Dogs are our link to paradise…

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.

Milan Kundera

My goal for today was to write an Earth themed post for the Weekly Photo Challenge but I’m still in the previously mentioned photographic dry spell and unless I wanted to recycle another forest related image my options were limited to new product shots for our Etsy store and Finn from last weekend.  Hmm…

My next thought was to look for quotes that contained both the words “earth” and “dogs” as a way to tie my one new shot to the challenge but all I found were hundreds of dog quotes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dog quote but what I really wanted was one perfect quote that brought these two things together in a way that made it seem like this was my plan all along.   Like I set out to take a shot of Finn lounging on the grass (earth) to illustrate my carefully prepared essay.

Now it’s posting time and I still don’t have a beautiful mother earth essay but I do have a dog photo, a quote that speaks to me and a story about Saturday afternoon on our grassy hill.

Many of you know we adopted Finn as a rescue dog.  He’d been facing doggie death row, was afraid of everything, could barely tolerate people touching him and any sudden movement or new interaction set him off into fits of barking.  Anything to keep the fearful object/person/smell/animal/car far away but the one thing he relaxed for was looking at John, Ryan and I together.  It’s been a long road for Finn as we’ve slowly introduced him to new people, a few kind dogs, several trainers and his friend and walking buddy Colleen.  Basically anything we could think of to give him a chance at a normal life and the opportunity to just be a dog.  He’s slowly become comfortable in the backyard but last weekend was the first time he successfully relaxed in the front yard.  Yay Finn!  He was with us for hours as we tried to reclaim flower beds from weed-pocalypse 2017 and dutifully followed me around and around when it was time to clean up the buckets, clippers, yard waste bins and rakes.  We were both tired, the sun was out, the grass was dry and the little hill in our backyard looked like a nice quiet place to sit and catch our breath.  For a few special minutes we were not bored, we were at peace.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Earth.

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The Road Taken

The parks do not belong to one state or to one section…. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”

“Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…. He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks. Stephen T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929 

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On March 2nd, 1899 President William McKinley signed legislation creating Mount Rainier National Park.  This week marks the 118th birthday of our fifth National Park and though I’m fortunate enough to see the lovely mountain almost every day from a car this photo was taken during my first visit inside the park in 2008.

Some my happiest days have been spent in our National Parks but while most of us have grown up with an awareness of the National Park Service we can’t take its existence for granted.  The political road our country has taken is placing these pristine treasures directly in harm’s way with a new bill introduced in Congress that encourages drilling in National Parks as well as orders to roll back the Waters of the U.S. rule protecting wetlands and headwaters and effecting 60% of the water bodies in our country.  Combined with dramatic budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, relaxing limits on greenhouse gas emissions and lifting the moratorium on federal coal leasing across 570 million publicly owned acres means the direction of our land management and the health of  our natural public treasures will be forever changed.

I’ve been posting a series of my favorite National Park photos on the NW Frame of Mind Instagram account and on my personal Twitter account using the hashtags #ProtectOurParks and #NationalParks. If you’d like to see more Parks photos please feel free to follow along and then post yours on your favorite social media platform.  Let me know if you do so I can see and share your work!  Together we can make a difference.

The American way of life consists of something that goes greatly beyond the mere obtaining of the necessities of existence. If it means anything, it means that America presents to its citizens an opportunity to grow mentally and spiritually, as well as physically. The National Park System and the work of the National Park Service constitute one of the Federal Government’s important contributions to that opportunity. Together they make it possible for all Americans–millions of them at first-hand–to enjoy unspoiled the great scenic places of the Nation…. The National Park System also provides, through areas that are significant in history and prehistory, a physical as well as spiritual linking of present-day Americans with the past of their country.  Newton B. Drury, NPS Director, 1940-1951

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  The Road Taken.

A Good Match

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…

John Muir

a-good-match

So many interpretations of a good match are running through my mind tonight – father and son, mountain hiking and stress relief, nature and escape, family time and growth.  You name it and I’ll find a way to match it with a quote and a shot of the Pacific Northwest.

This weeks image is a look back to our 2008 day at Artist Point in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and one of my favorite shots of John and Ryan together.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  A Good Match.

Against the Odds

I had always enjoyed the title of Commander-in-Chief until I was informed … that the only forces that cannot be transferred from Washington without my express permission are the members of the Marine Corps Band. Those are the only forces I have. I want it announced that we propose to hold the White House against all odds at least for some time to come.

John F. Kennedy

 

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As we celebrate Presidents Day Weekend I found this quote from our 35th, John F. Kennedy, about holding the White House “against all odds” with the help of the Marine Corps Band.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Against the Odds.

 

Shadow

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

Abraham Lincoln

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Shadows come and go but like strong character, trees are what really leave their mark on the world.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Shadow

Solitude

Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.  Aristotle

 solitude

I’m certainly not a wild beast or a god but it’s nice to know we have something in common.  Solitude.

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Time Is An Artist

Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart’s desire.  John Dewey

Time

I’ve spent a few days looking at this colorful map of the US on my desk and while I thought it would be a fun way to mark the final destinations of our new Etsy orders it’s actually sent me traveling down memory lane remembering childhood road trips across the American West.  Logically I know a 1972 Volkswagen Bus filled with 4 kids, 2 adults, food, suitcases, boxes of books and no air conditioning was not an idyllic way to view the country and sure we spent plenty of time fighting but looking back I smile and think of how many stories we have to share and how as adults those shared experiences keep us together as a family.  Time and memory really do work miracles softening the edges of mechanical break-downs, sweaty days on hot vinyl seats, crowded conditions and roadside rest stops into magical trips to Grandma’s house, horseback riding, camping and touring the country in ways I can’t wait to try again.

I’ve crisscrossed each of these states in a car many times with my siblings and soon John and I hope to pack up the car with Ryan and explore them all over again.   With air-conditioning, plenty of snacks and roadside assistance on speed dial.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Time.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weight(less) Kites

You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity.  Let out a little more string on your kite.

Alan Cohen

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This week Ben asks us to share a photo of something marked by its weight – or it’s weightlessness.  Ryan carried his new kite through a full day of hiking and beach combing on Whidbey Island waiting for the perfect amount of wind and if you look closely at the bluff in the background you can just make out the winding trail that led us to the viewpoint in my last post about an invincible summer.

Weight(less) 2

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Weight(less)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle (Goodbye 2015 and Hello 2016)

If I had to make a list of favorite ways to welcome the New Year visiting a beach would be right up at the top.  John and Ryan have bravely joined me for some of cold, wet and windy walks along the shore followed by a quick photo to mark our presence and in 2014 this tradition grew to include one “selfie” photo taken on the first day of every month.  I thought it would be a fun way to note what the year looked like and on December 31st 2014 I wrote a small post about our efforts illustrated by a collage of the 12 photos.

Of course we had to start 2015 at the beach with a new photo so I thought why not continue the series and take a photo every month for at least one more year.  We’ll never look any younger than we do today, right?  There were several nights when none of us wanted to pose for a picture but I persevered and by the end of each session we were usually laughing at our awful first attempts and couldn’t stop until everyone was at least slightly happy with the end result.

I didn’t have the 2015 photos ready in time for a post on the 31st but I thought this photo challenge would be a great excuse to play with Shape Collage on my iPhone so here you have our latest group of 12 images presented in a circle.

Circle

Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.

George Bernard Shaw

Trio

A trail-side “selfie” of John, Ryan and I illustrating everything that makes me happy and grateful as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in our sunny pacific northwest corner of the United States.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Trio.