Into Something Better: Big Island of Hawai’i – September 2017

Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me,

She took me back so tenderly

Arranging her skirts

Her pockets full of lichens and seeds.

I slept as never before

A stone on the riverbed,

Nothing between me and the white fire of the stars,

But my thoughts.

And they floated light as moths

Among branches of the perfect trees.

All night I heard the small kingdoms

Breathing around me.

The insects and the birds

Who do their work in darkness.

All night I rose and fell,

As if water, grappling with luminous doom.

By morning I had vanished at least a dozen times

Into something better.


“We as a group of artist mothers from all over the world are making it our priority to turn off the tv/video games so that we can give our children the sacred experience to connect with the fast disappearing natural world. We will freelens our adventures into the wild and share them through this monthly project.”


We had the great joy and fortune of dear family visiting from Switzerland, and joined them on a little getaway to the Big Island of Hawaii. What fun it was to explore a different island! Just a short 20 minute flight over from Maui, it amazes me how vastly different this island is. And what I love so much about traveling with a toddler is the invitation to slow down and take notice of the little things too, the subtle, the not so obvious. The little creatures living in the warm tide pools, the wind in the trees, the way coarse grains of black sand feel on your skin, and the rainbow of colors actually present in the seemingly black lava that nature covered so much of this island with in beautiful, swirling patterns. A highlight for big and small was to witness hot lava meeting the sea – a majestical spectacle none of us will forget. Nature is truly astounding.


Next up is Celeste, whose work has inspired me since I first happened upon her on Instagram. Visit her forest adventures in Woodbine, Maryland here, and continue to follow our circle around the world!





  • Anna said:

    wow, wow! So beautiful. I love this set!

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Anna!

  • Jennifer Kapala said:

    Oh Barb these are all so stunning. I love them...and you all....

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and your support always. We love you all too!

  • Léa said:

    what a beautiful set of images! thank you for sharing this beauty with us. Léa

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Léa!

  • Wow! Thank you for these gorgeous images! Through your vision, I was transported to another place and time. Hawaii means so much to me and holds a very special place in my heart. I spent an amazing week ALONE on the big island 17 years ago and learned a great deal about myself.

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much for your kind words Kate! Wow what an amazing experience that must have been. Makes me so happy I could bring back feelings of that special place for you.

  • Melissa L said:

    Barb, these images are fantastic. your compositions are so good. There was a trio of images that truly wowed me. The black and white image of the sky and the trees at the bottom, this image could be a huge print, and then the BW portrait of your daughter was just gorgeous, and directly below was the closeup of the green leaf with lizard.....loved those, not to mention the adorable baby bum photos :)

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so so much for your kind words Melissa. Means so much to me, as does this project.

  • Sandra said:

    Wann hast du nur all diese wunderbaren Aufnahmen gemacht? Ich bewundere, wie du einen Moment einfangen kannst und ihn so wiedergibst, dass man sich fühlt, als wäre man dabei.

    • barbtoyama said:

      Es freut mich so, dass du wirklich dabei warst! Ich fange Momente so am liebsten ein - wie schön wird es sein, für Kate und uns alle, diese Reise in Jahren via Fotos wieder "erleben" zu können!