Sometimes when I wake up in my little town on the Mainland and see the temperature hovering around balmy negative fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, I remember the island where I was born and how my foolish childhood self used to gaze admiringly up at the slopes of Mauna Kea and dream of one day living in a place where it snowed.
As the East Coast becomes increasingly miserable this January, I thought it an apt time to share some memories from the little detour to Kaua’i that my family enjoyed when I visited home this summer, including a visit to what I might humbly suggest is among the most phenomenal natural wonders the world has to offer.
Waimea Canyon State Park, often hailed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” can hardly be captured in photographs, but I hope these fleeting impressions give you a slight sense of these Pacific mountains’ majesty!
Though I cannot in any way profess to be one of those talented planner folks who create works of art in tiny week-by-week boxes, I do get a lot of mileage out of my own organizational tools: after all, I’m a grad student, a TA, and a snail mail-er who enjoys carefully cataloguing every letter I send and receive.
I use a bullet-journal style notebook for to-do lists and keeping track of assignments, but I’m happy to have this larger planner to maintain a sense of the bigger picture.
(I’m typing sentences like that last one in an attempt to convince you that there are many logical reasons supporting my ownership of this planner, but let’s be real — I’m mostly in it for the mermaids.)
Last year, I spent January 1st by the piers of Monterey and the final days of December next to these chilly harbors. Lake Como, as far as I understand it, is a celebrated summer oasis for boaters, architecture-lovers, and relaxation-seekers alike: of course we visited in the middle of winter, and spent our only full day dodging icy rain.
Yet Como’s weather deities smiled upon us at last during our final four hours in the area, and I had the opportunity to capture a waterscape unlike any I’d ever photographed before, pairing blue waves with distant snowy peaks!
The most enjoyable aspect of studying eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art last semester was reveling in how downright nerdy many experimental European artists were–in one fascinating example, the German Romantic painters who called themselves the Brotherhood of St. Luke basically cosplayed as medieval monks, and would paint each other dressed up as romantic figures from a seemingly distant past. In Johann Friedrich Overbach’s Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr, Overbach depicts his buddy in an anachronistic paradise–he even gives him a pious medieval babe for a wife in the background, though Pforr was unmarried!
Perhaps my own romanticized fixation with various aspects of the past — including as the nineteenth-century William Morris designs I transformed into my outgoing Christmas mail — becomes less strange when contextualized within each generation’s endless cycle of “golden age” nostalgia.
As repetitive as they has no doubt become, I’ve nonetheless very much enjoyed this week’s reflections on 2017!
From the narcissistic standpoint of my personal life, it was quite a mercurial year–featuring a volatile blend of unexpected medical troubles (remember when I injured my neck and spent weeks lying on the floor, or when my wisdom teeth attempted to destroy me?), drastic life changes (somehow I’ve completed a quarter of my MA by now!), and stunning romance that would have seemed impossible a year ago (hey, 2015-me, it’s very important that you get involved in snail mail and decide to write to a certain Welsh pen pal…)
At the same time, I enjoyed a shocking amount of whirlwind travels in 2017, at home and abroad: the saddest part, perhaps, is that my quasi-hiatus from blogging kept me from sharing many of those photos with you, readers! Consider this post, then, a bit of a preview for some travel-blog catching up that awaits later this month.
all that is gold does not glitter ♡ parsley, sage, rosemary, & thyme
billions & billions of stars♡ species speaking ♡ woodland wrapping paper
desert dreaming ♡ birds of america ♡ all’s well that ends shell
I boast no particular pride of the speed at which I replied to letters this year (particularly after I began my master’s degree–so it goes!), but I am quite fond of the mail art designs I sent around the world whenever I had a moment to spare. It’s quality over quantity, I hope!
rabbits & the moon ♡ my first petticoat! ♡ cosmic & canine
cute & cephalopoda ♡ she buys seashells ♡ return to the sea
tidepool time ♡ rose-y cotton ♡ burgundy every burgunday
Given this general delinquency in terms of my blogging consistency this year, I almost feel like I don’t deserve to pepper this coming week with unwarranted “round-up” posts–but I hope the nostalgic alchemy of year-end reflections will transform my posting malaise into something golden.