An American Outpour on New Zealand

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New Zealand. Mighty, New Zealand.
With each breath you crest another wave,
Runners jog the beaches you pave,
And often forget tourists crave,
New Zealand. Mighty, New Zealand.
Your beauty is unlike anything I know,
From buildings & mountains high, to ocean floors below,
Your people use love, kindness, and pride to sow,
New Zealand. Mighty, New Zealand.
Rich with culture, stories, and lore,
From Middle Earth to the Hakas roar,
A country that beckons you to explore,
New Zealand. Mighty, New Zealand.
Whose roads I intend to roam,
With enough adventures to fill a tome,
A land this foreigner now calls home,
New Zealand. Mighty, Gentle New Zealand.

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The Beauty in a *CLICK*

Sometimes in life, you are given the rare glimpse into the lens of something truly beautiful. If you are smart, you will chase it and let it affect you in a deeply transformative way. I had just that experience the other day when I stumbled on a blog belonging to a WordPress user who followed my blog here at Leaves in the Pages. His name is Patrick Latter and his WordPress site is Canadian Hiking Photography.

The reason that I am writing about Patrick today, is because he never asked me to plug his website, photography, or blog. He never told me how awesome his photos are, or how I should check out his page when I get a chance. I am merely intrigued by all users who find an interest in my blog, and so I likewise check out theirs as well. What I didn’t expect to find when I clicked on his link was jaw dropping awe.

This is my favorite.

Patrick uses very good equipment and outlines what he uses before each post on his blog. (which I find very cool). Still, a tool is only as good as its master, and….I was found speechless on many occasions when scrolling through all the different photos and moments captured in his lens. The art, the beauty, the tranquility caught in a CLICK, was honestly one of a kind. No, I’m not drunk. I just love this stuff. I would be doing exactly what he is doing if I had the gear and the means.

I will now show you a greatest hits from what I found to be the most breathtaking and simplistically awesome. I would highly suggest following his blog, as the good pictures don’t stop coming with this guy. You can visit his website here: http://patricklatterphoto.com/#/0, his blog, as mentioned above, here: http://hikingphoto.com/, and if you want to buy any of his photos and hang them in your hallways (as I am thinking about doing), go here: http://patricklatter.smugmug.com/.

As you look through these photos, do more than glance and move on after 1-2 seconds. Take a moment, and really look at the photo. Imagine yourself there, taking the picture. Immerse yourself in the spectacle. Then you may understand why I love these photos.

Life in Moments

It is said that there are about 2.3 billion ‘moments’ in the average lifetime of a human being. Why that precise? In the average life, there are 2,366,820,000 seconds, 39,450,000 minutes, 657,436 hours, or 27,393 days for those moments to happen. Moments are made every second. They say that someone is experiencing something incredibly significant on the planet at all times.

No video could more accurately appreciate the seconds in this lifetime more than Andre & Markus at “The Beauty of a Second” vimeo channel. Here they really convey how precious the moments that we have in life truly are. Additionally, they prove how tragically and at the same time beautifully fleeting this life really is.

With each of these moments often come memories. Memories that if you search yourself, will have more of an impact than you anticipated. Some memories are bad, but for most the good memories are stored in a special place. The good memories seem to be placed in an area where they can’t be touched, waiting…waiting for you to remember, or access them again. I think this is healthy and keeps us alive, filled with hope for a better time, a happier time. In a project done by Galvea Kelly from Ireland, this director takes on a simple mission. 50 people in Chicago, one question: “What is your favorite memory?”

Moments in life happen all around us, and I wager that we most times are numb to the insignificant ones. Why would we pay attention? In this incredible visual collage of everyday moments, Vitùc shows the viewers that moments are everywhere, and these are some of the “under appreciated” ones that happen right under our noses without us sometimes even noticing them. To quote Vitùc, “the simple things of everyday life.”

Finally, I wish to show you, the readers, an incredible “life art project” in where the filmmakers, musicians, artists, politicians and cats…I’m quoting them on that one…, , come together to create a moment. The video is truly beautiful as they attempt and succeed in creating an artificial environment in an otherwise impossible situation. I like this philosophy. When you have an idea that will make people laugh, scratch their heads, giggle, play around, look like fools, or wonder…then MAKE that moment happen, don’t wait for it to fall into your lap. And that’s exactly what these people do.

