And Yet There is Still Beauty

I, like you, have been greatly disturbed, distressed, and even depressed over what I have seen in our country this past week. Yes, I remember the sixties but this feels worse somehow.

I am doing my best to stay focused on the things I can do, supporting the protesters, praying for change and voting in the fall.

In the meantime we managed to escape to the coast for a few days, our first getaway since the pandemic started. We are still adhering to all the proper protocols and social distancing; I’ll be sharing more from our trip soon.

But I thought you would enjoy a preview from our visit to Fort Columbia this morning, where this deer was feeding. Beautiful and unafraid, it approached where I was standing. I gave it room and quietly backed away to maintain social distancing even in nature.

Thankful there is still beauty in the world.

– Susanne

Rain Barrels, Fins, and a Swallowtail at Seattle’s Magnuson Park

In my last post I told you about the rain barrels in our backyard.

To get the second one we went to Sand Point, an old naval base on the shores of Lake Washington, now mostly owned and used by the City of Seattle.  Though I visited Sand Point when I was young,  even shopped at the commissary (my stepfather was a retired Navy man) I’d never been back to visit what was now a city park, the second largest in Seattle it turns out.

According to Wikipedia, ‘In 1975 a large portion of the Navy’s land was given to the City of Seattle and to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The city’s land was largely developed as a park and named Sand Point Park. In 1977, it was renamed Magnuson Park in honor of longtime U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson, a former naval officer from Seattle.”

After picking up the rain barrel from the Seattle Conservation Corps, we went for a walk in the park through mostly open meadow, forest and wetlands.

As we neared the lake we came across The Fin Project, public art made from the dive fins from former U.S. Navy nuclear submarines.

The inscription nearby read, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”  Old Testament, Micah, Chapter 4.  I can’t wait for that day.

After visiting the lake it was time to head back to the car and we took a shortcut up Kite Hill where Bob seemed to walk into the clouds.

Soon we were back on the trail and I paused to watch the Swallowtail.

I don’t remember the last time I saw such a large butterfly, but it was huge and it was beautiful and it flitted about in the berry bushes from flower to flower.

Every walk in the park has its highlight and for me watching the butterfly was it.

And though we couldn’t cover all 350 acres of the park, we enjoyed our portion. By then we were hungry and headed to Dicks, our favorite burger joint, before returning back home.

It was a day well spent.

~ Susanne

Strange and Soothing Seasons

I woke this morning to a caucus of crows and heavy footsteps on the roof.  Were they protesting the presence of a raccoon?  I got up to look while the clamoring continued as did the low rumblings.  Too heavy for a raccoon, maybe the sound of construction nearby?

Benji startled and wondered at the noise and I tried to assure him.

Then continuing peals of thunder, low, rolling thunder- till heavy rain and pelting hail began to fall.

Days on end of eighty degree weather came to a crashing end – it was strange but comforting – pure Seattle weather.  Locals posted – THUNDER – on social media sites –  enjoying the sounds of the storm.

Yesterday we sat by the stream,

which is fed by rainwater, thanks to my husband’s creativity.

It drains into a rain barrel, then through an underground pipe to the stream across the yard.

The water was evaporating too quickly so just last week he added another barrel to hold the overflow.

The stream will continue to flow when the sunshine returns.

But today we’ll stay inside.

~ Susanne

Great Blue Heron in Black and White

Earlier this week, as I stood on the shores of Lake Washington,  a Great Blue Heron swooped in and landed nearby.  It was a typical spring day in Seattle, skies cloudy and partly blue,  the lake a silvery hue.

Though I didn’t shoot the pictures in black and white – I drained the color out of them later – I thought they would do nicely for Cee’s Photo Challenge in Black and White.

~  Susanne

Back for a Walk at Coulon Park

After two months of being closed, I was thrilled when Gene Coulon Memorial Park opened last week, allowing us to resume our walks on the shores of Lake Washington.  Always popular but not overcrowded it’s a perfect place to walk anytime of year, with or without protective gear.

