At the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship I attend, there is a ritual for the seasons on the Wheel of the Year. During these services, we call upon the four directions: to the East, we call upon the Wind and Air; to the West, we call upon the Water; to the South, we call upon Fire; to the North, we call upon the Land and Rock. Therefore, where East meets West would be where Wind and Air meet Water. In my experience, it looks something like this:
Where North meets South might be all those places where Rock and Fire interact – think volcanoes and earthquakes. I attended a geology lecture at the public library yesterday and learned that there is a Corvallis Fault that featured in the formation of Mary’s Peak, the tallest mountain in the Oregon Coastal range. And the Cascades across the Valley contain a chain of volcanic peaks, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire created along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Here’s my experience of what that looks like:
For a really awesome global and cultural perspective, visit Amy’s Challenge post HERE and enjoy her world-traveling lens.
“Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera.” — Yousuf Karsh
It has been a long time since my last Photo Walk. Winter in the Pacific Northwest is often rainy, dark, and cold. It affects my mood more than it affects the beauty of my surroundings. I struggled to leave my warm, flannel bed this morning, but when I looked out the window, I saw the fog and sun in a dance of the Present Moment. I grabbed my camera and headed outside my door into the big world of the temporal rainforest. This is the story of One Walk with lenses.
I have only one lens for my camera: the one issued with my Canon Rebel T3i – 18-55mm. It also has some helpful pre-sets for close-ups and landscapes which I use quite frequently. I also bring along the lenses on my eyeballs and my varifocal eyeglasses. I am rarely without those.
The lens of my mental state has been fixated on the cold and my longing for sunshine. I visited the chickens in the yard and thought about their being cooped up outside all winter, albeit with down coats to cover themselves.
Oregon cold is not the same as Wisconsin cold. I’ve discovered that it’s wetter. It’s more colorful, too.
I wish I could imbed the experience of walking around here into this post. The ground is thick with fallen needles, ferns, rotting wood, Oregon grape, mosses, lichen. It’s springy and moist as well as colorful. There are literally worlds underfoot.
After a short ramble, my fingertips are numb. I head back inside to the warmth of my garage loft studio apartment. I have a bird’s nest view out my window.
Thank you, Anne, for motivating me to get outside for a Photo Walk. I appreciate that Lens-Artists are out and about in search of beauty all over the globe this week, traveling lightly. Happy hunting, all!
“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins as in art with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.” – Aldo Leopold,A Sand County Almanac
Our host this week, Ann-Christine, writes, “I am sure you have something hidden in your archives that once surprised you or filled you with awe…” I am delighted to be continually filled with awe by light falling on something living, something vibrant. Most recently, it was the orchid my daughter gave me last week for my birthday catching the morning light streaming through my kitchen window.
Getting a beautifully lit close-up at marine life at the Oregon Coast aquarium was a special treat. So was that perfect moment of morning fog being pierced by the rising sun at Spencer’s Butte.
Looking deep into the undergrowth to find those diamond dewdrops, you might be rewarded by a wealth of jewels, arranged in magical symmetry.
My favorite finds are these simple and exquisite examples of Nature’s inexhaustible variety and beauty. Thanks for asking, Ann-Christine!
“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.
“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.
…that you don’t have to go far to get a completely different perspective. Last week, temperatures were in the 30s (F) and the fog in the Willamette Valley was so thick you couldn’t see three feet in front of you. But just over the mountains, just an hour’s drive away, the sun was shining on the coast and temperatures were pushing 60 degrees Fahrenheit!
…that sustaining life on our planet is a matter of delicate balance. I hadn’t been to the coast in a week. The day after our last visit, a tsunami generated by the volcanic eruption near Tonga hit the Pacific Coast of Oregon, carving cliffs on the shore and depositing piles of driftwood.
…that the Earth’s beauty is vast and easily accessible. Look up, look down, look deeply, look broadly. Colors and patterns and exquisite details are everywhere.
