Color My World


“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”

~Allen Klein










From my garden to yours.

Happy Saturday!

Sprouting Pretty

Racial tensions are at scary levels; I woke today to another senseless shooting. In addition, that is, to the one the day before; oh, yeah, we can’t forget the terrorism in the airport in Turkey, and

I had to stop. That is as far as I got on this post. I sat here staring at my screen, at a complete loss. I wrote the above before I woke today to the massacre in Dallas. It is overwhelming and I am indescribably sad. The mud slinging between the current presidential front runners and the media who sensationalize every move they make reminds me of behaviors not uncommon among third graders. As a nation, we are angry, very angry, and it does not appear to be getting any better. Consider the alarming cases of road rage, to name one example. On second thought, I won’t go there. This is my positive space.

Sometimes, it’s all too much. I want to scream, “ENOUGH!” Fat lot of good that would do, even if I were a screamer. I don’t want to despair, or feel hopeless, but…

  1. I want a bit of reassurance.
  2. I want to see something pretty.
  3. I want to be cheered up. And, I know where to look.

around the walkway_july 2016 (30)
Sprinkles of cheer welcome me along the creek.

When I stop looking and start seeing what is in front of me, this is what greets me each and every day along my trail. All I have to do is open my eyes, be open to what is in front of me, and I begin to see things I never knew existed.

You know what I’m talking about, the difference between looking at something–a mere glance–and understanding the importance of, the impact of, what is before us.

And then it dawned on me: this is the problem. We are not paying attention and we are not looking hard enough. We are not seeing what is in front of us, we don’t understand the universal truth that we are more alike than we are different, that we all want the same thing.

along my trail_june 2016 (1)
sprouting pretty
around the neighborhood_july 2016 (11)
Nestled among the Vinca.
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I think these are gorgeous.
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These are, too.
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Absolutely lovely when paired with these mini-daisies.
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A surprise: I planted this last year in a raised bed. Any guesses?

I haven’t shown you our creek until now. I’ve been keeping it a secret.

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This is so pretty it hurts my eyes.

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In these fields, we see wild Iris each year.
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A splash of sunshine.

When we have the courage to do more than look, when we are ready to see, we may discover we share common ground, and we just might see something sprouting, something awfully pretty.

The Hills Came Alive

I could feel it; I just knew. It was in the air. The atmosphere was ripe. I was filled with anticipation. There was no preventing anything. It was just a matter of time. But, I digress.

Let me begin at the beginning.

Some of you may remember we got on the wrong trail last weekend–it was a most delightful mistake–and ended up on Bachelor Mt. trail instead of Coffin Mt. trail. If you love mountains and wildflowers, have another look; it won’t disappoint.

So, this week we knew exactly where to find the trail head. The lump in my throat thickened the closer we got. What had I gotten myself into? Look at this cliff:

coffin_view of top from road_july 2016Me: “We couldn’t POSSIBLY be going up THERE, right?!

The husband: “No.

Me: “Oh, good.” (To myself, “He’s lying.“)

Part of me was relieved, since this, the lookout below the red arrow, was our destination (and it couldn’t be higher than Mr. Nasty Cliff). Right?

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (90)So far, so good. We started out, and it was, as expected, a lovely trail. My lungs noticed right from the start (they’ve always been quick) that it was just a tad bit uphill. No worries, I told them. I’ve got this one. I also went into rescue mode in case I were to pass out from sheer exhaustion (or anger).

  1. Should I pass out, they can simply roll me down the hill, it’s quicker than hiking down.
  2. There were signs of humanoids on the trail. Good to know if help is needed.
  3. The husband can yell very loudly project when necessary.
  4. Since this lookout is “manned,” there could be a place to land a helicopter.
  5. I can always begin divorce proceedings.

I was all set. The husband told me it was a mile and a half up to the top. Fine. I can do anything for a mile, right? Right.

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (6)
near the trail head

The flowers once again were amazing, bright, and cheery, and they kept me going. The Bear Grass was lovely.

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (23)Beautiful flowers sprouted everywhere the eye could see.

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Then, we stopped cold; neither of us have seen anything like this Queen Anne-ish, maroon stemmed gem. Any guesses?

As we continued to ascend, the trail started to change. It opened up and the mountains came alive. Our glorious Mt. Jefferson photo-bombed this tiny cloud. The peak dead center here is Bachelor Mt., last week’s “mistake.”

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (46)The trail was lovely, and my fabulous floral friends continued to cheer me on.

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (31)But, that nasty peak I saw in the beginning was getting dangerously close, and I was not seeing the lookout tower anywhere. Right about here, my “Are you SURE we are not going up THERE?!?” was met with a firm “NO!