Families were out and their children laughed and played and swam and fished, most with safe distances between.

The stony walkers were unable to practice social distancing – but at least managed gloves and mask.

Canada Geese had nothing to fear and grazed in the fresh grass.

Sparrows filled the air with their song,

adding to the beauty and color everywhere.

Boats were out

in all sizes and shapes,  powered by sail, motor and oar.

The turtles of Coulon seemed happy to welcome us back to their park,

and for a time all seemed right with the world.

For Jo’s Monday Walk.

~ Susanne

Bees on lavender

I love watching bees on lavender.

Attracted by purple hats and tiny flowers

they come in numbers, unaware of the others,

held aloft on translucent wings that shouldn’t bear them.

Exquisite.

~ Susanne

A Walk to Franklin Ghost Town

Every time we crossed the one lane bridge over the Green River Gorge

we saw the sign nearby.

And we said to ourselves, ‘someday we’ll take the hike in,’ and on a recent sunny day we did!

Now when you hear ‘ghost town’ you might see something like Bodie in your mind’s eye, full of old western style buildings.

But for that you would need to be in dry, sunny California, not the rainy Northwest.

In Franklin – a coal town abandoned over hundred years ago – no buildings remain intact.  But you’ll find scattered foundations, an old cemetery and incredible views from the trail. Come along and I’ll show you.

The walk up the old railroad grade is easy,

and brings you to a fork in the road.

We took the fork to the left which led us to the cemetery,

with views of the Mountain on the way.

As we neared the cemetery we saw an overhead trestle blending in with the trees – which we learned later carried water to the town.

Tombstones were scattered about among  blackberry bushes,

and we wandered among them, paying our respects, before heading back for a look at remnants of the town.

If we’d been on a tour we’d have learned about the buildings that once lined the street, the hotel, school, post office, and saloons, as well as the thousand or so folks who once lived here.  In fact, earlier in the spring we’d planned to join a walk led by an historian from nearby Black Diamond Historical Museum.

But a certain pandemic interrupted those plans so on this particular day we were content to use our imagination.

We’ll go back for a tour when the coast is clear.

~ Susanne

Sir Tom Moore: Knight of the Realm

This is so touching! Prepare to be inspired!

beetleypete

Not long after the news media began to tell us about the impact of the Coronavirus pressures on the staff of the NHS, there was a feature about an elderly man who was hoping to raise £1,000 to donate to NHS charities in their honour. Known as Captain Tom Moore, he was a 99 year-old retired man who had served as an Army Captain in WW2, with the famous ‘Forgotten Fourteenth’ Army in Burma. With limited mobility now, and using a wheeled walking frame, he was determined to walk one hundred circuits of his garden, before his 100th birthday.

Using a donation page set up by his family, he quickly raised that money, and much more besides. So much more, that he decided to keep on walking until the actual day of his 100th birthday.

By the time that day dawned, he had raised over £30 MILLION pounds!

That huge…

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Sunrise over the Siuslaw River

I’m not much of a morning person but my husband is and had already been out for a walk. We were staying in Florence on the Oregon Coast high above the Siuslaw River.

“You should have seen the sunrise,’  he said,  ” it was a brilliant red.”  It was 5:30 a.m.

I jumped out of bed and onto the balcony to catch what remained of the sunrise.  And though the red had turned to gold, I was not disappointed.

Wishing I was there.

~ Susanne

Benji and the Plant

I looked out the back door and this is what I saw.

“Whatcha doing there Benji?”

“Benji?”

“Taking a nap Sue.  At least I was, before you….   oh never mind.”

“Why there Benji?  I’ve never seen you sleep there before.”

“Maybe that’s why Sue.  It looked so inviting. Soft materials.  Sun shining right on my face the whole time. It was perfect..”

“Great Benji. Only I’m not sure it’s good for the plant.”

“Well I’m awake now so if it bothers you I’ll just come inside.”

“Sure Benji.”

“I didn’t really like that plant anyway.”

~ Susanne and Benji

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