All of the stories and moments that you found on this blog post today were originally found at the Incredible website Colossal. I would recommend checking it out and having your mind blown each week.

Additionally, if you want to check out more moments in life, there is an ENTIRE ARMY of people doing this very thing in New York City called “Improv Everywhere.” These people are creating, most times hilarious, life moments every. day. Enjoy.

ORIGINAL CONTENT LINKS:

The Beauty of a Second: https://vimeo.com/thebeautyofasecond

Fifty People, One Question: http://fiftypeopleonequestion.com/

Vitùc: https://vimeo.com/vituc

Kut: https://vimeo.com/kutfilms

Colossal: http://thisiscolossal.com

Improve Everywhere: http://improveverywhere.com/

The Chapter Begins, and it is Beautiful

Well after spending a significant amount of time in Michigan, I can confidently say that I am loving it here. I am glad that I am once again living with men I am comfortable calling my brothers. These past few days have been quite incredible. I am transitioning once again into living on my own…so to speak (living outside of my parents house). I am finding jobs to keep me busy while the long term work finalizes. We are also finding another apartment to live in and that is going very well.

It is a very specific, familiar feeling being back in Grand Rapids….like a warm blanket fending off a cold chill. Every street passed and smell taken in is a wave of nostalgia that had remained hidden to keep the pain at bay. Being away from my friends when I moved in 2008 was a painful experience. In order to take away some of the pain and enjoy my move back to Illinois, I had to separate nostalgia from friendship. It wasn’t Calvin College I missed, or even GR necessarily. The thing I missed most was my family that I had made in Michigan.

But now that I am back in GR, living here once again, I can’t help but fall in love with this city all over again. There is so much life, love, and happiness here that can’t be explained. I am not really too sure what it is that makes this place so different from where I grew up, but it is clear and it is true.

I will work very hard in the time that I am here, and I will also relish in every moment that I can before I eventually leave here for my journey to New Zealand. I am excited, even as I write this post, knowing that one day my dream…will become a reality. I have stepped into a brave new world here in Michigan, full of opportunity, joy, peace, and friendship. I cannot see anything bad or painful at the moment, and that is what I need right now. I experienced enough pain last semester…

If you are my friend, and you know me well, then I thank God for you and how you have influenced me. No matter where you are now, or what we have both been through, I will always pray for you and give thanks for the moment when we met, and you blessed my life.

The Most Inhospitable Place on the Planet

Before I get to what I was going to talk about today, I’ll catch you up on what’s been going on. I went rock climbing today after about 9 months without it. I love it so much. The thrill from climbing is just so great. Actually, now that I’m talking about it, it’s a little hard to explain. I think climbing is a rush for me, because I am able to physically conquer something. I’ve gotta go back soon.

Also, I am trying to use the time that I have left in Illinois effectively. Needless to say, I have been locking in my days seeing people, cleaning, doing errands, going to meetings, working, filling out immigration paperwork, etc. It’s been strangely busy. Still, there are the moments of lull…where I am doing nothing. It feels so deserved, but also so pointless. Hmmm.

So the other day, I heard this piece on NPR, via the BBC “World Service: Outlook” about…well, here’s the tage-line they used for the radio piece:

Today’s extraordinary personal stories come from Antarctica, the continent “where humans don’t belong”. We hear from scientists, writers and musicians who have made temporary homes in the white continent – their work inspired by the unique conditions in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.

I have to say…it was Really Cool. The piece talked about the pristine clear waters below the ice formations that have 3000 foot visibility. 3000 FEET!! That’s insane. That’s over 8 football fields long! Also, one scientist talked about the white-outs they would have there. She talked about how in some white-outs you could still see the shadows and shapes, but in this whiteout, there was nothing. It was a void. Just a Giant White Void. She was frightened to enter into it, for fear of not making it back. She reported that when she was inside the white-out, it was peaceful, still, calm, and quite. None of the visitors had experienced anything like it before.

More visitors talked about how the air smelled so fresh and clean. They said the sky looked brand new, and they had never seen anything like it before. It was as if the world outside the Continent didn’t exist. They ended saying that Antartica was in control, and it was so strange to experience. If Antartica said no one was coming in today, then no one was coming in today. No one dared question or test the will of the Continent.

I absolutely recommend listening to this piece, it’s only a little under 30 minutes, and you will gain an interesting perspective on the 7th Continent like you’ve never before. It made me want to visit there!