A World of Unique Character and Natural Beauty

Circle of Beauty

May 4, 2012      Author : Elisa Wike Hurley    Category: Community, Environment      0 Comment(s)


gather us

color us

pinecone curve

—Photo by Eric Hopkins

There’s a soft mist in the air as the children at the elementary school in Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert Island create an outdoor mandala, or circle, during their “Arts Week” mid-April, 2012. They want to give something back, a bit of beauty on the ground, as a way of saying thank you to their planet Earth. Ebullient and thoughtful, the children begin to fill in the circle with natural materials found on their island and beyond. Framed with cedar wood, beach stone, and mussel shell, the art begins to vibrate and sing as they add their contributions. I am transfixed by their patience, devotion almost, as a tiny flower petal is placed inside the sweet curve of a clamshell. My assistant, Eric Hopkins, newly transplanted MDI artist, helps one boy find more pinecones, while other community members and parents kneel down to share in the experience. A transformation occurs: everyday natural objects for those living on an island become resplendent treasures, delights to carry and observe. At its completion, the children hold hands and create their own circle around the colorful mandala. Yes, these are young school children, individuals living on an island in Maine, yet definitely part of a beautiful, unified whole.


eye bright

oysters of

dance delight

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


center sweet

this circle

love and light

—Photo by Carol Shutt


hands hold

tender touch

of wood & rock

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


echinoid &

ancient glow

golden gray

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


fly free

sweet feet

all abundant

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


time rose

wait see

all be

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley



wisdom seeker

of white rock

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


open &

dive delve


—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


pink warmth

of kindness

heart two

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley



petal flower &

tattoo gentle

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


mussel music

move &

rhythm note

—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


young old

oh mollusk


—Photo by Elisa Wike Hurley


pinecone peony


violet song

—Photo by Eric Hopkins

Elisa Wike Hurley is a photographer, writer and teacher living on Mount Desert Island with her two amazing teenagers, Annika and Ian. She frequently wanders the island with her camera looking at small things closely. She is grateful, every day, for the opportunity to live in such a resplendent place.

More photographs by Elisa Wike Hurley at Maine Island Gallery

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