Friday’s Passing Fancy: East of Cascade Mountains, Smith Rock

On a brief road trip we still find extraordinary views even though we have become more familiar with it over the decades.

High desert country called in the midst of our new twin baby tending here. I have had little time to devote to writing or photography (except for pictures of the infant girls my daughter and husband are lovingly watching over –as are we, so very frequently). But now and then we engage in other matters of interest.

We enjoyed a quick two day trip over the Cascades for another granddaughter’s high school graduation. (Hooray for my son’s daughter, Avery! Early graduation at barely 17; on to college in the fall!) And I remain fascinated by that area, though doubt I’d trade rain forests, valleys and mountain foothills of my home topography for eastern Oregon’s high desert and ranch lands. Though I am yet drawn to the power of those, as well as our mountain ranges.

We always stop at Smith Rock near Redmond, Oregon if we can. I find it breathtaking, shifting scenes that are ever mesmerizing to explore as we trudge over winding, dusty paths. Here are several shots from our sweaty hike touched by awestruck moments. I saw a river otter for the first time, also, though shots did not come out well.

Be on the lookout for rock climbers here and there.

Looking down at a route we will soon begin.

Please click on the series below for a slide show.

Friday’s Quick Pick: Escape Art

The gauze casts itself over rooftops,

breathes across ridge and foothills

like the breath of Odysseus.

It is pulled into my lungs,

subdues the gong that strikes my heart,

an intake of coolness and love, power

that obscures, protects, reveals, shelters,

secrets away what matters most.

I close eyes once to the bleeding world

and then a whisper vanishes in twilight,

the breath let go, soul aloft,

heart swollen and emptied

as tomorrow awaits more remnants of

Light to hunt and scavenge

for whatever is yet to be escaped

for wherever I must go, shall go

Friday’s Passing Fancy: Walking the New Woodsy Neighborhood

Adaptation to our new “woodsy life” continues. It is a dream come at least partially true, although there is still plenty of human made architecture and amenities in the area. I have noticed a couple of insects here and there that sneaked inside and the bees are quite busy working.

We have long been fascinated by birds. We spotted two hummingbirds flying high into a spruce and my son, Joshua, his young son and his fiancee noted one that was voicing avian commentary and beating wings even higher while we took a family walk. I just added a good bird feeder on the balcony to see what we attract, as well as preparing the hummingbird feeder. Not that we didn’t have birds (and yet, so many crows) in the city center. And there are moments I miss the old neighborhood with the lush gardens and energized streets. But it is even even more delightful to watch the birds fly, labor and sing in a quiet, more natural habitat. We have binoculars at the ready.

Walking daily on trails that interconnect for miles is a deep pleasure; every day is a surprise. We will discover more this week-end as we seek and find the choice views and paths further from us. In the meantime, here are pictures of a few of the views.

Some of you may recall I eagerly await the births of our youngest daughter’s twins. I foolishly asked her to go on a short walk recently, then looked again at her great burgeoning roundness and her expression… sure thing–but in a few months, as their arrival is imminent! Two baby girls will be fun to chase up and down trails one day!

I hope you all can get out and walk, hike or otherwise have fun within nature or the city–whatever you prefer! Keep all senses at the ready and your spirit open!

Saturday’s Words & Photos: Life and Hoyt Arboretum

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Photos, Cynthia Guenther Richardson 2018

Blue sky and sunshine gleam at me, the autumn colors becoming richer day by day. I am looking out my open balcony doors; the October air lately has been soft and inviting. How fortunate I feel to enjoy such a lesisurely afternoon.

And yet, it has been a challenging week, first dealing with a second knee injury that occurred a week ago on another nature walk. Ah, the importance of strong healthy knees! A greater worry is my one remaining sister being in hospital with heart issues (family health legacy, unfortunately). The past couple days I have been sedentary –a big challenge for me–and very concerned for my sis Allanya. One by one, each of us surviving siblings deal with ongoing heart health matters.

I wasn’t going to post today. Then I recalled a slew of pictures from another recent woodsy foray (not the hike during which I tripped on a piece of hidden rebar sticking up from muddy creek-side earth…a shock out in the woods). Yes!– I can relive the happiness of hiking even as I rest and ice my swollen knee. And take even more good will to my sister, bedside.

The Hoyt Arboretum, on a high ridge of the west hills of Portland, OR., was established in 1928 as a way to conserve endangered tree species. Within the 189 acres are over 6000 specimens of trees and 2300 species, of which 63 are considered endangered or vulnerable. There is a huge collection of conifers, magnolias, deciduous trees…far more than I can note here, and other plants including bamboo. There is also an Herbarium, a natural sciences collection museum for scientists with many samples of plants.

There are 12 miles of hiking trails within a a place of serenity and many wonders. Please enjoy part of our 7 mile hike undertaken one partly sunny/partly rainy afternoon!

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Friday’s Quick Pick/Poem: Tempo Change

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Photo, Cynthia Guenther Richardson

Despite a dire mood I enter the world
then woody trails, carrying my slight hope.
Forward movement of shoulders to hips to feet,
arc of arms and toss of hair, face lifted.
Enveloping me is ripening air, foretastes of fall.

Ah, I awaited this as a child, the sweat to chill.
I yet long for breath deepening, musk at the edges,
that change of meter, a slide from silken to rugged,
the sharp distinction between largo to vivace 
as in a series of restive dreams.

Skin will protest, toughen from little bites
of wind boisterous with damp and cold.
But the tree canopy is already happy, leaves
soon emboldened, colors a gleeful warning.
Then the flight: twig to air to dirt like daredevils.

So soon to prepare, I will wrap feet, hands,
pull about wool and fleece, lower the sashes.
No longer made for brutal beauties of snow,
I welcome a thousand acts of symphonic rain,
shuffle of leaves breaking, ancient fade of light.
It is a bearing down and a bolstering back up.

My heart now staccato as I scale a next hill,
mind shakes free of weight, chest rises, open.
Come close, season’s genius, tang and vivacity,
wide opalescence of sky, pulsing of rainfalls.
Let loose of holy robust brittle autumn,
dance swift into lean shadows of winter,
temper and burnish me maple bronze, apple red.

Bring my soul a harvest of wild moonlight.