If You’re Depressed, Be Open and Talk About It

An essay in today’s Washington Post about depression and suicide, details one young woman’s quest to be honest about her sister’s suicide, with the hope that she might help others think twice about suicide and get help:

I had to be honest. I had to tell the truth.

By the time I sat down to write my sister’s obituary I knew that the opening line could only be one thing: Aletha Meyer Pinnow, 31, of Duluth (formerly of Oswego and Chicago, IL) died from depression and suicide on February 20, 2016.

Eleni Pinnow said in her essay on her sister’s suicide:

The lies of depression can exist only in isolation. Brought out into the open, lies are revealed for what they are.

Here is the truth: You have value. You have worth. You are loved. Trust the voices of those who love you. Trust the enormous chorus of voices that say only one thing: You matter. Depression lies. We must tell the truth.

these-are-the-first-signs-of-depression-that-everyone-ignoresDepression is so common and yet we still have such a huge stigma about talking about it.

So many like this young woman in the story, Aletha Meyer Pinnow, who committed suicide at 31 years old, would rather keep their depression a secret than discuss it openly.

Here’s a few reason why that is wrong: Continue reading

Food For Thought: The Road of Life

hitting the road

I often muse on the road or path that our lives follow for the road and the path such perfect metaphors for the trajectory of our life. Where we go in our life, what we do, the detours we take, these are all aspects of traveling through our lives to get somewhere, or to just be, to just be in the moment and savor the journey.

Today, I remind myself that as I travel the road of life, I am grateful for the varied terrain, the gentle slopes, the tough hills, the steep canyons, the winding roads and the clear path ahead that have all been a part of my life. The journey was never meant to be easy. Continue reading

Ansel Adams: Visionary

anseladamsAnsel Adams was an only child, born to old parents in San Francisco on February 20, 1902. He was the only child of businessman Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray, and the grandson of a timber baron. Adams’ family home was in located in the coastal Golden Gate area of San Francisco. It was there that Adams developed an early appreciation for nature.

He was a shy child, possibly dyslexic, and subsequently he did not do well in school. He was ultimately home schooled, which led to solitary time spent walking along the still undeveloped and wild coastline. At twelve years old Ansel Adams learned piano on his own, and went on to pursue piano as his career. However, in 1916 Adams first visited Yosemite, which changed his passion from piano to photography. It was there in Yosemite that he would take up the camera, a Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie, which was a gift from his parents. Ansel Adams would ultimately spend quite a bit of time yearly at Yosemite, until he passed away on April 22, 1984.

Adams joined the Sierra Club in 1919 and subsequently spent the next “four summers in Yosemite Valley, as “keeper” of the club’s LeConte Memorial Lodge.”[1] This would prove to be quite opportune for Adams, as he became friends with many of the leaders of the Sierra Club and became involved with the early conservation movement. It was here at Yosemite that Adams would also meet his wife, Virginia Best. Adams involvement with the Sierra Club was pivotal to his early career as a photographer, with publication of his both his writings and photographs in their 1922 Bulletin and then a “his first one man exhibition in 1928 at the club’s San Francisco headquarters.”[2] Adams began to see the potential to make a modest living as a photographer through his continued involvement with the Sierra Club. Continue reading

Musings: Stone Walls

There are troubles, that brew in my heart and mind, which are weightier than the stones stacked precariously upon each other forming centuries old walls across the landscape. I question the existence of my troubles as I question where did these stone walls come from?

stone wall

Who moved these stones from place to place to build these walls that block my path? Who took these stones from the earth and stacked them just so, creating boundaries where once there were none.

I am a woman with few boundaries, except when it comes to my heart, which I shield with stone walls, keeping love a bay. This is my truth, though I rarely speak it.  Continue reading

Reflection on Emerson’s Nature

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature is a series of eight essays that touch upon a variety of thoughts on nature in writings on Nature, Commodity, Beauty, Language, Discipline, Idealism, Spirit and Prospects. Emerson’s essays were initially published anonymously and were influenced by his early form of Transcendentalism. He composed the essays in Nature after leaving the Unitarian ministry. (Emerson p. viii) Emerson’s Nature has influenced Emerson’s friend Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, John Burroughs and many others since its first publication. What Emerson entreats in Nature is that man must foray into nature in order to understand the “perpetual presence of the sublime.” (Emerson p. 6)

I am forever caught up in the “perpetual presence of the sublime,” that Emerson speaks of, for nature never ceases to amaze me and in that, my heart is like that of a child, as Emerson alludes: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” (Emerson p. 7)

Emerson speaks to my soul when he says, “In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages,” (Emerson p. 8) for I see the wilderness as the most blessed of places where beauty is forever changing moment by moment. Nature is such that it is constantly changing with its own forces at work constantly, the wind, the skies, the oceans, the forest, the fields. All ever changing. All ever beautiful even in its decay. Continue reading

Reflections on Thoreau’s Walking

Thoreau speaks of walking in nature as a “sort of crusade,” a pilgrimage of sorts, in search of all that is holy in the midst of nature. (Thoreau p.72) In fact, Thoreau calls walking a noble art, one that is not unlike the Knights of old. (Thoreau p. 73) On this, I cannot disagree for I feel my walks in nature take on a higher order in my life and connect me to all of my senses at once and without a doubt to a higher order within the universe.

It is in walking in the afternoon Thoreau says that, he would “fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.” (Thoreau p. 78) In fact, if the thought of things other than nature invade his time walking, he would find himself returned to his senses through nature, recognizing he has no business walking in the woods, if he is “thinking of something out of woods.” (Thoreau p. 79) For it is the “subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it,” that “will direct us aright.” (Thoreau p. 85) Yes, I can concur for when I walk I find the ills of my life are lessen, the pains in my heart are healed, and my senses are awaken by the smallest gift of nature that speaks to me as I stroll through nature’s woods and pastures.

Moreover, in the midst of Thoreau’s exhalations of the restorative power of nature on our psyche, he takes time to remind us of our duty to preserve nature, for “all good things are wild and free.” (Thoreau p. 107) Without nature, the question begs, what place does man have in the world. Thoreau implores us to preserve nature and to respect nature. Thoreau draws the parallel of walking in nature as a spiritual connection to the world in which we live, a connection that is vital to our very lives.

Works Cited

Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking.” Emerson, Ralph Waldo and Henry David Thoreau. Nature / Walking. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1991. p. 71 – 122.