The Architecture of Light

wp143 lighthouse1We are called to be beacons of light. The many facets of our personalities help to reflect The Source of the illumination from every possible angle.

wp143 2 medallion, postEach person reacts a bit differently to The Light. Some want to be pointed in the right direction so they can take the most direct path; others want to build a foundation and wait a while before jumping in.

wp143 3 red roof bldgsMany want to construct a little home with access to The Light so they can be in control of letting it in.

wp143 2 red doorsA few want to block it out and seal their doors tightly—but The Light is pervasive and always finds its way in.

wp143 lighthouse from backWhen I meet someone afraid to enter the front door of The Lighthouse, I always give them the option of going in through the side. Whatever is most comfortable. I’m merely a facilitator to dispel darkness. Won’t you join me and let your Light shine?

All photos © Sondra Sula.

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Creating a Love Nest

wp142 kissing bird seaweedMy heart melted when I came across two seaweed doves kissing—beak to beak.

wp142 seaweed swagBelow them, a bower-like nest was fashioned of moonbeams and kelp.

wp142 2 seaweed w grassI began to see nests everywhere. Some made from tangles of sea grass; others from deep sea pompoms.

wp142 2 pink seaweedI considered Rob’s and my nest. It is as entwined and complex as those washed up on the beach. We have woven it with love, and have placed each item in our bower with care. How do you construct your own nest to reflect who you are?

All photos © Sondra Sula.

Sea Bouquets

wp141 seaweed bouquet3Beautiful bouquets are strewn across the beach as if a hundred brides tossed their arrangements over their shoulders at once. But the betrothed in this scenario might be mermaids because their pretty posies are seaweed and kelp.

wp141 2 seaweeds1Creation is mesmerizingly fantastical and the ocean has long produced art. Some arrangements are fashioned using mother-of-pearl, others are wrapped up in wide green ribbons.

wp141 seaweed bouquet1One bouquet of fine lace is cinched at the bottom with a crocheted kelp root ball.

wp141 2 seaweeds2Sea grass winds around its partner in loving embrace—a simple declaration of spoken vows via visual vocabulary.

wp141 seaweed bouquet2I feel married to the sea, creation, God. I vow to see splendor in every stem of seaweed, every grain of sand. I toss my bouquet for anyone to catch—then wed this bliss of seeing the world through eyes of wondrous love.

All photos © Sondra Sula.

The Artistry of Death

wp140 3 girl, lily, handWe have become a culture of nomads, or at least serial movers. Very few of us are born, live and die in the same place. And because of this, gravestones are being replaced by transient urns, or temporary boxes housing ashes bursting with the need to be dispelled over soil or water. The artistry of death is changing.

wp140 2 calla, fernGirls supplicating at crosses, bouquets of lily-of-the-valley and the single hand pointing upward are no longer the standard sculpted forms. Calla lilies, ferns and ivy will soon only be in living memorial gardens.

wp140 2 spoons, leavesA permanent grave marker can be replaced by a circle of pocket stones and some old spoons. Small, flat markers are being reclaimed by live plants.

wp140 little girl grayAn angelic portable statue flanked by conch shells can be hauled off at a moment’s notice.

wp140 2 lily grave, lambWhere will all the painstakingly carved little lambs go with their curly hair and sleepy eyes?

wp140 charlie lambAlthough it’s sad in some ways to witness the transition of permanence to impermanence, isn’t that a bit more accurate? Our spirits leave our bodies upon death to make their own glorious journeys. These stones are really about the living wanting a sacred place to remember those they still love. With no graves of my own family nearby to visit, I’ll continue to honor these beautiful markers by simply appreciating them.

All photos © Sondra Sula

The Artifacts of Death

wp139 3 gravesWe bump up against death in various ways: close calls, pulling through dire illnesses and witnessing loved ones’ pass. But a graveyard allows us to sidle up to death in a completely different way. Cemeteries have their own ecosystem of bones, stones and grass. Imposed order and natural disorder reign together.

wp139 2 fake flowersAnd then, there are the artifacts. Artificial flowers raise faded, dusty heads to the sun. Spent, real blooms add to the feeling of decay. Trophies and tiaras speak of potential cut short.

wp139 2 granite w fleursSome displays are overflowing, crowded; others create a stark appeal with a single flower, strewn or encased.

wp139 benchHomespun offerings can be hand carved or painted, simple or complex.

wp139 2 elephantsThey can tell us something about the person who has moved on, for example: He must have loved elephants, or, Easter was definitely high on her list.

wp139 2 bunny eggWe have a need to communicate with those who have gone before us. Bringing artifacts to deceased friends and family gives us something tangible to offer. Anyone who visits the graveyard can see how special this or that person was—and that they are still being cared for.

Isn’t that what we all want? To know we are loved? Let’s begin today by telling one living person how much they mean to us.

All photos © Sondra Sula.

