A Day to Yourself

7 August 2014

The days began to run together where I couldn’t really think. A solid week where I literally could NOT get past my own nagging minutia of to-do list thoughts to sincerely contemplate. I became an expert in finding anything else to do other than– think. Pay a bill, go for a run, check Instagram, phone a friend, anything but be alone with my inner-most thoughts.

Since I obviously wasn’t capable of actual deep thinking, I decided it would be best to remove myself from my surroundings into somewhere more serene. People say they do their best thinking while driving or in the shower, but my best thinking materializes during walks.  What I needed was to take a long walk in silence with minimal distractions.

Naturally, I did research for the “best” walks near to me, or for parks in the area. Most options seemed uninspiring, others I’d been to. You see what’s happening here, don’t you? I was I clearly already being distracted by “researching where I would go to think,” so I wouldn’t think.

Freaking wormhole and the outlook wasn’t good.

I kept researching, until…..

Until I came across an Art Park about 30 minutes away, called Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, in Cazenovia, New York. With over a hundred acres of land and walking trails, Stone Quarry Hill was exactly what I needed; experiencing art in nature was just an added bonus.

The entrance to the park had a lonely donation box to greet me where I threw in the only cash I had on hand before entering a long winding dirt road. I parked the car, grabbed my camera and left my phone in the car. I can’t be trusted with that thing, so in the car my phone stayed.  I had come with the intention of being by myself and taking a step back from my constant go-go-go-go mentality.

I found that here at Stone Quarry Hill. It was a very peculiar place, but absolutely enchanting. I noticed a few visitors who came + went , grazing the compound like myself, reading the placards on the sculptures while lazily walking around. A storm was rolling in from the distance, casting a dark shadow over the park, cooling it off but never raining.

I sat for a long time near a sculpture, ironically called “Contemplating Man,” created by Stone Quarry Hill’s Founder and Art Pioneer, Dorothy Riester.  I figured with a sculpture titled with my exact intention, it might be best to take the hint/cue. It was quiet, serene and I was finally able to clear my head and do what I intended: reflect.

If you haven’t been to the Stone Quarry Art Park, please, go. I’ll definitely be returning for the Syracuse Ceramic Guild’s 34th Annual Pottery Fair, on Saturday, August 16th. It’s up to you to go alone or bring a friend.

As for my inner monologues, I’ll keep those to myself — just know that it’s not an easy place to be, but necessary.

Studies suggest that not giving yourself time to reflect impairs your ability to empathize with others.

Feeling what you feel is an ability that atrophies if you don’t use it.

Here are a few pictures from my day to myself.

Take yours soon.

Stone Quarry

Door In the Woods (+ kids.)

Door In the Woods (+ kids.)


I did not pick these flowers, others on the property I may be found guilty. “Belle Époque,” by Michael Kalish installed 2013, donated by Perrier-Jouët.


The sprawling estate. Pro-tip: wear good walking shoes.


Further reading for a good think:

  • No Time To Think – NY Times:  “It’s like we’re all in this addicted family where all this busyness seems normal when it’s really harmful.” – Stephanie Brown.
  • A Relationship with Self: from my daily read, The Daily Om. The most important relationship we have in our lives is with ourselves, mind, body and spirit.
  • Recommended to me through OceanViolet favorite, Kelley Shields from Brooklyn Bambini, the mediation app: Calm. Might as well put that device to work.
  • Stone Quarry Art Park Founder, Dorothy Riester on NPR’s StoryCorps: it’s a quick listen and sums up how some things don’t always go according to plan. She also may be single-handedly responsible for one of the most iconic artists in US history.  Just a guess
  • Timely + worth mentioning, today’s NPR piece on My Own Private SanctuariesDo you have one?





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Jessica Arb Danial Art Advisory