When Things Change

For a few weeks in the fall my running schedule and shorter days made it possible to see some glorious sunrises:

Glorious Dawn by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Glorious Dawn by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The colors were amazing and I was stunned into stopping, filled with awe.

Not all days have been so vividly colorful. Daylight savings meant getting up later in the sun’s path through the day. But the weather also changed to foggy so even if I had gotten up earlier, there would have been no visible sunrise.  Shades of gray became the main color.

Shades of Gray Dawn by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Shades of Gray Dawn by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Rather than rush out to a great spot in time to view the sunrise, I felt both disappointed and suspended in time, going nowhere in the dense fog. But after a while, I realized the gray morning was arresting in a different way. Textures and shapes became the focus.

These two photos remind me of changes in life. The colorful vision we have looked for (in a job, relationship, city, fill in the blank) and even had before may have changed. But there’s something beautiful in the foggy gray places if we look. That insight can redeem an experience for us.

Notice what is there in the “fog” and it might become beautiful.

 

Road to Trail Running Convert

See that Hill Ahead by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

See that Hill Ahead by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Last December I decided to shift from road running to trail running because I like exploring outdoors and wanted more adventure. Trail running means hills. I started with the flattest trails I could find in Arastradero Open Space Preserve. Even these shallow grades made me gasp despite my relative fitness on the flats. But the astounding wondrous beauty that I saw inspired me to aspire to run every trail on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area.

Last Saturday, on a run through Pulgas Open Space, Jay, organizer of the Peninsula Trail Running Meetup, asked me what I had run. Here’s a list of the ones I’ve run in so far along with links to some of the blog entries inspired by those places:

  • Rhus Ridge – Los Altos
  • Skyline Ridge Trail – along Highway 35
  • Wunderlich Park – Woodside
  • Shoreline Park – Bay Trail & Stevens Creek Trail
  • Calero Reservoir Park – San Jose
  • Contra Loma Park – Antioch – Dragnfly Half Marathon
  • Briones Regional Park – Orinda/Martinez – Bear Creek Half Marathon
  • Arastradero Open Space Preserve – Palo Alto
  • Las Trampas Wilderness – San Ramon – Rocky Ridge Half Marathon
  • Los Trancos Open Space Preserve – Santa Cruz Mountains – Palo Alto
  • Monte Bello Open Space Preserve – Palo Alto
  • Pulgas Open Space – San Mateo County – Edgewood Road
  • Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve – Los Altos
  • Lake Chabot – Castro Valley – Bad Bass Half Marathon
  • Joseph D. Grant Park – Mt. Hamilton – Trail Hog Half Marathon
  • Jasper Ridge – Woodside
  • El Corte Madera – Redwood City – Skyline Highway

And I can’t wait to run some more!

Embrace the Mess

I am taking Kelly Rae Roberts’ virtual class called Hello Soul Hello Mantras because I love her mixed media artwork. Mixed media is outside my comfort zone and embarking on this journey requires that I embrace the mess of the process and uncertainty of getting there. So my mantra throughout is “Embrace the mess.”

I started with a blank canvas, perfectly white, unspoiled and tidy. The first step is to experiment with water dripped fluid acrylic paint, smooshing it around and brayering it. The result is a simple still unified look but with little depth, sort of a one and done.

Step One in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step One in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Not being afraid to let go of this stage meant moving on to adding paper, ribbon and other sources of texture recursively. I can’t even recognize the starting image in this next step.

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then more. The dots pulled forward.

Step Two in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Two Point Five in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then it was back to adding more paint, then more collage then more paint, going back and forth until I found some amount of cohesion. See the new dark blue areas?

Step Three in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Step Three in Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Then it was on to adding the text:

Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I couldn’t quite accept the mess of having the two SS’s so far away from the ME, so with one last change, it’s done:

Final Version: Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Final Version: Embrace the Mess by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I can’t wait to start the next one!

Dearest Freshness and Ah! Bright Wings

The Dearest Freshness by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Dearest Freshness by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil

is bare now, nor can foot feel being shod.

 

And for all this nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

 

The Space Between Them

When you’re trail running, sometimes you don’t see people for a long time. It could be miles or an hour or two. And when you finally happen upon one or two, it’s almost shocking. Everything sense concentrated and every detail about this person or people in the landscape absorbed. When there’s more than one person, the space between people and what it might be saying is the most interesting part.

The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I happened upon these 2 men at the top of a steep mile-long climb up Rhus Ridge. Where they are standing marks the transition to the more gentle though exposed terrain of Chamise Trail from Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. They were so absorbed in conversation that they did not notice me or my huffing and puffing at all.

The space between them is too large for them to be friends. The fact that they are slightly facing each other means they met there and were not continuing on together. Each person’s physical stance frames the space between them. The expansive and earnest posture of the man on the right and the closed but comfortable posture of the man on the left means the flow of information is going one way and they are both okay with it.

When I ran by them while eating a pretzel, the one on the left asked me if I had enough to share. “Of course,” I offered. But he declined and I ran on and the space between us stayed the same.

 

When You Don’t Feel Like It

I really didn’t feel like going. Truth be told, I whined to myself on the 40 minute drive up to the top entrance to Wunderlich Park on Highway 35, though driving there was much easier than running up. I knew because I had done that before. 

On the topo map the Skyline Trail looked gently undulating, a great recovery terrain after last weekend’s monster tough Big Bear Trail 1/2 Marathon. Regardless, I was dreading hills of any kind. 

Chased along the highway by a pair of frantic mountain bikers in a truck desperate to get on their bikes, I pulled off and parked. My Nathan pack was ready.  Partly tensed against the run, I got out of the car, crossed the road and started down the path. At the first turn, I saw something so crazy beautiful that it stopped me in my tracks. 

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

It was stunningly beautiful and a photo can only get so close. Later, when I got home, I tried some edits to convey more of the feeling of being in the place.

Crazy Beautiful God Light by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

Golden Morning by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

The first 2 miles were awful and I didn’t warm up until about mile 8 of a 10 mile run. Despite that, seeing these 2 scenes and making these 2 images made every bit of it worthwhile. That’s not to say you should always do something when you don’t feel like it. If you do, once in awhile, you may be surprised by joy. 

Sketchnotes for NBCC Published

It’s great when you find a use for your gifts in service of others. Four of my sketchnotes of sermons at New Beginnings Community Church Bay Area have been published on the NBCC Facebook page. People seem to enjoy them so I am sharing them here also.

Habits for the Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

Habits for the Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

All of the sermons and sketchnotes relate to a seven week series called The Journey. This one you can find posted here. For the next week, I tried out some new Jelly Roll Soufflè Pens. They are opaque and made to look best on black paper

The Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

You can find this one here. The Souffle Pens are very large tipped so it’s hard to draw anything tight. Broad strokes only.

The Journey: Service, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey: Service, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

This was a good experiment but I went back to my usual pens and paper afterwards.

The Journey: Keep Both Eyes Open, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

The Journey: Keep Both Eyes Open, Sermon by Pastor Hurmon Hamilton, Sketchnote by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson

You can find this last one on the NBCC FB page.

You can see some of my other entries on sketchnotes: