There were at least two reasons why I decided to write about the subject of peace of mind on the night of our return from The Sea Ranch. After downloading close to nine hundred images and deleting hundreds of them, while selecting a few to share with you, I realized that there are more than eight images that you have seen in the last two weeks, that might give you the desire to visit The Sea Ranch. It was a famous photographer Ansel Adams who said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop”. Since he did not have a digital camera or processing software, worked exclusively in Black and White photography, and was known as a true Master, this statement makes perfect sense. For me, if I can choose twelve images from a three day trip, it was time well spent. This leads me to the second reason for this story – peace of mind.
In Online Dictionary.com I found a number of definitions for “peace of mind”. What resonates with me is – “The absence of stress or anxiety”. One of the examples given was, “Meditation on the beach creates peace of mind”. When was the last time you meditated on a beach? (I’ve done it numerous times, but there was no lasting effect.)
Most of us live very stressful lives, which affect our body and behavior. Before adopting our dog Max, I tried to meditate regularly in the mornings. Now I have replaced it with a walking meditation. It probably helps, since stress is part of every loan transaction in my line of work. Though I try to stay “cool”, I am sure it sneaks in anyway. Therefore, short vacations like a trip to The Sea Ranch are not a luxury, but a necessity. But why drive for three hours on a windy road if there are so many locations that are closer in the Bay Area, like Sonoma or Napa or further up in Monterey or Carmel? Those are beautiful places too, and have a lot to offer. But personally, they have not been particularly helpful for finding peace of mind, as I have experienced in The Sea Ranch. For me, it starts during the journey there. From 101 North, we take the Old Pengrove exit, which takes us into the countryside, with cows grazing in the fields. While I drive, I notice the beauty of the open space. It takes us about two hours to reach Jenner. This is where Russian River connects with the ocean. We usually take a break to have our lunch in the local café where they serve great salads, sandwiches and very good hot chocolate. We consume our food while watching the flow of the river. The next 27 miles take us an hour to drive through the winding and twisting road with beautiful views of the ocean, which remind me of my travels in Greece. When we reach The Sea Ranch and come out of the car, my head starts to spin from the fresh ocean air. After unpacking, we take our first stroll along the ocean, and I take my first photos. We usually arrive here on a Friday and leave on a Monday. During those three days, we do not read or watch any news, do not check emails and minimize use of the phone. I usually just walk, sleep, read, photograph and write. Though my wife Elfa packs the food for the journey, we visit local supermarkets for missing items, and local café for afternoon indulgences. There are also a number of very good photo galleries. One of them is owned by Jim Alinder, who has an incredible collection of works of Ansel Adams and other great photographers. I invite you to follow my footsteps.
The four images I’ve chosen have a meditative quality, which might help you to reach your peace of mind. I want to offer them to you as a gift. If you buy two “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” books (one for you, another for your friend), I will mail you all four beautiful 8.5″ x 11″ prints. You can order the books on Amazon.com or Encounterspublishing.com.
Enjoy and Share with a friend.