…that finding treasure is within reach, the moment you set out from your habitual routine. Moving during a pandemic makes building community difficult, but by stepping out of my little apartment and making intentional connections with local groups, I have found some precious new friends.
Thank you to Amy for hosting this week’s challenge and sharing some fabulous photos from her world travels. Click HERE to see her post and learn how to participate.
“Each Saturday the Lens-Artists team presents an opportunity for our followers and/or visitors to add their images and accompanying thoughts on a subject for all to see. This week we’re suggesting that in addition to our challenge, you explore and link to some of the other creative opportunities our friends and fellow challengers make available in the WP blogosphere (or any other sites where you post images).” – Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles
I think the greatest lesson that I’ve learned during this pandemic is that Community is essential to individual mental health and resilience and may be the key to understanding how to live in harmony with Life on a larger scale. So what better way to practice Community Building in my photo hobby than to check out and participate on other photo challenges and get to know new bloggers around the globe?
I followed the link on Tina’s page to find the Last Image on the Card challenge hosted by Bushboy (Brian). The last image I made with my Canon Rebel t3I was shot on December 27, in my driveway. This is what I saw:
It’s an historic photo, I guess, because this kind of snowfall is not typical for mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon. It’s a fitting reminder of how unusual 2021 was…and how unpredictable 2022 will be. Let’s keep our eyes open and our community growing!
“Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen and look at what’s happening.” ― Pema Chödrön
“…The truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go … are not something that we have to gain, but something that we could bring out, cultivate, rediscover in ourselves.” ― Pema Chödrön
“We sow the seeds of our future hell or happiness by the way we open or close our minds right now.” ― Pema Chödrön
I have been on a journey of mindfulness for more than a decade now as a way to metabolize the trauma of my husband’s death. One of the first books that I turned to was When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. The path to a peaceful life in my skin, in my mind, in my situation began with opening my eyes and seeing things exactly as they are…without telling a story or making a judgment about them. Photography is a beautiful art for exploring ways of seeing. While looking for a subject, framing a shot, and editing a shot, you can realize how perception and reality converge and depart. This exploration is about curiosity and courage, the same qualities that help you on your journey toward mindfulness and serenity. I’ve chosen quotes from Pema Chödrön and photographs I took a few days ago -while walking down my driveway to get the mail – to illustrate SERENE for this week’s challenge. I was compelled to take along my camera because the sun was penetrating the fog in a way that made me think how unique and particular and impermanent that moment of elemental juxtaposition was. The environment around me changes visibly quite quickly here in the temporal rainforest of Oregon. Rain, vegetation, animals – everything is living and dynamic. As am I. Breathing deeply as I walked, step by step, through this reality, I became mindful of the serenity of simply being with things as they are. This is what I want to share, with a smile. Thank you, Patti, for choosing a very worthy theme for this week! Click HERE to view her post and her invitation to participate.
“The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call ‘following your bliss’.” ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
On Thursday, I headed out with my camera and a friend and spent four hours walking a forest trail through the William Finley Wildlife Refuge. I was surprised that so much time passed! I was also surprised that the rain never got heavy enough to make me think of heading back to the car. In the temporal rain forest of Oregon, there is so much to see, such tiny worlds of biodiversity everywhere that I find contentment in just keeping my eyes open and letting beauty wash in!
“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ― Confucious
“We have to look deeply at things in order to see. When a swimmer enjoys the clear water of the river, he or she should also be able to be the river.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”― Albert Einstein
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive…” ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
My new Oregon home is the perfect place to immerse myself in the beauty of being alive; of seeing Life all around me; of connecting my body, mind, and soul to the ongoing experience of living – from spore to plant to decomposing matter and back to spore. In the face of global instability on every level from climate change to species extinction to social structures, it is bliss and contentment to turn away from fear and toward Nature, and to feel again the circle of Love that is Life.
Many thanks to our guest host for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge, Lindy Low LeCoq. I am so glad she got her inspiration from one of my favorite authors and thinkers and invited us into bliss! If you would like to participate, click on her name above and follow her lead.
“A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”
-Frank Lloyd Wright
“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!