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (45)Me: “Fine,” I said with a little more emphasis than the situation warranted. I’m sure it was a lack of oxygen. I kept hiking. That’s when I spotted something familiar. Can you see it?

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (37)OK, I’ll zoom in for a closer look. How about now?

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (43)Vertical, moving human-like structures.Then we heard them. Yep, there was life on the mountain.

We discovered two ladies who know how to hike. They stop and take lots of photos, and even walk off trail to sit and soak up this glorious view. We eventually passed them–not in a million years would I have predicted that would happen–but we beat them to the top.

The husband redeemed himself (by not having lied to me) as we continued to round this mountain, versus climbing to its top. Although, as you’ll see, our destination was higher than this nasty peak (bless my tolerant lungs!).

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (45)And there it is, the lookout at Coffin Mt. trail (and old Nasty Cliff a comfortable distance behind me). I was feeling a little less testy better already.

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (54)The steepness of this hillside and how this trail got its name kept gnawing at me, and I couldn’t keep the two ideas separate. The husband reassured me the name was NOT from those who perished trying to make it to the top (but hadn’t). Uh, huh.

coffin mt trail_july 2016 (57)But, there, in all its glory was the “manned” lookout oddly devoid of living souls as we know them (I did not look too closely over the edge and I heard no cries for help).

A few more steps and, aaaahhhh:

It doesn’t get much better. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I was giddy with relief that I made it to the top, I might have given him the glare when I realized the yellowing peak below–the one with the power poles–is lower in elevation and sits this side of the top of Mr. Nasty than where I stand taking this picture. Lucky for him, my energy reserves had been depleted.

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Can’t say I’ve ever eaten lunch on a helicopter pad, but that we did. The lookout station was closed to visitors. We could not have chosen a more perfect day to hike this trail. By the time we headed down, seven other idiots hikers had made it to the top.

As we descended, I began feeling that old familiar feeling of elation, gratitude, satisfaction, happiness, and pride that I, once again, made it to the end without falling on hiked one of Oregon’s magnificent trails. With one last look, a farewell to our new friends, and lungs filled with mountain air, we began our descent.

coffin_near the top_july 2016
lookout is at the top of this cliff to the left

When the trail opened up, what with the air, the smell, the trail, the flowers, the oxygen or lack thereof, I was powerless to stop myself. I just had to open my mouth:

And, “that’s it,” folks.

Back Roads Therapy

I caught myself reminiscing in a very big way on Saturday evening. First we attended a retirement party (which is salt in an already big wound. While Saturday’s party was for someone who worked with my husband, today I saw my former work peeps and it hurts my heart that I am no longer part of them; I am, but it isn’t the same), then we took the long way home for three reasons.

  1. We wanted to see our magical mountain.

mt hood from sandy lookout_june 2016 (19)This is another view of magnificent Mt. Hood, and it took my breath away. When we stopped, I felt the tug on my heart because for the first eight years of our marriage, we lived just down the street from this lookout point. Just down the street.

We had no idea, of course, that these gorgeous flowers would be there to greet us. It was 8:30 p.m.; as the sun said goodnight, a peaceful orange hue emerged.

mt hood from sandy lookout_june 2016 (27)I was bowled over with the beauty of the place, kept hoping the other visitors wouldn’t call 911 when they saw a sniveling lady suffering an apparent breakdown from simply looking at the view. I heard no sirens so either I hid it well or we left before they arrived.

mt hood from sandy lookout_june 2016 (13)Meet our beautiful Sandy River. I used to drive this road every week into nearby Sandy to grocery shop; I drove right by this same viewpoint. Did I ever stop with my camera? Not once. Why? I have no clue (although having three small children in those years may have affected my behavior).

I could not get enough of these flowers (we keep forgetting to look them up to see what they are, so if anyone knows, please chime in).

2. We wanted to see “home.” This is where my husband lived when we became engaged. It’s where we lived when each of the children joined the family. I can see the front patio where the children had their first swimming pool, the plastic type. I see chubby little legs running all over this front yard. I recall the area by the garden where I parked my second born son in his baby chair while I weeded out front.

The husband built this house, planted this garden space, and all the trees along the driveway. This is the driveway that brought each of our children home for the very first time. It’s the driveway where our oldest son learned to ride his bike. The room to the right is the living room, where we put our first Christmas tree. I can see the front yard BBQ parties, gatherings with friends on summer nights, and I hear the laughter.

Much is the same and there are changes. How could it ever not be home?

the old house_june 2016 (3)

3. There are some darned good milkshakes along this back road.

While life changes can be difficult, and while we know they are passages we must navigate our way through, the thorns can be blunted with beauty, remembering the good times, and a darned good milkshake. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking the back road home.

mt hood from sandy lookout_june 2016 (25)