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.

IMG_1615

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

 

Saying Good Riddance to Summer

It used to be my favorite season until the last couple of summers.  We here in Oregon have suffered unusually high sustained temperatures with our wildlands burning.  It’s been tough on the psyche on many levels.  Autumn is my new best friend.

Oregon Summer 2017

The summer left Oregon in hastecloud-2179323_1920

Like an old friend that paid a visit

Then had a falling out

The rains of autumn quickly came to take her place

Quenching the land’s thirst with violent downpours

 

The summer had betrayed us

Bringing unrelenting heat and drought

forest-1161868_1920Thousands of acres of parched forests burned with such intensity

It filled the hot air for days with acrid smoke

Staining the sky, stinging our eyes, making us cough

 

We longed for the familiar temperate comfort of the season

In a gentle land

Safe from extremes, full of verdant beauty

But now our ramparts have been breached and we are unsure

As we wade through this occupation of political and climate extremes

 

The summer left in a hurry

autumn-209479_1920Maybe to gather strength for next year?

Whatever the reason

As the leaves tinge with orange and yellow

Our relief is palpable as we wake with the morning’s new chill

We  welcome the prelude to winter’s coming

 

 

In the Path of Totality

IMG_8191No matter how much the terrorists, the despots, (& our president) try to steal the show, nature wins hands down.  What a magnificent sight it was to gaze up at the sky & witness such a celestial event among friends.   It was a great morning in IMG_1484Oregon!

 

 

 

ECLIPTICA

The sun & the moon

met each other in the freshness of an August morning

and as they embraced, the sun smiled brightlyIMG_1464

then grinned as he crowned the moon

with a corona of dazzling light.

The earth hushed

The sky darkened in reverence

& we stood in awe before the crown.

Then the two lovers slowly

parted ways

committed to their lonely orbits

leaving us in the fullness of day

solar-eclipse-682344_1920

 

Weekly Photo Challenge- The Evanescence of Water

Walk a half mile down the McKenzie River Trail from Clear Lake, Oregon & you will come upon a treasure of waterfalls and azure pools.  I like to stop & gaze at the dance of the water, infinite incarnations in the blink of an eye.

waterall cairn 2
Evanescent

Weekly Photo Challenge- Reflections on Waldo Lake, Oregon

Waldo CairnsWaldo Lake is one of the many gems of Oregon. At 5,414 ft in the Oregon Cascades, it’s the second-largest & deepest lake in the state & is known for it’s pristine, crystal clear water. Waldo stones in waterIt’s a magical place.Waldo butterfly

Reflecting

Waldo sunset

Weekly Photo Challenge- Wandering Through the Tulips

Every spring these tulip fields at the Wooden shoe Tulip Farm explode with color, a welcome end to a dreary winter. I am lucky I don’t have to wander far in Oregon to experience such beauty.

Tulips & tractorTulips closeup pinkTulips closeup red

 

 

 

 

tulips 4
Wanderlust

Weekly Photo Challenge- It’s Easy to be Green in Oregon…

Garden Frog
Tree frog in my garden
McKenzie R. Maiden Hair ferns
Along the McKenzie River Trail
Lower silver Falls
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park

It IS Easy Being Green!