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  • Jennifer Dowd

Finding Solace and Joy: A Photo Walk with my Aunt, Dog, and Nature - May 14, 2023

As the first Mother's Day since my mom's passing approached, I found myself grappling with a mix of emotions. It was a bittersweet time, filled with memories and longing for her presence. Determined to honor her memory while seeking solace and distraction, I embarked on a memorable photo walk with my beloved Aunt and our trusty canine companion, Baylee. Our journey took us to the picturesque Spectacle Lake, followed by a visit to the stunning Royal Roads University campus. This day became a testament to the healing power of nature.

With our cameras in hand and anticipation in our hearts, my Aunt, Baylee, and I set off early in the morning, eager to beat the summer heat. As we arrived at Spectacle Lake, the tranquility of the surroundings instantly washed over us. The lake's glassy surface mirrored the majestic mountains and towering trees that encircled it, creating a symphony of colors and textures.

The rhythmic sound of our footsteps on the trail served as a soothing soundtrack to our exploration. The scent of pine and wildflowers infused the air, invigorating our senses. It was as if nature knew the weight on our hearts and embraced us with open arms, offering comfort and respite.

Baylee, my four-legged companion, proved to be the ultimate source of joy and companionship during our photo walk. With every step, her tail wagged in pure excitement, as if she sensed the need to uplift our spirits. Her zest for life was contagious, reminding us to embrace the present moment and find joy in the simplest of pleasures. Her carefree spirit became a reminder that life continues to move forward, even in the face of loss. Her unwavering loyalty and unconditional love were invaluable, providing a much-needed distraction from the heaviness in my heart.

Following our exploration of Spectacle Lake, we made our way to Royal Roads University Gardens, a place renowned for its breathtaking beauty and tranquil atmosphere. The university's historic campus, nestled amidst lush gardens and meticulously landscaped grounds, offered a haven of inspiration for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

With its striking architecture, vibrant gardens, and captivating vistas, Royal Roads University became our canvas. Each step revealed hidden gems, prompting us to capture the essence of the moment through our lenses. The act of photography allowed us to focus on the beauty around us, momentarily freeing our minds from grief and fostering a sense of connection with our surroundings.

Engaging in photo walks has become a therapeutic practice for me, especially during challenging times.

Through the lens of my camera, I find solace in capturing the intricate details of nature and the profound emotions they evoke. It serves as a form of self-expression, allowing me to channel my emotions and navigate through the complex journey of healing.

Photo walks not only distract my mind from grief but also provide a platform for reflection and gratitude. They remind me of the immense beauty that exists in the world, offering a gentle reminder that life continues to unfold, bringing with it moments of joy and serenity.

As I look back on my photo walk adventure with my Aunt and fur baby, Baylee, I am filled with a sense of gratitude. Nature, with its abundant beauty and unwavering presence, embraced us in our time of need. Spectacle Lake and Royal Roads University became catalysts for healing, distracting our minds and filling our hearts with newfound joy.

As I navigate the first Mother's Day without my mom, my sorrow is top of mind, and yet I find solace in the knowledge that she would want me to cherish every moment, celebrate her life, and find joy even in the midst of sorrow. The photo walk served as a poignant reminder that she will forever remain in my heart and that her love and spirit will guide me on this journey of healing.

I miss you, Mama! Happy Mother's Day.

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