As I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered some interesting things about myself. Notions, observances, quirks… things such as: I didn’t quite anticipate that the opera would make me cry. Every. Single. Time. It’s almost never an option for any of my friends that know me well. Standing in front of Rembrandts rendition of Christ at the Louvre’s special exhibit had me sobbing to the point of being politely asked by a guard if I would mind stepping away from the painting because salty tears weren’t a hot look for art. Ok, so I’m a bit weepy when it comes to appreciating the creative, don’t even get me started on what the Moonlight Sonata does paired with a fireplace. I used to shake my head at my Dad when he would tear up while watching Oprah, especially her giveaways. (Don’t hate me Dad, I’m not laughing now) He singlehandedly used up the special soft tissues that we would save for those really hideous colds – tissue ration makes no sense, really. Anything that’s not three-ply when you have a horrid cold is like sandpaper. Anyway, I think my father’s secretly relieved that Oprah’s off the air now and has reinstated his manhood once more.
People mistake me for a city girl all the time, thinking that I’m very much at home in a shop that has a predominately large selection of footwear. Shoe-porn is in my DNA but as much as I love my stilettos this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m the happiest in nature. I know right? Shocking! The girl with a billion shoes loves the outdoors! I literally beam if I can get a hayride on a farm. (Way to my heart) In my tweens, my mother would take me on Safaris’ in East Africa all the time and I discovered that I was in a state of permanent bliss when I connected with the earth. Plus the real, raw wilderness is the purest form of nature, so unrefined that you have to adopt a pee rationalization. Imagine being locked in a car for a ten-hour journey up a lush mountain and no bathroom in sight. No really…just imagine. I would think that the high altitude would dehydrate me or something but knowing I had to go and then not being able to, that, that is nature’s true crime. After being teased by possible snakes biting my butt from my mother, I grew a set and trotted off into the dense jungle. I could have sworn some sort of animal was watching from above and called all its friends making me the star of their very own jungle geographic and debating on whether they ought to send a snake over or not. After the pee escapade I could actually notice my surroundings because the truth is, if you have to go badly, people start to look like urinals and you’re saying: Screw nature! Just find me a bathroom!
I observed that the color of green on the trees was the most beautiful hue I have ever seen, utterly deep and lush, I’ve never even seen that green on any color chart or painters palette. Completely fixated as I rolled down the windows of the jeep taking it all in, I may have tossed the curious monkeys along the way a few of my Cheeto’s, secretly victorious that I had possibly introduced them to suburbia’s dietary demise.
There was something about that state of happiness that had me addicted, craving for more. When you’re fortunate enough to witness natures most grand and magnificent artwork it’s quite humbling. I recall feeling shy and very small because although at that time the epiphany didn’t hit me, I was on the path to realizing that the kind of greatness our planet can offer if we look for it, pales in comparison to any skyscraper or building on the earth, I don’t care how elaborate.
My self discovery lead to a real passion for life – The environment can be ever-changing but I’ve realized that passion must be a resounding element in all that I do. I could be at home in front of a warm fire with Phillip Glass playing in the background enjoying the coziness of winter, or in England at the park near my home loving the dewy prettiness of the trees and flowers. Wherever I may be, the joie de vivre is always prevalent and pulsating. It’s almost as if I’ve activated an inner compass and the direction I choose to experience true zealousness depends on the artistic and visual buffet that geography provides.
This summer and fall I drove up North on more than one occasion, heading towards cottage country and could not get enough. The idea excited me so much that I forgot my camera on one trip and the only moment that left me consoled was when I found a few Enid Blyton and Franklin W. Dixon first editions at vintage stores. (Franklin W. Dixon was a pseudonym used to house many talented authors in the Hardy Boys Series) These books and stories are such a vivid reminder of my childhood and the hours I would spend huddled under my parents bed, my secret den, reading with fervor. Being able to amalgamate that utopia of relishing a great book I felt as a little girl, along with the sunshine, a warm September breeze and a picturesque view of horses on the horizon, I felt nothing short of euphoric. I think you can take a state of mind with you anywhere you go and merge that into your environment. I like to call it Meditation in Motion.
I’m not sure if it’s the juxtaposition of age, experience and wisdom, but I’ve grown to hold moments in nature very precious. I now stop to notice details such as the vivid red of a barn, the rippling noises a lake makes that almost sounds like a sigh because the busy boats are finally docked alongside it’s shores, or how ducks seem to want to follow me all around the edge of the water. Sometimes I swear they’re smiling, with one being brave enough to come right up to me and stare at my bag of kettle chips. (I’m a hopeless chip addict) I’ve fondly named him Che Ducksobar and no, there is no way I shared my bag of chips despite him quacking for reinforcements from his feathered army hiding in the horizons.
All images by Minelle Mir for Maison Minelle