Far Away Places

I searched far and wide for things “out of place” this week, and as predicted, it was pretty difficult.  I started my journey with a car ride, thinking, perhaps I would drive somewhere new, and maybe I’ll pass by something interesting.  The car ride started off with a tractor in the middle of the road; not that unusual for this area, but for the major road I was on, it was very odd.  I took this as a good sign of weird things to come, and kept driving!

Two hours later and with only my poorly shot-while-driving picture of the tractor in the road (don’t worry, I was going really slow, was stuck behind the tractor, and being careful), I was without anything good.  Slightly defeated, I went back home.  I spent the rest of the week driving around, a little closer to home, and looking up things online for ideas.  The driving proved useless, with the exception of the fact that I like to just get away and drive anyways, so that was nice.  Online, when you search for “out of place” you get the interesting, yet very cliché photos of a group of items with one item having a variation; all yellow balls and one red one, a row of things standing up while one is on its side, and so on.  While they were visually pleasing, I felt like that would be a cop-out, because how else could being “out of place” be anymore obvious than to make one thing drastically stand out?

We lucked out in the weather department this week, and had a bunch of sunny days.  Even more lucky was the fact that they were not all scorching summer days.  I know, I’ve been looking forward to summer, but it’s been crazy hot.  Don’t worry though, I’m not one of those people who wish for summer to come, and then complain about the heat.  I’m just not one to subject myself to 100 degree+ weather without it being at a place that’s somehow related to water.  Since there is no water in my life right now, other than the hose out back, which I’ll pass on, I haven’t been enjoying the outdoors as much lately.  Regardless, I’ll take a summer day at any temperature as opposed to a winter one.

In my consistent checking the weather to make extravagant day dreaming plans, I noticed that one day would be mild in comparison to the record-breaking heat we’ve been having, and I decided to venture out to a place I’ve only been to once before.  Now, I’m kind of a homebody in the sense that I don’t particularly like doing things on my own (I mean, adventures are just so much more fun when you have friends around, ya know?), so this was kind of a big deal to me.  With all things considered, I was definitely the one that was out of place.  I drove an hour and a half to the wrong place, had to search for new directions, find another place to go to, and then finally, I was there….or so I thought.

Once with my watercolor class we ventured out to Calvert Cliffs for our final.  I loved the class(es) , and the professor was wonderful in that of instead of having your traditional final test or project, we would go out for a “final field trip”.  It was always fun, and most of us in the class got to check out some new places.  I decided that I would go back to see if I could find anything interesting to photograph, but also because I’ve been on a mission to return and find some shark teeth; this area is infamously known for being a great place to find them….and I’m a little obsessed with Megalodon.  Anyways, once I arrive to my now new destination, I have no idea where I’m going, but I know there is some hiking involved.  No worries, I thought, it’s a beautiful day, and from what I’ve seen, it looks like a mild hike…

Have I mentioned that I often find myself eating my own words?  A mild hike…not exactly, particularly when you’re wearing flip-flops because you thought you were going to a place which required only a 10 minute walk on a paved path.  So I drudge through the 1.8 mile hike, which was incorrectly marked might I add, and got attacked by bugs for what was more like 2.3 miles, you know, because of that whole lack of preparedness thing.  And that beautiful day?  Not so much when you’re hiking in jeans….I was a hot, sweaty mess.  At least the scenery was pretty, which was a good distraction as I was cursing myself for going on with this hike when I knew it probably wasn’t the best idea.

But alas, I made it to the beach.  It was a little smaller than the one I had visited previously, and didn’t have some of the same factors which made the other beach a prime shark tooth finding area, but I was still happy to be there.  The cliffs are so interesting; I’m always wondering how many years of sediment and fossils are built up in those towering edges, just waiting for one to fall down while I’m there so I can find some long-lost item.  Of course, that didn’t happen the first time, or this time, but It’s still an interesting place.  I searched around the area for some teeth, but to no avail…seems like everyone else was finding them though.  Guess that’s just another excuse for me to return, and I’m going all out with my teeth finding equipment next time.  I hung out for a while, searching for shells and teeth, snapping some pictures, and just enjoying this little isolated beach, and then headed back on another flip-flop clad “1.8” mile hike.  It wasn’t that bad; the though of death and foot amputation only crossed my mind a few times.  I only slightly considered throwing my flip-flops somewhere off the trail like Reese Witherspoon throwing her painful hiking boots in Wild.  It was really pretty though, as I mentioned, so having that, as well as the huge beaver I had to run by, was good motivation to keep me going and snapping pics.  I was, however, shocked with the feeling of euphoria that I had once I got to the car, not because it was over, but because I did it.  It’s been a while since I’ve done something like hike around a new place, so even if I was tired and my feet were killing me, it was still wonderful.  I’ll definitely be more prepared the next time, which will come sooner rather than later.

It was also nice to get out there and into a place where I was actually in nature, not just the nice beach or scenic drive by type places I’ve been seeing so much of lately.  With the theme of “out of place” in the forefront of my mind, walking this path really had me thinking about just how much we can be out of place in nature.  Just looking at how the paths, though well-traveled, were being over taken by nature in some areas, and destroyed by it in others had me thinking of how much we want to mold this world into something we can control, when in reality these forces are so much stronger than us.  Just a thought.  I’ve always enjoyed viewing houses and places being reclaimed by nature.  With how minimally invasive this trail was to the environment around it, It was nice to be out on a good, crunchy path, yet still see how nature can reclaim even the things we build to be most like it.

While I only took one picture which I would consider suitable for this week’s theme, I’m going to share the rest of the photos I took along the way.  My little “ladybug on vacation” is the winner for this week, since she’s not exactly your typical beach goer.  I’ve always enjoyed finding odd things at the beach, and like to imaging that they’re just taking a break also. Enjoy!  The ladybug may have been out of her normal habitat, but I think I know how she feels.

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