A Tangle of Life at Nolte

“Blue skies ahead,” my eternally optimistic husband said. “Let’s go out for a walk.”

“Are you sure?” I replied. “It’s pouring down rain.”

Still we made the drive to Black Diamond for lunch and waited for the rain to slow.

When it did we headed to Nolte State Park to walk through the woods around Deep Lake.

The air was fresh and fragrant washed clean by the rain.

The lake was calm and still.


The moss rested wherever it would.

This Doug Fir rested too where it had recently fallen.

Everywhere there was a tangle of life –

messy but beautiful.

~ Susanne

For the Love of Libraries and Books

Who knew there was a National Library Week? Well maybe you did, but it took the Sunday Still’s Challenge,  For the Love of Reading and Books, to bring this to my attention thus inspiring this post.

Why not celebrate the memories!  There was Mrs.Jones – my grade school librarian – reading to us as we gathered around her. Her whole face a smile, her eyes twinkling, she would pause after each page for effect and hold up the book for all to see the pictures.  Her voice was gentle especially as she neared the end of the story, when she smiled and closed the book as if it were something sacred in her hands.

Later mom would take us to the King County Library in White Center – it was small and nondescript  but who cared?   Here I found Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary  and Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – who didn’t envy her?   There was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and the Little House books of Laura Ingalls Wilder and many others that transported me to new places and new friends that I wished I didn’t have to leave behind.

I still visit the libraries in the King Country Library System, including the one in downtown Renton where a river runs through it.  Well not really through it, but at least under it, where the Cedar River flows.

Outside its front doors you can watch the salmon spawn in the fall.

Inside any time of year you can sit and read your favorite book.

What’s not to like about that?

Do you have a favorite library?

~ Susanne

A Rainy Day in the Spring Garden

It was inevitable that the real spring would finally show up in the Pacific Northwest.  Where it rains, then it shines, then it blows, then it rains again.  Today was such a day.

But in between those rain squalls Benji and I managed to visit the garden.

Me, to take pictures of the azaleas in bloom,

and the hummingbirds feeding.

He,  to get a manicure.

~ Susanne and Benji

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Frank B. Cooper School Refrain by Susanne Swanson

Here’s an older post of mine, shared on the lovely Smorgasbord Blog Magazine today, in case you missed it earlier. A visit back to Frank B. Cooper School on its 100th anniversary. Another tale from my youth.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to welcome Susanne Swanson to the Posts from Your Archives series, and her first post today shares her return to her kindergarten which was celebrating its 100th anniversary..(I don’t think Susanne was one of the first pupils!)

Frank B. Cooper School Refrain by Susanne Swanson

I’m not sure what I was looking for by returning. It was years and years ago when I attended Frank B. Cooper school, kindergarten through 6th grade. But it was the school’s 100th anniversary and the building, now the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where artists live and work, would be open for celebration and tours.

But why go? Was I hoping to run into childhood friends? (Maybe.) Did I hope to trigger memories that were no doubt bound up in those indescribable hallway sounds and smells? Warm sandwiches left in lockers, new shoes shuffling on heavy floors, recess bells? Whatever the reason, I made…

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A Walk through Fairhaven and Western Washington University

Call me sentimental. But last week’s road trip to Bellingham was a walk back in time.

It started when we headed north from Seattle,  passing through the daffodils of the beautiful Skagit Valley. (Tulips are up next in the Valley and that needs another trip .  But I digress.)

From the daffodils we stopped in La Conner for lunch and then continued to our destination, Bellingham,

via the scenic route,  Chuckanut Drive,  which winds for 30 miles or so along the coast next to the Salish Sea,

where you’ll find oysters for sale along the way and oyster beds in the beaches below. No I don’t eat them.

You’ll also be treated to views of the San Juan Islands  – reachable only by boat or plane so that also needs another trip.

Chuckanut Drive led us to Fairhaven, a historic district in Bellingham that I frequented during my college days – a short walk from one of the many places I lived — and where we spent the next two nights at the delightful Fairhaven Village Inn.

I love Fairhaven – a compact section of old Bellingham with quaint shops and restaurants –

and Village Books, my favorite bookstore where you can browse three floors of new and used books,  pick up quirky gifts and have a bowl of African Peanut soup at the adjoining Colophon Café.

You can walk anywhere for dinner and when you head back to your hotel you might even catch a sunset over Bellingham Bay, like we did. 🙂

For more of the bay you can take the South Bay Trail for a refreshing walk along the waterfront, and maybe stop by Woods Coffee.

Bob did just that the next morning while I slept in.  I was saving all my steps for the walk on campus – Western Washington University – where I spent most of my college years during the last century.   The campus is intimate, with woods on one side and views of the bay on the other.  Red Square is still the centerpiece surrounded with buildings like Miller Hall where I enjoyed many of my liberal arts classes.

Best of all the campus is full of sculptures and artwork like the Stairs to Nowhere, which I did not climb

and the Log Ramps which I did.

There was the steel wall sculpture , Wright’s Triangle, that we walked through, and where you can see Sehome Hill behind,

and the brilliant red one, For Handel,  high above the Bay.

I remembered them all.

And there was new artwork as well, including these little fellows, hard at work,

and this one not.

It was a wonderful walk  from one end of the campus to the other and when it was over we were ready to head downtown for lunch and more adventures.

But I will save that for another time.

Thanks for coming along.

Shared with Jo’s Monday Walks.

~ Susanne

Kitty in a Bowl

Any questions?

~ Susanne and Benji

Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the Big Island

This week’s Sunday Still’s theme “Tropical,” reminded me of my own first trip to Hawaii, to the Big Island to celebrate our 25th Anniversary.

I was immediately in love.

Not just because it was my anniversary.

And in spite of the fact that it was raining heavily in Hilo and I get enough of that in my hometown of Seattle.

I was smitten with the island because it was warm and lush and fragrant and all I hoped Hawaii would be.

It was on that first trip that we took the scenic drive north to Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden at Onomea Bay.

and walked the paths though tropical foliage, swallowed up by giant plants that dwarfed us;

and stopped to enjoy a tropical waterfall,

and beautiful orchids,

and flowers I have long since forgotten the names of,

until we ended up at Onomea Bay and I almost had to pinch myself that I was really there.

There have been many trips to Hawaii since, and all were wonderful, but the first will remain in my memory as the most special.

And as I plan the next trip to the Big Island – this time to celebrate our 37th Anniversary – I will make sure it includes a stop at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden on the northeast side of the island and lovely Onomea Bay.

I can hardly wait.  🙂

~ Susanne

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