tuskers.
Now I wonder, is it really worth it to risk a animals life just to get a perfect shot. And most importantly, can you call yourself a wildlife conservationist while actually exploiting animals. I don’t think so.
Yarrow has finally said something and apologized for his actions. It is not much but it is a first step in making things right.
Some things really do get better as they age, and the little old house that sits at the top of a hill is the perfect example.
This little house is strong and mighty, and it has seen its fair share of heartbreaks, makeups, first moments, last goodbyes, tears, smiles, storms, fires, spring rain, and much more.
It sits atop a hill, with a view of the mountains surrounding and a window through the trees to look down into the valley surrounding below it. This little house has aged, but it has a story to tell.
The house has sat atop the same hill for over seventy years, watching multiple families grow, being a safe place for kids to run to after the rain starts, a place that is not just a house, but a home.
Even though the white picket fence with the red fence is tipping over with chipped paint, the porch does not keep the rain out, the wood floors inside are warped and worn, the ceiling leaks, and the doors do not keep the winter chill out, it has aged beautifully.
Although those little details seem off-putting to most, to me they make that little ageing house a home.
Walking among trees, flowers, and bushes, I see so many detailed shapes and colors that could be put together to represent almost anything. One homework assignment I had this week was to create a biological structure using elements of nature, and it was incredible to see how many mediums were available in the small space of my backyard.
I can see the textures of the plants and imagine how they would function in a work of art. I remember back in the seventh grade when our english teacher had us replicate the art of a famous nature artist by arranging leaves on the ground. We created the pattern of a heart using the different shapes, colors, and textures of nature. It was incredible to see how so many pieces of nature can come together and create something so beautiful.
While nature is stunning in itself, it has the capacity to be rearranged into a work of art with intent. The intention within a nature piece shows the connection between human spirit and the beauty of the natural world.
Last week was my first trip to the beach since coming out of quarantine. I had been looking forward to it the whole week and then it was finally time to leave. We packed our surfboards and wetsuits and made our way to the beach.
It was a hot day, the sun was shining and the mood was good. We sang songs in the car all the way to the beach and when we arrived we immediately grabbed our stuff and ran down to the beach. Feeling the sand between my feet and the sun on my shoulders felt so good. I hadn’t been to the beach in 6 months and it felt so good to be back. My friend and I looked at each other and just started running towards the water like two little kids. The water was cold but also warm, just perfect. We swam for a few minutes before we decided it was time to get on the surfboards and attempt to surf.
Well, we definitely miscalculated how big some of the waves were and just got slammed to the ocean floor. It was a struggle getting out in the water again as the waves just came crushing in, taking you and your board with them. When we finally made it out we waited for a wave that was small enough for us, as we have never really surfed in our lives. We kept trying and trying and every yet so tiny success was enough to keep us motivated.
We ended up being in the water for 3 hours trying to stand up on our board. At one point we were so exhausted we didn’t even have the strength to push ourselves up anymore. The sun started setting, creating a beautiful bright orange color that reflected from the ocean. It was time to go, and our teachers called us back in to pack our stuff and head back to the van.
I will go back to the beach again tomorrow and I will not give up until I stand on the board surfing down the line, even of it will take me weeks to accomplish it.
Finally. After two full weeks of quarantine, I was able to leave my room and go outside. After being isolated for so long, the simplest things make you the happiest. A hug from a friend, sitting with people, being able to go and eat at the cafeteria. I was so relieved to finally be with my friends again. The first thing I did was go on a long, big run across the campus of my school. It felt so freeing to be outside again and run through the campus and greet people.
On my third day of being out of quarantine, I was able to participate in the outdoor ed program again. We took a trip up to some local mountains. The drive there was just beautiful. Huge mountains and creeks all around. We left the van and I immediately ran to the creek. Feeling the cold water around my legs felt truly amazing. It was that feeling of freedom that I finally felt again after being isolated in my room for so long. We hiked along the creek until we came to a nice spot with shade and deep pools in the creek. We put down our bags and started to explore.
I started scrambling along the rocks going higher and higher, sitting on a high rock overlooking the little valley. I was so incredibly happy to be back in the outdoors again. I climbed back down and noticed lots of tiny frogs jumping around. I remembered how in Germany when I was younger, I would always go and catch the frogs in the lake behind our house. I started catching some frogs and it felt like I was in Germany again. I would catch one and hold it for a while before I released it back and caught the next one.
We stayed for about 2 1/2 hours before we made our way back up to the van. It was a small trip but it brought me so much happiness and I hope I get to participate in many more trips to come.
Now that it is October I now feel the need to wear warm cloths, drink hot tea throughout the day, and I expect the scent of pumpkin spice to fill the air.
But we live in Southern California, where we spend the beginning of October in a wave of one hundred ten degree heat and smoke filled skies from wildfires raging across the state.
The trees don’t turn colors from that end of summer green to stunning shades of orange, red, and brown. Instead, the leaves either are scorched from the blazing heat or they simply fall to the ground with no colorful exit.
Sometimes I find myself wishing our little town of Ojai experiences all the beauties and wonders of the “typical” fall, but I then remember what fall is like in our quaint town.
Fall is going to the farmers market early on Sunday mornings and starting to see the seasonal fruit and flowers being sold change and the abundance of fresh pies made from apples and pumpkins. It is going to the grocery store and seeing big bins of pumpkins fill the sidewalk and overtake the porches of houses. It is going to the local pumpkin patch and riding on the old tractor around the corn field. It is watching the most incredible sunsets of the year.
So no, we may not have the stereotypical fall with the cold weather and shades of orange that fills the treetops, but we have our own beautiful version of it in our small Southern California town.