Shades of Blue: Part 11 – Happy Halloween!

If you’ve been reading my Shades of Blue posts from the beginning you might notice I’ve skipped ahead a little from late summer but we’re hours away from Halloween and some pictures really need to be shared in the moment.

John thinks/dreams/plans for Halloween year round and by mid-summer he starts gathering materials and planning each room.  Even though everything looks best at night lit only by candles and a few carefully placed spot lights I try to take plenty of photos and share them here for everyone to enjoy!

 

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Shades of Blue: Part 7 – Crab Pots and Donuts

As an antidote to the wet, windy weather outside I’m remembering a sunny day in July and returning to my Shades of Blue series.  Today’s post is picture heavy with only a few words so we can all enjoy the pretty blue skies, colorful flowers and peaceful waterfront views from our early morning outing with crab pots and donuts.

The Simplest Pedestrian

Far better to be the simplest pedestrian, with knapsack on back, stick in hand, and gun on shoulder, than an Indian prince travelling with all the ceremonial which his rank requires. Jules Verne

Substitute the above mentioned gun for a trusty slingshot and Jules Verne perfectly describes Ryan’s preferred method of exploring.  As soon as his hand could hold a nice, long stick  he insisted on at least one along with a little backpack every time we left the house.  The sticks now live by the door and his backpacks are larger but the habit remains.  If we’re going adventuring he’s ready with stick and supplies.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Pedestrian.

Layered Trees and Exposed Identities

In the spring and summer I watched my plants flower, but it was, perhaps, in winter that I loved them best, when their skeletons were exposed. Then I felt they had more to say to me, were not simply dressing themselves for the crowds. Stripped of their leaves, their identities showed forth stark, essential.  Pamela Erens

You can always find something green and growing in our corner of the Pacific Northwest and I love our leafy canopies, fern covered forests and plentiful mosses but at the same time I can’t stop looking for these graphic views of the sometimes hidden structure of trees.  There’s something about their strength and repetition that captures my attention every single time.

There are subtle seasonal variations in forests like these but their essential identities are unchanged and on a quiet day Ryan and I like to think we are seeing the same path as someone walking in a past century.

Of course our 21st century forests can’t match the old growth size of these beautiful trees before logging cleared the area but they serve as a living reminder of nature’s tenacity and its power to refresh and recover after adversity.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Layered.

 

Shades of Blue: Part 6 Summer Skies and Garden Flowers

Football is on the television, fresh rain is clearing the last of the forest fire smoke and I’m reaching for a fleece vest while looking back through my pictures for another summer gallery.

Today’s choices are all about summer skies, summer flowers, summer nights and summer salads.  Plenty of flowers and time by the water with fresh salads and cool drinks make my happy place complete.  🙂  What are your favorite ingredients for a happy summer place?

Waiting…

“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”
― Stanley Coren

Labor Day has come and gone, our summer weather is turning to fall and after a long stretch of quiet days Ryan is back to school enjoying his junior year.  Dogs always notice when a routine changes and Wednesday morning two months of Ryan’s undivided attention came to an end. Finn watched with worried eyes as he packed a lunch, picked up his backpack and walked outside for the traditional first day of school picture.

Finn spent the day waiting, curled up by Ryan’s computer chair ready to jump up and welcome him home.  New routine firmly in place until next summer.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Waiting.

 

 

 

Shades of Blue: Part 5 – Dusty Corners

Walk, run, cycle – When you live inside your head for such long periods of time, you have to open the windows, air it out a bit, let sunlight stream into all the dark and dusty corners of your mind. Twinkle Khanna

I like to think of summer as a time for some personal “deep cleaning.”  There are vacations to look forward to, school routines are forgotten and we open the windows to fresh air both literally and figuratively.  I knew this year would be a little different but my plan was to spend at least one day each week outside enjoying the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer.  I could take plenty of photos along the way and re-emerge in September with months of new post material and a renewed outlook on life.

Well, you know what they say about best laid plans. Today is September 1st and Ryan and I made it outside for 5 days of hiking, I have a library full of new pictures to share and as I write this my windows are wide open but I’m still searching for that sunlight moment that means the cobwebs have been brushed aside and the corners are clean.

