Wandering Dunes: Winter and Warmth


Sand dunes are normally the way to the sea, the only thing standing between you and reaching your ocean playground. But what if the wandering dunes were the destination? What if you learned to enjoy the dunes just as much as the beach? the journey just as much as the destination? 

This series is inspired physically by the protected sand dunes I visited earlier this year on the gulf coast of Florida and spiritually by the space they reminded me winter gifts us each year to reflect and heal. 

I wanted to take a closer look at the these curvy hills beautiful in their own right. It was easier to do this during a month of cold weather that makes the thought of getting in the water completely unappealing. Winter in itself I feel creates plenty of time and space for us to reflect. The sand dunes in winter are no different, and may even be more welcoming of reflection than I had realized before this year. 

I spent several days walking along paths of protected sand and low grasses that looked dormant. I was bundled up like I would be on a cold day which felt a juxtaposition to the place that would normally bring so much warmth that it would likely become unwelcome.  

I thought about the year just passed and waited for inspiration to come that would lead me in the right direction for the year ahead. I painted and prayed, collected objects I found in the sand, listened to the birds flying around and people as they walked passed me huddled in my chair between the dunes and the sea and realized that reflection was best when there was no pressure for a result. 

Watersound Florida beach seashells bird feather and stick

Recently I have been attempting to be fully present for winter: to allow the time and space I needed to rest, learn, and heal so that I could move forward with more wisdom, strength, and skill. When I visited these dunes, I knew that place embodied what I had been feeling. Those dunes so gently curving up and down, shaped by the wind, living by the sea embodied the season and spaciousness of it. Space with more quiet than distraction and more call to draw within than look without. 

In this series, I hope to convey the balance of those wandering dunes: how clean sand of white, pink, blue, and green contrasts with grassy patches of yellow, red, brown, and gray; cold and warm; inward and outward. They have always been there, but it takes a winter season to force us to reflect on them. How stillness leads to life, how dormancy leads to rejuvenation, and how we can wait with hope knowing a new season is coming. 

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