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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Yosemite Meditations for Women

Apr 30, 2013 02:36PM ● By Linda Sechrist

In her forward to Yosemite Meditations for Women, Lorraine Anderson, author and editor of Sisters of the Earth, wrote, “Yosemite National Park is a place of transcendent beauty in the middle of what John Muir called the “Range of Light.” For those who visit with the eyes to see and the ears to hear, it is an invitation to return to our true nature. Stirred by the music of Yosemite’s moving waters, the majesty of its granite faces, the lushness of its forests and meadows, the abundance of its animal life, the radiance of its mountain air, we remember how securely we are woven into this web of life we are. We rest for a time in the vast freedom of that knowledge.” 

It was as effortless for Anderson to write this inspirational forward as it was for Claudia Welsh to find the right quotes for her husband, Michael Frye’s photographs, which make the book a meditative read for any nature lover. This was largely due to the fact that Anderson, Welsh, and Frye have had memorable encounters with the magic of Yosemite National Park, which reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain.

Welsh and Frye lived, worked, and raised their son in Yosemite amidst the ever-changing light that illumines granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams and Giant Sequoia groves. “In 1984, Michael and I met while working for the main concessioner at the time, Yosemite Park & Curry Company. We fell in love, married, and our son Kevin was born in 1990. I became the book buyer and then the manager for The Ansel Adams Gallery adjacent to the Valley Visitor Center. Michael stayed at home to take care of Kevin and work on honing his career as Yosemite Meditations for Womenprofessional photographer,” says Welsh. Today Frye’s skills and reputation are the reasons why amateur and professional photographers travel to the park to take his classes.

As a result of spending a great deal of their lives in the park, Welsh and Frye have rich memories of Nature’s landscapes, which change through the seasons. “Whether it was the arrival time for red-winged blackbirds, showy milkweed and wild azalea blooming in the meadows, or more water in the falls, there were always things to observe on our meditative walks,” advises Welsh, who points out that while the photographs in the book capture the splendor of the park’s seasons the quotes inspire contemplation and reflection.

Welsh shares her love of nature and parenting with a group of close women friends. “We’ve raised our kids together, hiked together, and gone on our annual Yosemite mom’s camping trip to Tuolumne Meadows,” notes Welsh. The kids, who are now adults, developed a strong connection to nature and to each other. Many still continue to accompany their mothers on their Yosemite Meditationscamping adventure.

Welsh, who researched quotes for the book and shared them with her friends advises, “My books projects begin as a kernel of an idea. I’m not always sure of how they are going to turn out. As I discuss them with Michael and my friends, synergy happens and his photos along with the quotes from writers such as Lorraine Anderson, Susan Swinger, J.K. Rowling, Pam Houston and many others come together effortlessly as if they were always meant to be,” explains Welsh. “I’m happy that these projects benefit the Yosemite Conservancy, which does so much to help the park.”