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Adventure Art, Sand Dunes and Change

Updated: May 21, 2020

So, just to put it out there, we are brand new at this whole blogging thing! But we are super excited to share our adventures with you, and hope we can create a space where together we can enjoy what nature has to offer. And, let's be real: sometimes what nature has to offer is not exactly what we were expecting (or hoping!) Take this last weekend for example. Earlier in the week Colter had taken his Zoom classroom to a gorgeous, quiet lake next to the sand dunes where he could attend class while also creating art. It was such a great experience for him that he wanted to share it with the fam.


Our vision of how the weekend would turn out: Wake up, eat breakfast, leave for the sand dunes, have hours of fun at the sand dunes playing in the water, making art, finding bugs and building sand castles, and then leaving for home with exhausted children that would sleep for hours.


How it actually turned out: Wake up, eat breakfast, scramble around the house looking for all of our supplies, drive to the sand dunes, arrive after TONS of dune buggies and dirt bikes (we had NO idea this was such a big thing at these dunes!), carry both girls because they were afraid of the loud noises, put the blanket down because Mini (nickname for our almost 2 year old) refused to put her feet in the sand, and spend an hour trying to convince her to have a good time.


Both Colter and I love the outdoors, though, and want it to be a big part of our family culture. So failure is not an option when it comes to helping our girls learn to love new outdoor environments. For this goal, Colter was the real hero of the day. When Mini wouldn't put her feet in the sand, he put her up on his shoulders and took her on an adventure. They stopped to look at ginormous ant mounds, tried to catch lizards, watched for birds, and collected dead, curved sticks. By the time they got back she was excited to get in the water to help create art.


For as long as I have known him, Colter has used being in the outdoors as an excuse to create art. This weekend the medium of choice was dead branches that had warped and become curved. He originally thought it would be interesting to make the sticks into a half-circle sticking out of the water. The end vision was that the reflection would complete the circle. After lots of broken sticks (they would snap at the apex because they were too dry), he decided on a new method. I've learned that this is a common pattern for artists. Lots, lots, lots of things just don't turn out how you think they will. So, you have to decide whether to keep going with the original vision, but use a different tactic, or to change the vision. The thing that surprises me over and over is that despite the seeming failure at the beginning, the end product becomes something beautiful and meaningful.


Colter's end product came after a shift in vision: Why not create the whole circle and let it float on the water? It took way more sticks and much more time, but in my opinion, the end product was much more impressive than the half-circle.


The title of this piece of "earthworks" art is One Eternal Round. Usually when people make art out of wood like this it is young saplings that bend easily. In this case, though, Colter used old, dead sticks that had become round because they were so old and dry. These dead sticks were used to become something beautiful and new. Just because they didn't bend well didn't mean they couldn't become art.


So much of my life is this way. I believe that change is a critical part of thriving. But change doesn't have to mean bending yourself into someone completely different. It can mean rethinking how you work with others or what your vision is for who you want to be. Just like little Mini changed her attitude to have a great time at the dunes, we can make small changes that have eternal impacts. We can all be part of one eternal round as we regularly stop to appreciate where we are in the process of creation.


Our process of creating beautiful artwork and sharing it with you is just beginning, but we are excited to see where it takes all of us. We hope that in time it will bring us together both physically and emotionally as we go on adventures together, share memories, read stories and get lots of experience. We want to hear from you and share in your experiences and adventures!

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