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.
Saturdays, holidays, easy afternoons
Lazy days, sunny days, nothing much to do.
Rainy days are better days for hangin’ out in-side
Grainy days and city ways make me want to hide
Someplace cool an’ green an’ shady.
Find yourself a piece of grassy ground,
Lay down close your eyes.
Find yourself and maybe lose yourself
While your free spirit flies.
— John Denver
It’s early June, and already there have been days of record high temperatures here in Oregon as well as other parts of the U.S. My adults kids live in apartments without air conditioning…who would have thought you’d need it in the northern part of the country? The fear of another summer of wildfires is palpable. We seek out shade and water while we live in the shadow of hubris-driven climate instability.
Light and shadow are opposite sides of the same coin.
We can illuminate our paths or darken our way.
It is a matter of choice.
— Maya Angelou
Thanks to Ann-Christine for hosting this week’s Lens Artists challenge. Stay cool and kind and be safe!
“It only takes a moment
To be loved
A whole life long” ― Jerry Herman (from Hello, Dolly!)
Since moving to Oregon from Wisconsin last summer, I have had numerous “Pinch me!” moments when I can’t believe the everyday beauty of this place. I live in a studio apartment over the garage of a big house in a forest in the foothills of the Coastal Range. Travelling into town, I pass orchards and wineries and tree farms. My mailbox is .6 miles away. The creek is a few hundred feet downhill. It is quiet, secluded, wild in places, ever-changing, and constantly stunning.
“The moments of happiness –
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning
Restores the experience in a different form
Beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness.
The past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations.” ― T. S. Eliot (from Cats)
I often find myself in a moment of profound awareness of the beauty of my surroundings here. I have dreamed of living near mountains ever since I was 10 years old and traveled from the flatlands of Chicago to Colorado to visit my cousins. I was so envious of the views from their home and their proximity to Rocky Mountain National Park. I lived in California for 15 years, but always in a heavily populated area. Here, the mountains are forested and human dwellings are few and far between. It’s peaceful. It’s slow. It’s quiet.
Being part of this Place is a special feeling that I can only realize bit by bit as I get to know each season. I am looking forward to the blossoming of the orchards, identifying new wildflowers, and spending lazy summer days in the cool of the pines.
“Let the moment go
Don’t forget it for a moment though
Just remembering you’ve had an ‘and’
When you’re back to ‘or’
Makes the ‘or’ mean more
Than it did before
Now I understand
And it’s time to leave the woods”
Everyday moments seem extraordinary in these surroundings. I hope I never lose that perspective no matter how often I view these scenes!
Thank you, Tina, for inviting us to share our Special Moments this week.
‘A Glimpse into your world’. Show us the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy. – Sheetal Bravon, host for Lens-Artists
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
“We know only too well that what we are doing is nothing more than a drop in the ocean. But if the drop were not there, the ocean would be missing something.”
“I can wade Grief—
Whole Pools of it—
I’m used to that—
But the least push of Joy
Breaks up my feet—
And I tip—drunken—
Let no Pebble—smile—
‘Twas the New Liquor—
That was all!”
“You are not a drop in the ocean; you are the entire ocean in a drop.”
“Home is where the heart is
No matter how the heart lives
Inside your heart where love is
That’s where you’ve got to make yourself
At home” – Sally Fingerett
On the first day of this month, I moved into a new home, a quiet sanctuary surrounded by tall evergreens nestled in the foothills of the Willamette valley in Oregon. My four children were all on hand to help me move my belongings upstairs into the studio apartment above the garage.
“Between every two pines, there is a doorway to a new world.” – John Muir
This is actually the first time that I have lived by myself with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and dining room that I share with no one else. The residents of the main house generously share the laundry room, patio, and garden with me.
“A home is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life’s storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
But sanctuary is more than just a place to be. It is also the shelter of connection and hospitality. My daughter-in-law hosted a welcome picnic for me on the shores of Fern Ridge Lake.
And so I begin the process of “coming home to a place I’ve never been before”, and settling into the sanctuary of being myself, connected but independent.
“Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Hermann Hesse