About Susanne Swanson

After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up I bring this blog to you from the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories like flowers unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

A Summer Day in May

Summertime and the livin’ is easy here in the Pacific Northwest.  After the longest rainy season on record, summer arrived with gusto this week with temperatures in the seventies and eighties.  We poor, cold, and waterlogged natives embraced the sunshine and are soaking up the long overdue rays while they are here.

That includes me as I head to Coulon Park in the heat of the day where I find the irises in bloom and bright as the sun,

and these walkers blending in with the green.

The view of Rainier to the south was striking as always..

but the Olympics floated in the haze somewhat ghostly to the west,

reminding me that I will welcome the cleansing of the next refreshing rain.  I am after all, a  true native.

~ Susanne

The Garden, a Stream, and Benji

After a busy day out and about in long lines and traffic and life’s uncertainties, I made it back home and went into my garden to rest. Here the lavender never fails to cheer,

while the scent of the woods, the sound of birdsong and the beauty of the stream lifts my spirit. The stream was made by my creative husband a few years ago.  A flip of a switch causes the water to flow. I love the soothing sound it makes and how the light reflects upon it in the early evening.

Benji joins me and stops for a cool drink,

before striking this handsome pose.

~  Susanne and Benji

Cedar River Trail and the Big Birds Beside

Today was overcast but just right for a morning walk along the Cedar River Trail.

The river was flowing gently while reflecting the flowers and trees alongside its banks,

and the ducks were enjoying the flow.

Boeing!

It wasn’t long before the Big Birds came into view. The Trail meanders along the river and through Boeing’s Renton Plant, home to the best selling commercial airliner of all time, the 737.  (Did you know a Boeing 737 takes off or lands somewhere every two seconds?)

The Boeing Renton Factory opened during the 1940’s and produced the B29 Bombers used during World War II.

When I was growing up Seattle was known as the Jet City and everyone knew someone who worked at Boeing. Boeing is still the largest private employer in the state of Washington.

The 737, which went into production in 1967, is still manufactured at the Renton plant and can be seen lining both sides of the river.

We talk with a guard who points out the 737 MAX currently under construction, distinguishable by the unique ‘pincher’ on the end of its wings.

We follow the trail to the south end of Lake Washington and stop to enjoy the views.

On our return I see this tree in spring dress and am reminded it is just getting warmed up..

and will light up the trail in the fall.

We’ll be back for the show.

~ Susanne

The Faithful Ones in the Early Spring Garden

Under a light rain I venture outside to the spring garden and admire the faithful flowers blooming there. These are the ones who really do bloom where they are planted, requiring little if any assistance from me.

I planted the Clematis a few years ago to fill in a spot of chain link fence.  It has been pleased to do that and more, happily climbing overhead onto nearby evergreens, spreading color everywhere.

This Rhododendron, though completely neglected by me, blooms heartily every year in spite of it.

The Candytuft gets no special attention either,

yet fills the air with its sweetness, attracting the attention of two residence cats, Benji and Tiger, who also appreciate its scent.

Sweet Woodruff provides a nice bed for the bird bath and kitty watering hole,

while this uninvited intruder fills in where I can get nothing else to grow

providing a nice background for a portrait of the handsome Tiger.

All are happy in the spring garden.

~  Susanne

Mt Rainier Up Close and Personal

Did you know there is a Paradise on earth?  Well yes, there is!  And it can be found at Mt Rainier National Park!

After being teased by beautiful local views of the mountain we decide to take the drive to the National Park for an up close and personal look at Mt. Rainier.  No, not for the first time, but for the first time this year.  A sunny day is promised and the roads are clear.

We arrive at the south entrance to the Park at Longmire, and after lunch at the historic National Park Inn, take the drive up to the Paradise Visitor center.

Mt Rainier National Park was established in 1899 and was the fifth U.S. National Park.  It was the first to be designed from a master plan to include entrance arches, rustic buildings, scenic lookouts, trails and visitor centers, becoming a pattern for National Parks to follow. We stop at many viewpoints and waterfalls on our way to Paradise.

Near the top we spot a red fox by the side of the road who wisely climbs the snow bank to safer ground.

We arrive at the Visitor Center at 5,400 feet and enjoy close-ups of the 14,410 foot volcano, the second highest mountain in the continental U.S.  It is also one of the snowiest places on earth.

It is from Paradise that climbers make their way to Camp Muir at 10,188 feet so they can rise under the darkness of night for the climb to the top. Over 10,000 people a year attempt the climb and almost half as many make it.  With binoculars, you can already see climbers making their way up to Camp Muir. Others are content to play in the snow a little closer to the ground.

After our visit we head back down for a short hike at Longmire in an area where meadows meet the forest. We take the boardwalk through hot springs, skunk cabbage and fragrant woods.

Under the tree canopy I tell Bob to look for the buried treasure ahead.   ‘X marks the spot’ I say, but he walks on by.

We complete the loop, following the trail into golden meadows where more views of Mt. Rainier await,

until we are finally back to where we started.

On the drive home we pass by the Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park near the small town of Elbe.  For just a donation you can walk among the unusual sculptures created by artist Dan Klennert which we did,

finishing up with a song.

And so after a wonderful day under sunny skies at the most beautiful mountain in America we head back home, once again counting our blessings that we live in such an amazing part of the world.

~  Susanne