Where the Wild Things Are

wp138 2 burst, cobSecretive, peaceful oases can be found in any city, and Los Angeles is no exception. My husband and I had driven down from the northern California coast to celebrate our anniversary visiting natural history museums. I insisted we add a bit of living nature to our list and that’s how we ended up at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.

wp138 2 datura, fruitOnce inside, the bizarreness began: giant mesmerizing op art flowers, corn cob pods dangling from trees, ghostly white petticoat Datura blossoms hanging above our heads and cycad fruit mimicking the inner workings of a duck’s skull.

wp138 2 balloons, buttA tree trunk resembled the torso and legs of an upside-down woman. Bloated balloon-like blossoms drooped down from high-crawling vines.

wp138 2 palmsOdd palms burst into spiky spheres above short, fat trunks.

wp138 orange squiggleRed-tinged bamboo birthed a claw-like appendage rife with twisted tips.

wp138 2 graffiti, cactusA green bamboo forest tempted those who feel compelled to leave their graffiti marks. Why did the unknown characters of another language seem less intrusive, almost aesthetically pleasing? A spiny tree thwarted carving by covering itself with thorns.

wp138 pink tree flowerI could barely believe that only blocks away car horns were blaring and roads were congested. The gardens had calmed our spirits and refueled us for the trip home. As we neared the exit, a glorious tree stood before us—all flowers, no leaves. As we approached a low branch we saw how intricate the design was—a striated pinwheel of fuchsia, yellow and white. A fanciful interior ring wreathed a pale pink protrusion encircled in anthers. Hundreds upon hundreds of these colorful wonders danced above our heads. Glory be! were the only words that came to mind. Spontaneous praise. For that is what nature invokes.

All photos © Sondra Sula.

The Heart of Adventure

wp137 treeThe adventure began as many do: piled into a car with others, wondering what we might see. Candelabra trees came first, their menorah-like limbs reaching out, then up. Shafts of sunlight pierced their fringed canopy.

wp137 butterflyBack at the trailhead butterflies alighted on purple thistle pompoms.

wp137 carMoving on to the beach, we came across a flattened car. Some dared to climb on its rusty metal with bare feet. Others, like myself, merely observed.

wp137 sea cropWe broke into smaller groups and ambled along the surf line, watching waves break.

wp137 2 lemon, lureI stopped to take photos: lemons and lures in the gray sand.

wp137 seaweedA seaweed odalisque reclined on the wet sand, her brown pearl necklace a tasteful ornamentation.

wp137 gull wingI wandered away to experience some solitude and found a beautiful gull’s wing poignantly separated from its owner—its last flight was heaven bound.

wo137 mini crabI noticed a tiny crab shell that looked like a heart—with strings attached. I realized my own heartstrings were being pulled to rejoin the others. Comradery and community—where true adventure often begins.

All photos © Sondra Sula.

The Light of Love

wp136 cloud lineThe day was full of clouds, darkening a field of dry grass.

wp136 wave fountainThe sea churned, sending up its froth through holes in the rocks.

wp136 sea expanseSea palms bowed to the ocean’s mightiness.

wp136 weed flowerDry seed heads shook and quivered in the gusty wind.

wp136 chair on rockI sat on a wooden chair at the top of a cliff that made me feel small. My husband was a speck in the distance.

wp136 wire spaghettiAs I moved out to a precipice, I looked down. A tangle of wires lay at my feet. Each wire alone could be snapped, but together they were invincible.

wp136 driftwood postI chose to join my husband. He was standing next to a weathered wooden post. I noticed an upside-down heart worn into it where light shined through. I felt loved.

All photos © Sondra Sula.

Up and Down 526

wp135 2 526, trail markerI’ve been wanting to explore Logging Road 526 since I discovered its existence. It’s part of a larger trail system marked by three orange horizontal lines painted on tree trunks.

wp135 tunnel of lightI soon came to a corridor of trees with rays of light shining through the exit. Or was it the entrance to something mysterious? I could see nothing but light at the end of the tunnel.

wp135 2 up down upWhen I reached the light, I came to a homemade sign fashioned from a paper plate. It read: Down, Up. Had this portal brought me to a philosophical question? I looked up to the heavens; trees soared towards the sky. I looked down to the earth; a pine cone pointed to fallen leaves that formed Torah-like scrolls. Had I reached heaven on earth?

wp135 down detriusI was seeing what I wanted to see because of who I am; I knew cyclists and dirt bike riders might see the sign as a warning that the trail fell sharply then rose steeply. I also knew that upon my return to the beginning of the trail, others might see a polluted marsh, but I saw a magical lagoon edged in luscious ferns. Both viewpoints are true—the question is, which would you prefer to see?

wp135 fern w lake4All photos © Sondra Sula.

I AM

wp134 I AmGod has been known as the great I AM since Moses asked to whom he was speaking back in Old Testament times. In one of my spiritual practices, I dialogue with God, and “I AM” often comes up as a response to my never-ending questions. As humans, we often declare “I am” to define our existence to ourselves, lest we disappear.

wp134 butterfly on fernsI AM is everywhere we look—from the beautiful butterfly to the spectacular, yet often considered pesky, fly.

wp134 flies on yellow flowersGod is seen in a bulbous knot of wood shaped like a fish swimming through forest detritus.

wp134 fish logWho hasn’t seen God in the eye of a flower, or the feathery seeds set adrift by the gentlest breeze? In the web of Oneness, I Am is also We Are.

wp134 2 feathery plantsAll photos © Sondra Sula.

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