We’ve had a busy three months as a family, John started a new job, Ryan rested and recovered after a stressful school year and some oral surgery, I’ve continued to work my two jobs as well as run our two online stores so our days are full from morning to night.  When you add in politics that I just can’t turn away from, weeks of forest fire smoke that put a damper on our hiking calendar and now the hurricane in the Gulf States and I have to admit finding my focus for creative work and blogging has been a challenge.

Through it all though I’ve continued to take pictures and hope soon I’ll be ready to start sharing them because there is plenty to love about 2017 and I’m determined to shine some light on the bright sides.

The photos in my first gallery above are from some lovely June nights while the gallery below is from the hike we took on my birthday.  Our first outing of the season and the beginning of my summer quest to get outside of my own head.

 

Textures and Elemental Sounds

The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.  Henry Beston

Regular readers know I like to start these WordPress photo challenges with a quote that leads to a small story related to a favorite photo and I build the post from there.  It usually takes me a few days to find a quote that both catches my interest and matches a picture but 9 times out of 10 it all comes together.

Every once in a while though I start the process at the end deciding on a picture first and sometimes I don’t quite make it through the full circle of quote with challenge word, story and images.  Today’s post is one of those exceptions where I hit 2 of the three marks but that elusive third is not quite complete.  Oh well.  I feel a connection to the quote, it works with my photos and it’s a good intro to this weeks story.  The fact that the word prompt, textures, isn’t in the quote will just have to be ok because this primeval wood is full of texture.

I started nodding my head as I read this quote for the first time and when I called Ryan in to read it he looked over and said “Mom, you say those things all the time.”  My words don’t quite match Henry Beston’s but these are indeed the three natural things I enjoy most about this part of our country.  I pick remote hiking and camping locations just so I can hear the uninterrupted sound of wind through the trees and the mesmerizing rhythm of waves rolling onto an otherwise quiet beach is something I seek out often as possible.  I even find ways to enjoy the sound of rain and find comfort in the pitter patter of wet drops on the roof while trying to fall asleep.

As luck would have it Ryan and I found all three of these elemental sound textures during our latest hiking trips through the islands and forests of Washington state.  I’ve included a photo of a small waterfall to illustrate the rain because we’re in the middle of what may turn into the longest rain-free stretch in Seattle area history but take my word for it, a small trickling waterfall sounds a lot like rain.

 

Satisfaction

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.  E. O. Wilson

 

If you’ve ever wondered why Pacific Northwesterners put up with dreary, wet winters it’s because of summers like this.  We don’t have formal vacation plans this year but when an island hike is a short hour away from home who needs an airplane!

It only took a few minutes for Ryan and I to pack a lunch and check ferry schedules before we were out the door and on our way to Whidbey Island for our favorite hike along Ebey’s Landing.  We started at the top soaking up these beautiful views then made our way down to the beach for lunch where  Ryan found a driftwood fort just the right size for two and we settled in for our picnic, watching the waves and listening to seagulls.

A day away from our usual routines does wonders for the soul and the satisfaction of a true escape to nature can carry us through the weeks ahead.

 

Shades of Blue: Part 4

I’ve got a photo filled post for you this week as we continue my June walks through town and along the beach.  You get to see my mother’s day flowers blooming by our backdoor, views from the marina, an accidental shot of beach sand when I was trying to put my phone away and if you look closely at the left side of the last photo above there’s a quiet seagull waiting patiently for dinner.

 

We’re lucky here to have not one but three public beaches with plenty of room to explore and the hardy summer roses are a must see for me at each stop.  We slowed down to see a tiny crab, found our place on the map and were surprised by a big boulder with a perfect peep-hole to the water. We sit by this spot all the time but this is the first day I’ve noticed the opening…

If you’re new to this series and wonder why these photos are all shot in Hipstamatic or why I call them Shades of Blue my first Blue post explains it all.  I haven’t decided how long the series will last but I have plenty of photos for a few more weeks at least so I hope you’re enjoying them. 🙂