Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

Kripalu Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide & Life Coach – Get Outside. Go Within.


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Discovering Yourself in Nature

Yesterday, the last day of February, I had the opportunity to go cross-country skiing in Saratoga National Historical Park. We refer to this location as the ‘Battlefield’ because it was a major player in the Revolutionary War. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-twenties. That may seem cold but the temperature has been below zero so it felt warm with the sun shining on us and the layers of clothing we were wearing.

Spending the day in Saratoga National Battlefield

Spending the day in Saratoga National Battlefield

This was the first time in around twelve years that I have been on cross-country skis. I have been snowshoeing for the last several. I think snowshoeing allows the user to be in a little more control of the pace and direction. When I placed the skis on my feet the first thing that happened was I began to slide – feet in different directions. My body reacted in a panic. It truly surprised me.

It was slow going and I felt like I was holding Bill back from enjoying the experience. He is adventurous and loves moving at a fast pace without fear. It opened my eyes to realize that I do have a fear of being out of control of my body and my body lets me know through the panic that sets in the muscles. This is a side of me that doesn’t show itself until I am in these situations. This didn’t deter me, I continued on at a slower pace. It wasn’t long before I went down.

Down I go

Down I go

After going down my first thoughts went to my sore arm, hip, and ankle. Then to how long would it take to get back to the car. Thankfully those were fleeting thoughts. While down I saw some interesting things – a hole in the snow made by a small animal, the sun shining through the trees, the sparkle of the sun on the snow. It sparkled like diamonds. I pulled out the camera and started shooting.

When down - take photos

When down – take photos

After a little bit of practice, I began to feel confident and was able to glide along the flat areas and even on small inclines. The feeling of gliding along on the snow was invigorating and I felt successful.

Success

Success

We went gliding along for quite a while, stopped to sit on the snow for a snack, and some additional photos. As we continued on we saw deer tracks, mountains, and many other beautiful scenes.

Deer trails in the snow

Deer trails in the snow

Sunshine on a winter day

Sunshine on a winter day

Looking east toward Vermont - can see for miles.

Looking east toward Vermont – can see for miles.

Bill finally felt comfortable traveling at his own pace during times that I took off my skis to trudge through the snow up the inclines.

Faster pace

As you can see he is very capable of handling the hills whether traveling down or up. I on the other hand had to figure out how to manage my own fears and anxiety. There were times traveling along that I surprised myself with my bodies resistance to the challenge.

Toward the end when I went down and couldn’t seem to untangle my feet no matter how many times I attempted to keep on the skis and stand. My legs did not want to cooperate with my mind. The more I tried to get up the more difficult and more tangled my legs and skis became which resulted in more frustration setting in.

I thought – this is me – the happy, fun-loving, content person. The lover of nature and all things outside. I laid down in the snow and allowed my body a win. I laughed at myself for a minute. Then I was able to move my right leg and removed the skis once again. It was over for me at that point. The skis had to go. The soft snow was up to my knees and I fell through several times before reaching the snowshoe path that was hard and manageable. At my own pace I was able to pull out the camera and take photo shots along the way. It allowed me to slow down to enjoy the sparkling snow, the deer trails, the fur along the trail – remains of an unfortunate rabbit.

We all have a pace we enjoy, we flow at this pace. Sometimes it can be fast in one situation and slower in others. In nature, mine is slower. When I tried to push myself into a pace I didn’t feel comfortable my body rebelled. It wasn’t a good feeling and the emotions that rose from within me surprised me but sometimes we have to be reminded. There are emotions lurking in the depth of our being. When they rise we can address them, discover where they come from and then release. No need to linger there – when down – stop and take some photos of beautiful things. Don’t try to go at someone else’s pace – let everyone move at the pace that is right for them. Somewhere in the middle we meet and that is the place to build relationships. In that middle place we can learn a lot about ourself. When we stop to take time to contemplate and find peace, we can be happy wherever we are at this point in time. It doesn’t mean we have to stay there, but we can be grateful for where we are and where we have been. Then take time to decide on where we are going and plan steps to take us on that path. Mine for today is to overcome the fear of letting go and releasing some control so I might move a little faster along my path.

A shot of the moon and bird in flight

Learn to fly!

That was the lesson I learned yesterday while lying in the snow:) Have you had any similar experiences? I would love to hear about them if you have.

Love and Light!

Sandy


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Santanoni Preserve

Today when I left my home the sun was shining but the roads were a bit icy. As we traveled from Albany north on I-87 we weren’t sure if we would see snow especially when it started to rain. When we pulled off the highway at exit 29 the rain seemed to be following along but after a while the rain turned to snow as we climbed the mountains roads. What a beautiful site – the trees covered in snow looked like a winter wonderland. Ahead we could see the snow falling on the mountains ahead and we knew it would be a good day for snowshoeing. I have been wanting to visit Camp Santanoni Preserve located on Rt. 28N, Santanoni Rd.in Newcomb, NY for quite some time. It is a little over a two hour ride from my home. Today was a perfect day to check it out.

When we arrived we were told that the preserve was open for the holiday weekend so it was our lucky day. Apparently the preserve is not open daily in the winter. A Monday off, snow, the Preserve was open, and perfect weather with the temperature around 30 degrees. Our clothing was layered and waterproof so we were ready for any kind of weather. Miracles do happen!

I thought it would be nice to share some of the photos for those of you who may live in New York State and are looking for a place to hike, explore, snowshoe or cross-country ski. For those of you who do not live in New York and weren’t aware that we have a very large, diverse state in more ways then one these photos will give you a different perspective of this beautiful state. Most of the people I have met in my travels think of New York as Manhattan and don’t realize how large this state is. The majority of New York State’s population live in NYC but the rest of us are very proud of our state and our environment – especially the nature that surrounds us. So enjoy!

Welcome to Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Welcome to Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Bridge to Santanoni Preserve

Bridge to Santanoni Preserve

Information station at Santanoni Preserve

Information station at Santanoni Preserve

Some original buildings in Santanoni Preserve

Some original buildings in Santanoni Preserve

The buildings are original to the Preserve – check it out on FaceBook at Camp Santanoni and Santanoni Preserve or you can check it out by doing a Google Search.

Stone House in Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Stone House in Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Loved this stone building in Santanoni Preserve

Loved this stone building in Santanoni Preserve

Snow covering trees in Adirondacks

Snow covering trees in Adirondacks

Birds nest waiting for spring

Birds nest waiting for spring

Snow covered Cross-Country ski trail through Santanoni Preserve

Snow covered Cross-Country ski trail through Santanoni Preserve

As you can see from the photo below I was dressed in warm clothing, not the most attractive dress style but very comfortable and warm. It was such a great time being outside.

Snowshoeing in Santanoni Preserve

Snowshoeing in Santanoni Preserve

It is always difficult to leave these trails whether in the winter or summer. I find it exhilarating when in nature. I hope that you enjoyed the photos.

Love and Light,
Sandy