Into Something Better: Olinda Forest, Maui Hawaii

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.”


After shooting a session in this forest last month, I knew I had to return here for this project. I wish I could have photographed the fragrant smell the forest greets you with – that alone is worth a visit. Kate brought her little snack along and enjoyed it while taking in her surroundings. She did not, however, have any interest in my photo-taking agenda, instead wanting to hold my hand, walking, and jumping off of logs together. If I stopped for a photo she soon said, “wiiter laufe” (keep walking), so I left my photographic expectations on the soft carpet of pine needles beneath our feet, and was grateful for the reminder that we were here to connect with nature, together. And really, how lucky am I, that this little person chooses to explore the world with her hand in mine?


Don’t forget to travel all the way around the circle to see more art and nature adventures – the link to the next artist is at the bottom of the post.


Up next, head to a colder part of the world, to Ontario, Canada for the talented Sherri Davis’ adventure.

  • Pingback : Into Something Better – Apples, Vaud, Switzerland – November, 2017 » Kate Cuénoud Photography

  • Nikki said:

    Oh barb, the one of your little girl peeling her orange and your flip flops, heart swelling. I feel completely emotional going through the circle this month, all those magical moments spent with our little loves. Nikki XOX

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you Nikki and I agree - the circle is so full of magic. How lucky are we to spend this time outside with our littles.

  • Kelly Sutton said:

    What a sweet, sweet adventure in the forest, with your beautiful little girl, captured through your gorgeous images. I loved the one where you included your own feet in the image. It's always nice to remember we are there too, even if it's only our toes.

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Kelly! Yes, I love these reminders of ourselves in our projects, I always try and include one if I can, so important for them to have memories of our presence too.

  • Incredible images as usual, Barb. Kate is so lucky to have a willing, playful and loving mother and I'm sure she will treasure these images when she is older as a memento of these times together. xxoo Kate.

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Kate!

  • Cindy said:

    I love all of the textures and details that you have captured In a forest where most would just walk past. Stunning!

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Cindy! It's nice to have a little companion to point out all these details for me :)

  • Léa said:

    i can feel her happiness through your photos. lovely series of images that show how much you enjoy being there with her. xo, Léa

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you so much Léa!

  • Sherri said:

    This circle is such a gift, i never think of hawaii as being a place with forests. I only think of waves and flowers, but here is this beautiful space, so different than what I would have ever expected from your beautiful island. Simply stunning

    • barbtoyama said:

      Yes, don't get me wrong I love the ocean and waves, but it's so nice that this circle inspires me to explore the lesser known places on this beautiful island. It truly is a gift.

  • ahhhh, such a lovely warm holiday adventure with your little one. she is adorable!

    • barbtoyama said:

      Thank you Celeste!

  • Anna said:

    The forest is so magical. These are beautiful!

    • barbtoyama said:

      Isn't it? Thank you Anna!