Nature is the art of God, as Dante Alighieri said. I love that quote. I have a deep desire to create art, things that bring joy and beauty into our lives. Things that reflect the beauty that God created, so we can enjoy a little piece of that anywhere, anytime. Whether it helps us joyfully recall something we've experienced, or allows us to experience something that we otherwise could not, art makes our lives better, and connects us to something beyond dishes, laundry, and homework.
Last week, my parents took us to Maui, Hawaii. It was a wonderful gift that will be cherished for the rest of our lives. I had always wanted to go somewhere like that, but never thought I actually would. The whole week it was hard to believe we were really there! For a week we left behind the daily grind, and enjoyed something completely different.
We saw so much beauty. We have over 2000 photos from it. (LOVE digital photography!) We gazed into a volcano crater filled with blends of rich, earthy colors. We watched untamed waves crash against jagged lava rock. We visited a lush green valley with steep walls. We enjoyed tropical beach views with our own eyes for once. We saw native sealife both in an aquarium and in its natural habitat from the underwater windows of a boat. We attended a church service at a roadside park where the backdrop was the ocean, and sea turtles and whales were the distraction. Our kids, especially, marveled at the birds and other wildlife so different from ours here at home. I couldn't get enough of gorgeous tropical flowers and plants like palms, monstera, hibiscus, and my favorite, the different varieties of plumeria (oh, if my grandmother could have seen me!).
And there was also the experience of it. Seeing sugar cane, pineapples, and coffee plants. Learning a little about Hawaiian culture and history. The different feel of each town. Feet being washed by ocean waves that weren't freezing cold. The tastes (the kalua pig, yum!) and the sights and sounds of an authentic luau. And on evening walks on the beach, we were treated to seeing a sea turtle up to lay eggs. Not once, but twice! I could go on and on, but I will stop here and share just a sample of pictures.
I definitely have plans for creating jewelry inspired by things I saw. For me, so I can carry a little piece of it with me. I have always loved tropical motifs anyway. And for others, who have also had the pleasure of visiting, or who long for, such a place.
And yes, I visited a few bead stores (and a scrapbooking store) on Maui! If on Maui, I would especially recommend The Maui Bead Shop, a great little store in Kihei with a drool-worthy display case of precious and semi-precious gemstone beads. (I could have gone home with sooo much more from that one!)