Archive for Nature

Road Trip: Charlotte and Asheville

Posted in Art, Life with tags , , , , , , , on July 20, 2015 by lisadiakova

I drove into Charlotte late in the afternoon and roamed aimlessly around downtown, then the suburbs, when my car kindly reminded me that I had about 5 miles of gas left. My energy was a bit low as well. After filling up the tank I hit up a Barnes and Noble to create a plan for the following day. The U.S. National Whitewater Center was close by and I figured my beer-abused, sleep-deprived body could use some exercise.

Some of the houses in Charlotte are really impressive, at certain angles they kind of take your breath away. The next morning I snapped a few pics but could not capture the feeling, so I gave up and headed to the Whitewater center, where I worked my butt off rafting, zip-lining, and balancing on the ropes courses. I wonder if there’s a word for that—the frustration of not being able to capture something in a picture? Perhaps Germans have a word. Germans have a word for everything, my favorite being “Backpfeifengesicht” which means a face that needs to be punched/slapped. Ever met someone with a face you really want to punch for no reason? Nope, not me. Never. 🙂

I was excited to visit Asheville, because my friend in Savannah said I’d love it, and every person to whom I mentioned Asheville, had great things to say. To make a long story short, I was supposed to stay there two nights, and I ended up staying for five. Asheville is a kind of Bohemian paradise. It has more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. There is a shortage of jobs, so the people who live there are often severely over-qualified for the work they do, which makes for interesting conversation. On any given day, you’ll find some really great music being played on the streets. The restaurants and shops are engaging in their design and products. The antique stores are pretty massive, and I didn’t think it could happen, but I found a doll that was too creepy even for me.

The city seems to have a little bit of everything you could want, and the options are well executed. I met some really incredible people in Asheville… motorcycle aficionados, nature enthusiasts, college students taking an epic road trip, musicians in town for a handpan gathering, even an Aussie who refused to go any place where he’d have to wear shoes.

Asheville is surrounded by mountains so there are many options for hiking, outdoor sports, nature studies… On my way out of Asheville, I decided to stop at the Hot Springs Resort, where I soaked in an outdoor tub filled with natural spring water while observing the encompassing landscape. A few spiders here and there, but worth facing my fears. I’m not too keen on spiders.

The entire time I was in Asheville, I felt comfortable and inspired. I didn’t have much of an urge to do anything touristy. I just enjoyed the regular rhythms of the city and its people. Everyone I encountered had their own peculiar story about Asheville, a woman in a fairy outfit, a man dressed as a nun while sipping beer out of a car window, a lady who actively protests circumcision (Oh, yes. She incorporates signs and other visuals)… One afternoon, I stepped outside to find a gathering of models and photographers. I was informed it was a Fash Mob. It’s like a flash mob but for industry professionals, so models and photographers meet each other on the street and take spontaneous pics. Asheville is odd in all the right ways. I saw something that read, “If you are too weird for Asheville, you are too weird.” That’s a pretty fair assessment.




U.S. National Whitewater Center:

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Asheville, NC:

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Inside A Box, Inside A Box

Posted in Life with tags , , , , on March 20, 2012 by lisadiakova

Tucked in one of the many miscategorized, poorly named files on my computer, there are a few never-brought-to-orgasm blog entries that I probably won’t get to share with you. Not because of some major mystery that’s held within them, but because I just haven’t had the conviction to finish a single entry in weeks.

I sat down at 5 am this morning, crisp from insomnia, feeling bright as a fluorescent bulb. It is now 7:20 and I realize I’ve been biting my nails, staring at the screen, and wasting time doing idiotic things like traveling streets on google maps.

Tepid coffee sits in the Mickey Mouse cup my sis gave me last year when she went to Orlando. I miss her. I miss the kids. Yeah, yeah… the cup of coffee is my stale little soul. Mickey ironically smiles at my misery. The perfect cliché of the tortured, self-deprecating artist.

Mickey can shove his pedophilic smile. I’ll drink the stuff anyway. I’d also really love a hard-boiled egg, but something about combining sulfur with milk and coffee, makes my stomach turn.

Life has been good to me, I tell myself. I’m well. There’s nothing wrong except that nagging feeling that somehow I swallowed the red pill without being warned. Yet, I’m satisfied with the fact that I’m more self-aware. I still want EVERYTHING, but I’m starting to decipher my honest desires from things that might be cool to try some day. This doesn’t console me though. I know perfectly well that tomorrow it could all change. I’ll be back in The Matrix, eating Filet Mignon while making mental notes to sign up for jujitsu classes and take a tour of the Federal Reserve. Never feeling satiated. Always wondering what else is out there.

Lately, I can’t get over this intense longing for home. Belonging. Where is that? I’ve always been fascinated with transcendentalist writers like Thoreau and Whitman. Walden motherfuckin’ pond. It would be glorious to feel one with nature. To build my cabin in the woods. To enjoy days that drag on, and make time to fix a proper breakfast.

Beautiful, idyllic scenes fill my head. Naturally, I want to break something just so I can glue it back together.

Caught somewhere between anxiety and illusion, I’m like one of those stupid birthday gifts that’s been packed inside a box, inside a box, inside a box, inside a box…  Open the damn thing already. Let me out.


Posted in Life with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2011 by lisadiakova

I was telling a friend the other day that I loved hurricanes as a child. Fifteen minutes later, as the breeze made the trees dance feverishly, I realized with all my heart that I still do.

It’s been two days now since Irene came whirling through New York. I woke up this morning to a soft gust blowing through my bedroom curtains. The world feels new again. People are outside doing simple tasks like sweeping the sidewalk. Others have headed off to work, but there is a definite change of pace. The streets are quieter. Life feels slower. More deliberate. The wind is gentle, fresh, and romantic in its own way.

I grew up in South Florida where hurricanes were a real danger. People packed stores and took everything off the shelves–condiments, old jars of pickled stuff. Gas station lines wrapped around the block. Everyone had something to talk about, someone to care for. A bit of healthy hysteria combined with the actual threat that nature could very well kill us was this little girl’s wet dream. Hurricanes were god-like. They appeared from nothing like some otherworldly entity coming to get us. Ask a Miami kid what the sky looked like the night before a big storm. It was ominously beautiful. Violet reds mixed with orange, pink, subtle blues… Nature in all its glory and magnificent power. On the one hand, it was sickeningly gorgeous, on the other, brutal chaos.

On this note, I welcome you to my world. Dualities reign freely here. The ruined and the beautiful are closely linked. Life is at its best when the threat of death is near. I’ve spent so much time seeking some semblance of perfection only to realize it is the damages that draw my eye.

Please make yourself at home. Be kind to the furniture.