In 2013 I visited the Badlands of South Dakota for my annual fall hiking trip. I had never been before, and honestly, South Dakota was not a place I had given much thought to. It's mildly embarrassing to admit, but I assumed it was just a fly-over state. As it turned out, I could not have been more wrong. From the second I saw the alien landscape, I knew this small place, on our big earth, contained a part of me. The sky and the rocks, trees and animals. The vastness. It made me feel whole. That first night, I watched the sunset over the giant buttes and spires. And my life changed. The beauty in front of me was unlike anything I'd ever seen. And it made me realize, fully, how gorgeous and amazing life is. It's something I have carried in my spirit since. Nearly every day I dream about adventure in the Badlands. This May I will be going back and the excitement level is incredibly high. For a few days I will be more complete, more clear and revitalized. To celebrate, I wanted to share some of the things I photographed back in 2013.
The photos above are from the sunset on my first night. It was impossible to capture the true majesty of it all. The landscape went on forever and endlessly changed colors and transformed.
This is the sunrise that welcomed me the next morning. While I love sunsets, sunrises are what I am most passionate about when it comes to the sky. If there is such a thing as the perfect sunrise, this may have been it. In the span of an hour, I saw some of the most brilliant colors, along with some of the most peaceful pastels. That alone is too much of a gift from Mother Nature. But to go with it, I also was able to get very close to some of the wildlife who keep my crazy hours :) Morning creatures, UNITE!
Once the sunrise was over, the landscape continued to transform.
I've been talking about the sky a lot. But really, look at this ground. It is stunning. The cracks below are equally as brilliant as the clouds above. And I was somewhere in the middle of those two perfect things. Newly aware of just how tiny and inconsequential I am. The rocks underfoot are more wise than I will ever be. The air playing on the grasses and trees has witnessed it all. And then me: trying to figure it out. Trying to find purpose and meaning and all of these things. When really what I needed to do was to take note. To just be. This realization stayed with me and genuinely changed me to my core. A connection with nature happened that I can't put into words.
There are random old barns and shacks in this wilderness. They're very beautiful too.
The buffalo. My animal. My soul. Have I mentioned that the fauna here are captivating?
That sky. I don't have the words. These are close to how I feel: "You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds." -Henry David Thoreau
"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky."
When I return, I want to play. I want grand adventure and endless peace. My body and mind will be re-energized and cleared. This small point on our spinning rock is full of amazing vibrations. It is healing, loving and wild. There are many places I've come to love, but this is where I will go when I need to grow.
If you have a place in nature you've connected to, I would love to hear about it. Tell me a little or tell me a lot. I'm nothing but curious about where your soul awakens.