“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

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

Evanescent

Night is brushed aside like so much cobweb. The day is wound up and begins even before the last haunted dreams, the last of the fog, those spectral and evanescent residues, have faded away.

Gregory Maguire, After Alice

That 2017 is setting records for the coldest and wettest spring in pacific northwest history goes a long way toward explaining my confusion when I walked out our backdoor and into a scene that is expected in fall but unheard of in May. Nothing is following a normal schedule – my April blooming lilac opened yesterday, the flowering plum tree still has a few tired blooms and here we have fiery red maple leaves below a surprise spring fog in an evanescent combination of seasons and textures.

Evanescent:  tending to vanish like vapor.  merriam-webster.com

Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Evanescent.

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