“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” Dali Lama

All Time Favorites: Angular

I know I’m not alone in feeling sad the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges have come to an end.  I’m not the most prolific blogger these days but this recurring event has been both my favorite online group activity and source of inspiration when my creative well is dry.  Not only did the prompts push me to new exploration but reading the varied responses in real-time was another eye-opener, there are so many ways to interpret one small word or idea and this international community never failed to deliver fresh perspectives.

Since the final prompt is All Time Favorites I went to my stats to find out your Photo Challenge favorite and was surprised to see the #1 post in both views and comments featured a photo that I re-worked and posted a second time just a few weeks ago.  I guess it was a favorite of mine too and the opening quote is a perfect fit for today’s message.

Below is the original post from November 2014 for your repeat enjoyment:

“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” Dali Lama

“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”

Dali Lama

Libraries have always seemed like magical places to me and the freedom to walk aisles full of stories and information is a luxury I never take for granted. Through my childhood, school years and now as an adult materials I’ve borrowed have opened my eyes to new possibilities and points of view prompting even more questions and the reward of yet another trip to the library.

This exterior walkway around the Seattle Public Library is a popular place for photographers as well as a meeting space for Library patrons and pedestrians hoping to duck out of the rain on a spring afternoon and I’m posting it today as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Angular.

Good-bye Weekly Photo Challenge, I promise I’ll keep my eyes open for new angles and situations.

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Our first high school voter registration drive of 2018!

Awakening New Voters: Your Vote Your Voice

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.
Anatole France

Our first high school voter registration drive of 2018!

Ryan came home from his week as a Page in our State Senate with a newfound respect for what concerned citizens can accomplish when they focus on advocating for their causes and a personal drive to encourage more young people to participate in government.  It was an eye-opening experience that left his brain spinning with new questions about how it all works and new ideas about how to get more students involved.

While young voters have traditionally been the least likely to turnout in elections they now make up the largest voting block and when these new voters become aware of election issues that touch them personally they can quickly turn from an unlikely voter into a passionate believer in the power of democracy.

Our first high school voter registration drive of 2018!

With this in mind Ryan, his friend Naiah and I have organized a series of voter registration events at their high school.  Their efforts caught the attention of our local chapter of the League of Women Voters who are assisting students at three more area high schools organize drives of their own and together we have created a network of engaged and empowered students reaching out to their peers and registering them to vote in the upcoming elections.

Our first high school voter registration drive of 2018!

These kids have passion and energy and the belief that every vote matters.  With a little encouragement from parents and role models combined with some basic how-to planning sessions about organizing and publicizing events their natural curiosity is well and truly awakened.  They’re ready to lead by example.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Awakening

The earth has music for those who listen. George Santayana

I’d Rather Be…

Today I’d rather be a dog.  Our dog Finn to be precise.  His day started with a nice walk followed by breakfast next to the heater.  Late morning meant it was time for a nap in his favorite sun spot then a second trip outside so he could patrol the yard looking for squirrels while carefully listening to the wind. It’s now 2:30 pm and he’s curled up next to Ryan for you guessed it, another nap.

I have paid bills, cleaned the kitchen, driven around town doing errands and am now organizing paperwork for taxes while looking out my window at the very trees in the picture above.  Finn’s favorite place for listening to earth’s music.  Maybe I’ll turn up my office heat and open the window so I can share the song.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  I’d Rather Be…

Tour Guide – Olympia, WA in Black and White

Labeling this post a “tour guide” might bit of a stretch as I’ve left out all the touristy bits about landmarks, photo-ops and directions but it fits the theme of the weekly photo challenge and it’s been years since I spent time in our State’s Capital so when we took Ryan to Olympia to begin his week as a Senate Page I made sure to arrive early enough to wander around and take a few pictures.

The capital complex is a beautiful place, full of interesting history and architecture and one day I might write a more traditional post walking us through those points but today I’ll share some small snapshots of little vignettes that spoke to me.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Tour Guide

Ascend to a Higher Development

One can ascend to a higher development only by bringing rhythm and repetition into one’s life. Rhythm holds sway in all nature.

Rudolf Steiner

August hiking in the PNW.  Pack your layers!

We can find Nature outside us only if we have first learned to know her within us. What is akin to her within us must be our guide. This marks out our path of enquiry.

Rudolf Steiner

Hiking the Klahhane Ridge Trail in Olympic National Park

What the human being sees, what is poured into his environment, becomes a force in him. In accordance with it, he forms himself.

Rudolf Steiner

Hiking the Klahhane Ridge Trail in Olympic National ParkAs the winter solstice approaches and the holiday season is in full swing John, Ryan, Finn and I wish everyone a happy and peaceful end to 2017.  Even though our December days are fuller than ever we’ve been careful to protect time for family and in the evenings we are studying hiking guides and making plans to spend more long summer hours exploring nature and marking out our own paths of enquiry.

XOXO Lisa, John, Ryan and Finn

Misty mountain views in the Pacific Northwest.

A Serene and Settled Majesty

There is a serene and settled majesty to woodland scenery that enters into the soul and delights and elevates it, and fills it with noble inclinations.
Washington Irving

When the stresses and sounds of daily life are just too much my go-to escapes for some peace and quiet are the gym (during off-hours) and the mountains.  I’m usually a fair weather hiker so  you won’t find me in the woods during a snowstorm however our corner of the PNW has plenty of mountain hikes where you can enjoy both snow and flowers in the middle of August.  Pack a few extra layers for changing conditions and you can throw snowballs in short sleeves then enjoy a picnic lunch next to wildflowers on the edge of an alpine forest.  I leave home with my head full of problems to solve but by the time I’ve driven away from the city and up a winding tree-lined road the buzz starts to fade and after a few hours wandering through fields and forests they seem very far away.

We left Bellingham on a warm August morning for the Mount Baker Highway and Artist Point but by the time we reached our destination the mountains were surrounded by fog and our trailhead was still covered by a few feet of winter snow.  Instead we turned to pathways I usually overlook in my haste to find famous mountain vistas and the misty alpine air added a new layer of peace and quiet.

If you’d like to explore, hike or snowshoe at Artist Point the Washington Trails Associaton website is full of information, maps and trail reports.

If you like these lovely alpine flowers they are a small patch of avalanche lily (Erythronium montanum) native to coastal British Columbia and the alpine and subalpine Olympic and Cascade Ranges of the Pacific Northwest of Washington and Oregon.  Erythronium montanum flowers shortly after the snow melts in late spring, in damp subalpine woodlands and alpine meadows, often in extensive patches. Blooming plants may persist into midsummer about the edges of snowfields.  – Wikipedia

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Serene

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.

 

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.