Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Local Vistas

“I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
― Nelson Mandela

This week our Challenge host writes, “I bet you love your area too. What are your local vistas? Where do you photograph when you don’t have a lot of time or are not on vacation? What about your hometown excites you? Is it the countryside, city, gardens, amusement venues? This week, tell us about and show us your local vistas.”

I am deeply in love with my local Place – Oregon. I have only lived here (almost) two years, and I have much yet to explore. But the fact that the Pacific Ocean is only an hour’s drive from my front door is a huge selling point. The impact of the Ocean is not to be taken lightly. It helps create the Temporal Rainforest conditions that make the Western portion of this state wet, green, fecund and utterly amazing. I pinch myself regularly when I realize that I am not on vacation – I live here!

My response to the spectacular scenery in this place is to feel a deep and anxious desire to protect it from degradation and educate others about its wonders. I spent this morning in volunteer training at a National Wildlife Refuge an hour away from my front door in a different direction, in the Willamette River valley. I have yet to bring my camera to that Refuge to capture the upland meadow flowers, including show-stopping lupines, that have been lovingly stewarded, but below is a gorgeous marsh in the valley refuge chain that is only a 15-minute drive from my home.

“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
― Jacques-Yves Cousteau

My greatest hope in thinking about this week’s Challenge is that each participant will see with new and affectionate eyes the beauty of their local vistas and be inspired to protect the vulnerable natural features and conditions that create that environment. Thank you, Anne Sandler, for focusing our attention close to home, where our hearts live.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Odds and Ends

“A Miscellany is a collection without a natural ordering relation.” ― John Edensor Littlewood

This morning, Tina of Travels and Trifles invites us to post images that may never fit into any Challenge category, so I went looking for recent captures that I just…like. For no particular reason. Turns out, however, that I could say truthfully that they do have something in common. They were all taken within an hour’s drive from my home in Oregon.

“The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

I hope you find a huge collection of various things to delight you this week, close by your home. Living local has many environmental and social benefits and can help heal the planet and our selves.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Water

“Life in us is like the water in a river.”
― Henry David Thoreau

“You are water
I’m water
we’re all water in different containers
that’s why it’s so easy to meet
someday we’ll evaporate together.”
― Yoko Ono

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. Be water, my friend.”
― Bruce Lee

“Be like water,

Flow like a river,

Crash like the rain,

Fly like the cloud again!”
― Md. Ziaul Haque

I am like water; I have many moods and forms, from tiny droplets of doubt or hope clinging to the cobweb threads of reason, to the crashing surge of love and purpose that washes over me when I am inspired. We are water; our lives depend on it. We cannot create it ourselves, but we can be ever grateful that it is all around us. We must protect it in its many courses: creeks, rivers, bays, oceans. We must be mindful of using only our share and making sure there is enough for every living being. We must protect the water cycle in every way possible.

Thanks to Anne Sandler for hosting our challenge this week and reminding me just how important this subject is – for everyone.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Interesting Architecture

“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect
can only advise his clients to plant vines.”

-Frank Lloyd Wright

Gordon House, Silverton, Oregon

“Early in my career…I had to choose between an honest arrogance
and a hypercritical humility…
I deliberately choose an honest arrogance,
and I’ve never been sorry.”

–  Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Gordon House in 1957; it was completed four years after his death in 1963. It was originally situated with the Willamette River to the west and Mount Hood to the east.  
“It is one of the last of the Usonian series that Wright designed as affordable housing for American working class consumers, which—in 1939—were considered to have an annual income of $5,000–6,000 ($95,000 to $113,000 in 2021 dollars). The house is based on a design for a modern home commissioned by Life magazine in 1938…After Evelyn Gordon’s death in 1997, the house was sold to new owners David and Carey Smith, who wanted to tear it down to make room for a larger, more contemporary structure.” – Wikipedia. Eventually, the house was preserved and moved, bit by bit, 21 miles southeast to the Oregon Garden. It opened as a museum in 2004.

Just a few miles away from the Gordon House stands the Gallon House Bridge.

This bridge spans the Abiqua Creek and derives its name from Prohibition era bootleggers and moonshiners who would meet there to transfer their wares.

This next example of Oregon architecture is pretty new. It’s the house where I live, in the studio apartment above the garage.

As I type this, my landlord and his daughter (one of my housemates) are outside building a wood shed. They are sitting about 10 feet off the ground, nailing the roofing panels onto the ceiling joists. It’s been raining lightly, off and on, all day. The sun peeks out periodically. They built a little wood fire next to the building site to keep the group warm. Their 11-year old son and his friend are warming their hands at the fire and occasionally helping hold a board or pass a tool.
I am not much of a world traveler, and I don’t know much about architecture. I have seen unusual and elegant buildings here and there, but I rarely seek them out with camera in hand. What I appreciate most about architecture, I guess, is that it can be very useful for keeping us sheltered, warm and dry. Even if what goes on under the roof is illegal. (imagining bootleggers in Oregon especially need a covered bridge)

Thanks to Tina for hosting today’s Challenge and for showcasing some truly sophisticated and awe-inspiring architecture in HER POST. My humble examples are possibly only interesting to me, but thank you for visiting nevertheless. Stay warm and dry, folks!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Inspiration…that moment when you draw in breath, a gasp, an awe-filled audible inhalation, the desire to take in the spirit of something beautiful, breath-taking.

I moved to Oregon exactly one year and one week ago. I have been inspired by something about it every single day I’ve been here, I think. The natural communities are incredibly diverse and resilient and interesting and beautiful. Today, for example, I joined a work party collecting camas seeds. These little seeds are nestled in the dried flower petals like beans in maracas. They shake and rattle as you walk through the meadow grass. Indigenous people roasted the bulbs of these plants as a food staple, high in natural sugars, similar to sweet potato. When I returned from this adventure, I walked down my driveway and began collecting blackberries from the invasive Himalayan canes that grow as a huge, prickly nuisance to most landowners, a deliciously irritating problem. They are everywhere. Free food!

This has not been an easy year for me by any means. It hasn’t been an easy year for most people. On top of the universal griefs and fears, I am new in town, isolated, unemployed, and missing my mother who died in October. There are always mornings when I find it hard to get up and get on with my life. But when I look out my window at OREGON, I find motivation to join the young hawks and the gentle deer, step outside and breathe in the rich scent of Douglas fir.

In such a setting, I feel like I belong to the Earth, like a tree taking root and creating a tall, strong life. I’m grateful to have this new inspiration in my life. If you’re curious about previous explanations of my blogging inspiration, visit THIS POST. Thanks to Patti for creating this challenge and sharing her beautiful photos.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Postcards

“See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle
Just remember darling all the while
You belong to me
See the market place in Old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me”
recorded by Patsy Cline

Ana evokes wonderful sentiments in her guest post for Lens-Artists this week on the theme of Postcards. My favorite postcards from home were from my father when I was at summer camp as a young girl. They were clever and funny. He sent one of the Chicago skyscrapers along Lake Michigan and instructed that buildings grow naturally along the shores of lakes, and if I looked carefully at the banks of the small lake on the Girl Scout Camp property in Wisconsin, I might see some tiny structures hidden in the plants.
When my fiancé was touring Europe with his University choir, he sent postcards showing the most iconic scenes of cathedrals and palaces along with his sweetest statements of love and longing. Those cards were exotic and precious and carried the potency of romance as well.

I moved to Oregon exactly a year ago. It seems that every time I explore this beautiful state, I send my fiancé, my late husband, a mental postcard of the places I go. I’m sure he would love it. I wish he were here…