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Yep, I'm a tree Hugger.

Growing up in Florida near the white sandy beaches, I was never really much of a nature girl. First off, as a native of the Sunshine State, I was raised to sort of fear the sun. It was said to cause a whole host of stuff especially that C word. You know the one.

So I diligently applied chemical laden sunscreens on my body not even aware of the ingredients there that were harming me. I eventually came to actually be somewhat of a sun avoider. There were many years that you couldn’t find a tan line on my body. And I kept avoiding the outdoors on all levels.

I was always a dancer and a girly girl Yet, I remember being little and loving how I felt after climbing a tree. Sitting in it, perched and feeling hidden from sight. It was rather invigorating so how could I forget that. I can’t actually tell you when life got so serious that I forget to enjoy nature.

I remember being little and loving how I felt after climbing a tree. Sitting in it, perched and feeling hidden from sight.

In 2015, my Grandmother passed away right after Thanksgiving. It was needless to say devastating, as she was such a big part of my everyday life. I was also born on her 42nd birthday so in some ways, she felt like a Mom to me too. That’s a young Granny! I called her Mom Mom.

So there I was on the day that she died, staring at her body when something magical happened. Not able to be seen to the naked eye, a ray of light appeared over her body. I only know this because I took a picture of her after she passed at my own Mothers request. I looked at the phone and saw this massive ray of light coming in from the window and over her heart. It was beautiful and bitter sweet. After I came home, there was another ray of light searching for me in my house. And then another, and more.

And so, from that day forward. I see nature differently because that is where I feel my Grandmother. I always know when to take a picture because I feel her there, with her ray of light and it never fails. She is present. I always know when to ask to be taken a picture of, because I feel her. And there she always is… in the colors of the light warming my skin with beautiful reminders that she existed. Orbs of beauty show me that she is still with me and I feel happy to feel the glow of the sun because of her.

I don’t have a fear of the sun anymore. And I actually consider myself outdoorsy now. When I am in nature, hugging a tree, smelling the flowers and connecting in… I feel like I am home.

And that super pale body, well I’m still pretty pale. Yet, the tan lines and brown spots remind me that I am alive.

Xo, Heather

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