“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the sun? Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
– Ecclesiastes 1:1-9
From 93 million miles away, the Sun’s light and heat affects each day of our lives. It comes to us as an ancient ray, a Source for all of life on this planet. I think of the ancient ways of life under the Sun, and I feel that I was closest to those ways last month on my backpacking trip to the Olympic National Park wilderness coastline. The trailhead is at the place where the Hoh River meets the Pacific Ocean. South of the river is Hoh tribal land.
“The Hoh River Indians are considered a band of the Quileutes but are recognized as a separate tribe. The Hoh Indian Reservation was established by an Executive Order in 1893. The Hoh Reservation consists of 443 acres located 28 miles south of Forks, and 80 miles north of Aberdeen. The Hoh Reservation has approximately one mile of beach front running east from the mouth of the Hoh River, and south to Ruby Beach.” – Hoh Tribe website: hohtribe-nsn.org
All over the beach lie the sun-bleached bones of the Ancients – cedar and fir trees, washed up by the tides in a jumble of giant driftwood. Among these bones you might also find the bones of less ancient giants: whales.
From our beach camp, we watched the Sun slide further and further down into the waves.
My small story of the next day includes the little detail that I slipped in the mud, fell with the weight of my whole body plus my pack on my outstretched left hand, and broke my wrist.
Being that we were in wilderness and had just come over the most difficult terrain, the quickest way to get to a hospital was simply to continue to trek the next two days up the coast. The tidal tipping points prohibited doing it at any faster pace. With tremendous assistance from my five hiking partners, we continued our journey and saw the Sun go down and come up on this beautiful coast two more times.
Even though there may be nothing new under the Sun, the unexpected can still happen. When my mind is reeling and my footing is uncertain, it’s good to feel the return of sunlight, the assurance of the day’s arc. It gives me the motivation to just keep going and see what will be. And I say, “It’s all right.”
Thanks to Amy for hosting this week’s Challenge. Do visit HER POST to see the Sun in many facets of its glory!
…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.
Ann-Christine’s challenge this week tells of memorable events from her travels through the Sahara desert in Morocco, illustrated with stunning photos. I encourage you to visit HER POST and see for yourself. My most memorable travels in the last decade have been domestic roads trips to National Parks. On one trip, I visited 11 federally protected sites – parks, monuments, and forests. They are chronicled in the page listed below my banner heading called “An American Adventure”. Here are a few of my favorite shots from that journey.
“Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.” – Confucius
“Once a year, go somewhere you have never
been before.” – Dalai Lama
“Remember, the object only reflects a feeling that came from a human. It holds a story from where it came from,
but it’s not alive.” ― Kim Neville
Patti invites us this week to share photos of “Interesting Objects”. I went on a photo hike this morning in the fog up a hill covered with mossy trees with that subject in my mind. I found many interesting things, but I came to make the distinction that what I was photographing was not Objects but Beings. Each mushroom and lichen and spiderweb and bark pattern was exquisite and interesting…and alive. So, I went into my photo archives to find Human-created objects that I’ve discovered on my walks.
I photographed these pendants I found in a Bayside boutique because I love the way the wrapped wire looks like trees. I wanted to show the design to my middle daughter, who makes jewelry.
Owning a beach house gives you the opportunity to show your affection for the sea. I liked this whimsical decoration above one garage in Santa Cruz, CA.
My daughter’s partner is a Bigfoot fan. I had to capture a shot of this chainsaw statue outside of my hotel in Mt. Shasta, CA for him.
This little rock was resting on a bench at the top of St. Joseph’s Hill in Los Gatos, CA. My siblings and I climbed the hill together to mark the anniversary of our mother’s death. She donated to the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District that protects this land. I loved finding this human’s message on that meaningful day.
The things that humans create are not Beings, but they certainly can be created from a place of awe and affection for the Beings that share our planet. I suppose it’s really that interconnection and respect that I find draws me to objects and makes them interesting to me.
“Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Far off the major highways, in deep woods and high mountain forests, lie some of my favorite back country roads.
Paved roads in remote places in the American West lead to canyons and deserts where the human population is minimal and natural landscapes stand out.
Sometimes a back country road is a little more than your vehicle can handle. Use caution!
My very favorite back country road is the gravel lane where my mailbox stands. I’m grateful to have a home far from the heavy thoroughfares where noise and stress oppress the environment.
Thank you to the Lens-Artists guest hosts this week, Wandering Dawgs, for inviting us to share our back road adventures. Happy travelling, all, and safe home again!
“When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face…”
Not being a city girl, I have never escaped the hustling crowd by climbing the stairs to find solitude “Up on the Roof”, like the Carole King/Gerry Goffin song describes. I prefer to travel to and explore places of natural quiet where there is (ideally) no human presence. Wilderness is my favorite Get Away. I am heading out tomorrow to Strawberry Mountain Wilderness in the Mahleur National Forest on my very first backpacking trip. I will not be tethered to a powered vehicle or a “civilized” infrastructure for three whole days. I will be relying on my own two feet and the company of a few experienced hikers. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for more than 40 years!
I have done day hikes in designated Wilderness before, but never an overnight. It is extremely important that our group Leave No Trace of our visit. Keeping wild spaces as pristine as possible ensures that conservation and spiritual values are not compromised.
If we lose the ability to get away from the impact of human domination, we may lose sight of humility and perspective altogether.
Thank you to this week’s hosts, Rusha and Bert of Oh the Places We See.
“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”
— Edward Abbey
For this week’s photo challenge, Tina invites us each to pick our own theme. Having just returned from three months in California journeying with my family of origin through my mother’s hospice care and death, I have new photos to share and a complex perspective. A jewel in the sparkling allure of California to me is my siblings who live there. I reconnected with them in an intense situation and discovered that they are exceptional human beings…and they really do like me, after all!Our days together were full of the poignant joys of life: memories, change, and resilience. We hiked the mountains, beaches, and urban green spaces to keep a grounded perspective. The natural surroundings in California are breathtaking, but the impact of humans is often completely overwhelming. While I was there, record-breaking temperatures, catastrophic wildfires, and the Covid-19 virus often prohibited us from leaving the confines of our protective shelters. How ironic that the things that make California a popular place to live also create the populations that make California unlivable. Finding a sustainable balance is the never-ending challenge here.
“It was a splendid population – for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home – you never find that sort of people among pioneers – you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day – and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, “Well, that is California all over.”
“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.”
“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” ― Henry David Thoreau
“A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable.” ― William Wordsworth
When Tina invited me to delve into my photo archives for a look at something All Wet, I immediately thought of Lake Michigan.
This truly Great Lake is an old friend. I have visited its shores while living in Illinois and Wisconsin and while vacationing in Michigan and Indiana. I have been to the northernmost shore and the southernmost. It always impresses me with its size.
Four generations of my family have submerged themselves in its waters. I knew it as a playground when I was a little girl. I worked in a museum on its shores half a century later and came to know more of its power and importance.
I find it unfathomable in every sense because there’s so much to know and imagine about its history, its living presence, and its intricate and moody details. I will leave you with a gallery of images to peak your curiosity.
“There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever, not for better;
Some have gone but some remain.”
~ ‘In My Life’ by The Beatles