2020 – A year behind glass

Hey there 2020, I’ve spent so much time silently glaring and swearing at you it’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end. Like many of you I’ve read and followed each ugly news story knowing I need to stop the doom scrolling but it’s tough to turn away from so many stories of sorrow and outrage. I’m taking baby steps toward more positive online interactions, dipping my toes back into Instagram and reaching out to friends I’ve not connected with in far too long hoping the simple exercise of looking for share worthy moments reminds me things weren’t terrible and frightening all the time.

One thing stands out to me today is how much of this year has been lived behind or viewed through glass. Windows, electronic screens and yes, even wine glasses have become our new connection points bringing both joy and frustration while also framing of some of my favorite photos from the past 12 months. In classic Northwest Frame of Mind style let’s take a look.

February 29th, Leap Day, was the last time John, Ryan and I attended a large gathering, spending the afternoon at a wine tasting event filled with fresh food, live music and plenty of lovely wine. COVID was a nervous whisper in the background, no one was sure if it would really change things, but we were starting to consider stocking up on a extra groceries and maybe staying home for a few weekends just to be safe.

Three months later we were still home every weekend watching the world transform into a strange and scary place. As essential workers our days were condensed to quick commutes (no traffic) and changed workplaces filled with the new norms of masks, sanitizing stations and very few coworkers. All of this left me with very little to see that was new so I turned my gaze back to happier days and picked some favorite photos for artistic makeovers. All editing done through a screen on my iPad.

By July a few areas of our state reopened for small gatherings and we decided to risk a trip to the islands. We rented a house, filled our car with a weeks worth of groceries and took the quietest summer ferry trip I’ve ever experienced. A normal travel year meant 3-4 hour waits to board a boat, then windswept walks along the outside upper decks while sailing to our destination. This year there were no lines, half empty boats and loudspeaker recordings announcing we weren’t allowed to leave our cars for the duration of the trip. The silver lining was a front row position where we could watch the water through our windshield. Safe in our bubble, behind the glass.

We had a lovely week, sleeping in, hiking on quiet trails, skipping rocks on empty beaches and on our last night away I took this photo from the car window as Ryan drove us back to the rental for one final sunset BBQ.

We remained close to home for the rest of the summer, avoiding crowds and trying to make simple life feel fun while hoping we could escape the small circle of our new reality for some fall hiking. Wildfire season put a stop to that as you can see from this photo, taken from my dining room window at noon on September 12th. With air quality ratings in the very unhealthy/hazardous range our last month of potential PNW sunshine was spent inside, in front of windows and more screens.

The end of summer meant election season was front and center and with it came more changes, this time to my volunteering plans. I usually spend hours in September and October phone banking and canvasing for favorite candidates and in 2020, with so much on the line, we had planned to spend most weekends in October getting out the vote. I still logged plenty of volunteer hours but this time they were spent virtually as a member of both national and state level digital outreach teams. Yep, more screen time. Most of our chosen candidates won their races though and on November 10th John, Ryan and I toasted Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as they were announced President Elect and Vice-President Elect.

My final image is the December photo that inspired this year-end post. Once again I was inside looking out but an evening of couch time, quietly editing photos on my phone while John and Ryan watched tv left me with one image I really liked. Thoughts of a years worth of views filtered and compressed through lenses, windows, mirrors and screens came together and here we are closing 2020 behind two layers of glass, facing forward with the past in a mirror. Cheers to a brighter, clearer, safer and happier 2021!

Blue pond at an Oregon farm.

Fresh Berries and Lazy Summer Days…

Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.  Wendell Berry

While I appreciate the sentiment behind this quote and am sure I’d thoroughly enjoy a summer dawn with fresh picked berries I can also vouch for the fact that they are great in the late morning straight from a farm stand and wonderful in my afternoon wine glass. ūüôā

All photos are from a lovely long weekend in Oregon with my sister, her husband and my sweet niece, Sophia.  Sophia sipped her fresh grape juice while the rest of us tasted our way through fantastic wines from J. Christopher and Ponzi wineries.

 

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.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit

This week, show us something that’s a HABIT.

Capture a moment both constant and fleeting.

Michelle – The Daily Post

For each new photo challenge I aim to trust my instincts and create a post around the first image or location that comes to mind.  As Michelle says above, moments of habit can be both constant and fleeting and as such I always have new stories to tell but only a few quick snapshots of the habit I want to feature today.  Giving.

There are several wonderful charitable organizations that we donate to on a regular basis and with each check, box of food, and volunteered hours we make a point to involve Ryan in the conversation.  He is growing up ready, willing and able to help others in need and I can see these ideas taking hold to form strong habits.

Last weekend Ryan filled a large bag with his Halloween candy to donate to an organization collecting small treats to serve to patients after cancer treatments and Friday brought the first of our weekly healthy snack food deliveries for homeless students in our school district.  This special group of bus drivers pack lunch bags for each child on their route picked up from cars and shelters. For many of them this is the only food they can count on each day.

Habit 2

Every January Food Lifeline opens volunteer shifts to families with kids and bringing Ryan and his friends to work for the afternoon is a real eye-opener.  They thoughtfully listen to a presentation by the staff about how many pounds of donated food are processed through their warehouses each day and the thousands of meals served as a result.

Habit 1

These are just a few examples of how our family gives back and though we donate weekly, monthly and yearly to causes close to our hearts my intent here today is simply to share how we have decided to develop our family ways of helping others in need.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Habit

A Word A Week Challenge: Behind

Behind

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is fill a backpack with¬†supplies and take a walk into town to get ice cream or watch a movie.¬† The hike is a little over two miles each way and Ryan and I always find a few new things to look at, great photo opportunities and time for conversation away from the distractions of home.¬† He insists he doesn’t feel right walking without a¬†properly filled¬†backpack so we usually have snacks, water, a few cameras, his sling shot, bouncy balls and couple of hot wheels along for the ride.¬† Ryan is prepared for anything that comes our way and I am right behind him.

Posted as part of Sue’s A Word A Week Challenge:¬† Behind