In the Bite of an Apple

Apple season is almost over with only our late bearers are still covered with fruit.  It was an exceptionally  sweet year for some varieties.  Within their crisp bodies lie memories.

APPLE

I bit into the apple

A burst of spring rain

and an explosion of blossoms

filled my mouth

I tasted the footprints of honeybees

long summer days

and the brightness of the autumn sun

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Weekly Photo Challenge- The Curves of Forgotten Relics

Deep in the Opal Creek Wilderness lies Jawbone Flat, a tiny mining community that operated in the 1930s and 1940s.  It is currently the site of the Opal Creek Education Center, dedicated to the study of Old Growth Forests.  Left behind is a treasure trove of old equipment from the heyday of the Shiny Rock Mining Company.  I find beauty in their forms, nestled in the forest.


Rounded

 

 

 

Thinking “Inside a Box”

cell-1496385_1920Gas molecules will fly all over the place unless held in a container.  That’s what I’m like .  Unless I am contained in a structure, I am all over the map.  As a result, I can feel inefficient and anxious. Ironically it appears that in order for me to “think outside the box”, I need to be in one

For most, they have a structure imposed by a job, school, and/or family responsibilities.  That used to be me but 2 years ago I retired from teaching and now it’s up to me to create my own structure.  In other words, I get to be my own parent.  Scary.chest-2648225_1920

I make several kinds of visual art, play music, sing in a choir, and write, plus take care of an aging farmhouse on rural property.  I’m doing a little of this and a little of that.  As a result, my work is all over the place with no real sense of focus & accomplishment. I am “showing up” but irregularly without a clear set of goals. So after bumbling around for a while in this new found frontier of freedom, I realize that in order to function effectively I need to create my own “box” for myself to save me from chaos.

IMG_1647Recently I sent for books on the subject. Currently, I am reading ,  Goal Setting for People Who Hate to Set  Goals.”   This small book by Keith Ellis is helping me prioritize & set measurable goals step by step.  Today I am going to sit down, write out my goals and create a visual flowchart to follow.  For me, unless I write things down and have a visual posted in a place where I see it consistently, all will be a wash.

Some successes thus far: I have started to get up an hour earlier.  That helps a lot.   I also for some months now have been following a modified version of the house cleaning and organization system on flylady.net.  My house is way more in order and clean than ever before by just following her simple systematic approach.   I function much better in a clean, orderly environment.

If you have any tricks to stay focused and organized, I would love to know!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge- Glow, the Magic of the Welder’s Torch

For several summers I have returned to Ghost Ranch Retreat Center to take art welding under the tutelage of Tom Nichols and Connie Burkhardt.  It’s a glorious week of fire, camaraderie & creativity.  I’m always amazed at what the glow of the oxyacetylene torch can create.12A welding

You can see examples of my welded art from Ghost Ranch here:  https://byalannapass.com/portfolio/junk-collage/

Glow

Robin

robin-2506274_1920I had to let him go

Like the mother robin

Crowded with her noisy young

In the disheveled nest of twigs overhanging the patio door

Whose scruffy chicks were there one day

Then gone the next

Never to return

Continue reading “Robin”

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge- A Scale of Distances

I enjoy putting my own take on the photo theme & not taking the prompt in the immediate literal sense.  This photo is about scale but in the realm of comparisons of near and far.  As I walked the Camino de Santiago with a friend in 2013, we came upon these signs sometime after Pamplona.  We were most concerned with Santiago, 220 km away but still way closer than Jerusalem at 5000 km!

Camino signs
Scale

Seeking Solace in Nature

IMG_1585In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings last week (on top of everything else going on in this country) I needed a big hug from nature.

Off I went with 3 other women friends to walk in the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.  This place has been a refuge for me for years.  It is tucked up in the Cascade Mountains about 30 miles due east of Salem, Oregon.

This is one of the largest old growth forests left in the United States and the largest in the Western Cascade Mountains in a watershed virtually untouched by loggers saw.  As a result, stunning Opal Creek runs sparkling clear through its rocky course through this forest wonderland of giant Douglas fir, W. Hemlock, & W. Red Cedar.

IMG_1601The Shiny Rock Mining company operated in the midst of this forest in the 1930s from the “town” of Jawbone Flat. In its heyday, about 50 souls lived & worked there.  The relics of the town still remain.

By the 1980s, timber companies were eager to log the area.  Friends of Opal Creek, an activist organization dedicated to preserving the watershed to a wilderness area, was formed.  I joined up.  For the next few years, I made many 4-hour roundtrip drives to lead educational hikes to the public along with other docents in an effort to expose and educate the public about why we should preserve this gem of an area.

The strategy worked.  Eventually, with public pressure, Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon IMG_1608pushed legislation through Congress in 1996 before he retired forming the Opal Creek Wilderness Area.  The Shiny Rock Mining Company deeded over their holdings to the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center whose mission it is to educate children and others on the value of old growth forests.

Today it is a sanctuary for many including myself and a myriad of flora and fauna.  Walking through this forest cathedral, the four of us absorbed the healing power of nature and our souls were washed clean, at least for a while, from the cascades of Opal Creek.

It was good to know, there is still beauty in this world.

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There is Still beauty in this World

Seek it in the wild forests

IMG_1574Where the only news you will hear

Are the songs of birds

And the shatter of chipmunks

 

Let the music of cascading waters

Soothe your soul

As you tread  in a green world

Lined with lush moss, rocks, and ferns

A winding trail beneath your feet

 

IMG_1617 (1)When you look up through

The cathedral of conifer branches

And the stained glass window of the vine maples in their sunset hues

Know that nature will endure

Beyond the world of man