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.

 

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Transient

In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds.  

Robert Green Ingersoll

I don’t know about you but the question “what do you want for your birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day?” always makes me a little uncomfortable.  I know the asker means well but I don’t like telling people they have to give me something and then there’s the chance that my lack of an answer means I might be a little disappointed on the big day when I receive a gift that comes from a place of love but isn’t really something I want or need.   Third world problems indeed…

As a way around this I’ve started asking for things I know John and Ryan won’t say no to if I present it as my gift.  Things like waking up at 6am on a Sunday morning so we can hike to a quiet riverbank for lunch.

This year I tried to think of an object they could give me but what I truly wanted was quiet.  A peaceful stretch of time away from noise, news, social media, politics, bills; you name it, I wanted a break.  We can’t leave home for a big trip now but I do have a list of hikes I want to try this summer and this one along the Stillaguamish River looked like a good way to start the season.  Sure enough, an hour down the trail I asked everyone to stop and we stood together in the forest unable to hear a single man-made sound.  It was wonderful.

So, how do I tie this experience into a post about transience?  By using the quote above and substituting a few words to match current experiences.   For me the day served as a reminder that in the presence of nature external pressures fade away.  We made it to the river in time to eat our picnic lunch and enjoy this pretty little cairn on the beach.  Mini mountains tumbled to smoothness by time, preparing for their next adventure.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Transient.

 

Reading, Good Company and Reflection

 

Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him. John Locke

 

We live in a house full of books.  Stacks and shelves of printed pages line our walls, our phones and Kindles have digital titles for break time and the cars usually have an audio book ready to play.  Interestingly enough while we are all readers our preferences rarely cross and I’m pretty sure that someone who didn’t know us could tell after a quick walk around that three quite different people live here.

I prefer fiction, John enjoys design, art and architecture while Ryan has always been drawn to natural science.  He’s grown up with access to plenty of books and from the earliest days it’s been clear where his interest was.  He’ll happily listen to a great story and enjoys fiction and poetry at school but when he sits down with free time and a book of his choice it’s usually non-fiction.

His first picture books were all about animals and his early readers were filled with sea monsters, dragons and mythical beasts.  Soon books about astronomy, bones, archeology and medicine joined the stacks.

Each of these photos are from Ryan’s collection and many of them are books he’s chosen for himself at book stores and second-hand sales.  I’ve had to give up pretending I know all the answers to his constant questions about life, the universe and everything.  Now I just sit back and enjoy the discussions that come from each new chapter.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Reflecting

 

 

Wanderlust

You don’t even know where I’m going. I don’t care. I’d like to go anywhere.

John Steinbeck

While the word wanderlust brings to mind images of grand vacations and months long backpacking adventures I have the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to thank for a definition that makes sense to those of us who work more than one job and rarely have time for vacations.

strong longing for or impulse toward wandering

Merriam-Webster

I may not be on vacation but I do get the urge to wander and last week I wasn’t alone on my ramble…

My real destination was the gym for an early morning workout but after a week of rain and clouds the sun was finally out and at the last-minute I turned right instead of left.  I know I’m lucky to belong to a gym where I can see the water but there are times when the proximity tests my resolve for a good sweaty hour in the weight room.

On this particular day I had company on my ramble and this little bird followed me over the bridge and out to the pier.  We walked together to the end when it flew away and I turned my thoughts to the rest of the day.

Eventually I did make it to the gym and smiled during my warm up cycle while I scrolled through pictures of my detour ramble.

Side note – @MerriamWebster is one of my favorite twitter feeds.  If you’re not already following them take a look.  They make words fun!

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Wanderlust.

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.

 

My Year In Photos: June Week 2

I see a lot of blues, grays along with some warm patches of gold in my latest set of photos which is just about right when it comes to June in the Pacific Northwest.  Blue skies and flowers mixed with heavy gray clouds and warmed by the sun during our longest days of the year.  We had a full schedule with all the end of the year school activities, a quick day trip across the water and a busy work week so for the first time you’ll see I posted more than one photo without any editing.  In contrast, other images are more heavily edited than usual but both approaches are a reflection of how I felt in the moment.  I either wanted move on and post quickly or I tried to add a little color and interest to something that was just a small moment in the day.

The week started with this view from the passenger deck on one of our state-run Ferries and Monday afternoon I began writing the Etsy listing for this new blanket.  Tuesday I wanted to experiment with the new pinhole lens available through Hipstamatic and Wednesday was Ryan’s final band concert.  I made him pose for the usual “hurry up mom” snapshots in his Tuxedo but this spontaneous click taken after John told a slightly off-color joke is my favorite of the night.

Thursday is a look through a large pane of shattered glass and Friday shares one of my favorite ways to relax – watching clouds float over the islands.  Saturday I visited our local bookshop for some last-minute Father’s Day gifts and was happy to see they’ve expanded their hours for the summer season.  Now we’re looking forward to long summer nights with plenty of new books to enjoy.

Coming soon I’ve got a great set of new photos almost ready to share here from our latest adventures and if you’d like to follow along in real-time don’t forget I post my daily photos on InstagramTwitter and Facebook. If a once-a-week blog read is more your speed my weekly recaps will continue here along with caption notes containing editing information for each photo.

 

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

Weight(less) 1

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: Careful (Father and Son)

Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.
Epictetus

Careful

One of the best things about my usual “third in line” hiking position is capturing moments like this.   John and Ryan like to walk a little faster than me and as they get comfortable on their feet the conversation starts to flow covering everything from science to current events, life questions and popular culture.  I get to hang back, take photos and watch the two of them be together in the moment.

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Careful.