hiking & breathing at starved rock

I may have told sort of an unintentional untruth.

I posted a bit of my hiking journey to Starved Rock on my IG story and talked about it being my first time. Actually the first time I went hiking was while on the road to Hana in Maui county, Hawaii. I don't know how that experience eluded me, but somehow it felt different and new this time maybe that's the reason. When I hiked in Hawaii it felt sort of rushed. Obviously when you are vacay'ing there's sort of an itinerary to maintain because you want to have as many experiences during the duration of wherever of you are so it was...well...rushed. I went hiking at Starved Rock with my beautiful cousin @lenorashwrote and I got the opportunity to photograph her in the wilderness. It was a first for me conducting an actual photo shoot of another human with my Nikon D7200 and it felt like we were creating something meaningful. She is executing a cocoon series and she never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and art. I am so happy she let me be a part of it. You can check some of the photos in my photography section. Click here then scroll.

There was a silence out there that I can't explain. It reminded me how present God is; how present peace is; how close I am to a higher plain if I can focus on the serenity of the things around me and less of the chaos. As we were hiking we walked passed a girl who was sitting on a bench overlooking the Illinois River and writing while burning incense. I thought there is no better way to cull ideas, feelings and words than in the midst of nature. She inspired both of us and I kept thinking how my next adventure into the wilderness will be with a pen, paper and sage. I missed the opportunity to do so this time around, but when I got home and began to look through all of the photos I took, I started to write so I hope you enjoy these photos and the words that were birthed from them. 

photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

I reached beyond a pain I've always known. I reached straight into the darkness. I felt around in an empty space. My body was in two places at once. I felt a calm wind. I felt grain in between my fingertips. I felt an invisible softness. When I reached back to pull, wide open, a gateway I saw a path. I still carried a pain I have always known but with a new found spiritual perspective.© // written by cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

I didn't realize I could see myself from a distance. I'm just a shell. I am experiencing an awakening. The mirror only reflects that which I already see. In this moment I am seeing a kind of light; a kind of growth; a kind of life. Maybe a life I would've otherwise run away from, but one that I am now unafraid to face.© // written by cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

I fell once. Not in love. In complete ecstasy. I lived blindly in a world that I saw clearly. I forgave while broken. I loved when unloved. I craved a comfort that could not be given. I thought I was invisible, but the entire time it was you who I could not see. I am free to run.© // written by cici ford

phot cred: cici ford

phot cred: cici ford

She's just a warrior; a lion not a lioness; a soldier in war against those trying to take her voice, her skin, her mind, her soul. She abandoned being a product of her own despair. She waded the menacing waters. She sauntered through the thick imperceptible marsh of stolen souls left lost to self defeat. She retorted. She refused. She moved and moved again. She howled at the moon and gray skies moved cautiously out of her way. She is.© // written by cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford


Wrecked but healed. Shadowed and illuminated.

Invisible but centerstage. Closed but free.

Tired but woke. Insecure and beautiful.

Confused but aware. Lost and journeying.

Love to give love. Loved and lovely.

Shaking but steadfast. Unmovable and restless.

Surrounded by stars. Not beneath them.

I am her. She is me. There is no we. Only I.©

// written by cici ford

How could I not make a playlist because I am addicted to making playlists now so click my Resting in the Wilderness Spotify Playlist to daydream, create and envision nature wherever you are.  

  • Destiny // Zero 7

  • Beach Bummer // AC Newman

  • Something // Cyn

  • Drift // Urban Flora

  • Closer // Goapola

  • Warned You // Good Morning

  • Rockaway // Somersault

  • Nothing Lasts // Bedroom

  • Weird Around You // Eerie Summer

  • The Bird // Anderson .Paak

  • Take Care // Tom Rosenthal

  • A Thousand Years // Tom Rosenthal

  • Husky // Joey Pecoraro

  • Finding Parking // Joey Pecoraro

  • Eventually // Tame Impala

  • Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby // Cigarettes After Sex


photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford