Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gratitude Coming from Heck Hill . . .

"There's so much to be grateful for, 
words are poor things."
- Marilynne Robinson, Home

Here are some pictures to help with the words...

So grateful for the view out the front of the house...

and my view coming up from the back...

for memories of time well spent with our children on the way home...

with Easter goodies included.

For the four hours a day I get to spend in our new studio, I am very thankful...

 always learning new tricks...

practice, practice, practice...

and even some pastel work this past week.

So grateful for the flowers I met along my way this week...

either in my garden...

or along the side of the road.

We are both very thankful for the ferry system here...

and reflections we capture in the water.

I am thankful for big red barns...

little country lanes...

sweet cupolas...

creative signs...

little shops with pleasant surprises...

friendly farms...

and the fresh green of spring.

"After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."

L.M.Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

Wishing you all a lovely uneventful week.
Be well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Still Walking. . .

We are home, safe and sound, looking each day for new places to walk.

But I will share some 'snaps' with you of our journey from the last blog post on towards home.

No, these blossoms are not here at our house but enjoyed on a walk en route.

As were Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. Are they not a handsome couple?

And Mr. Blaise, enjoying a spring day on his bicycle.

We journeyed north, checking out past haunts. . .

We looked down on a site that used to be our home. Those evergreens at the front of that yard are the same trees that I planted 30 years ago in front of our favourite house from the past.

Old photo of the same location. We sold it many years ago to a couple who in turn sold it to
developers who are changing the 20 acres into another subdivision.

Above photo shows you that spring is even later once we were in Canada. The air is different than AZ, that is for sure.

We chose the route we did to help Mother celebrate her 96th birthday and visit sister Bobbi. Mother insisted on no party but those of us who came anyway took turns spending a few hours with her.

And to keep our bodies limber we found walking trails. This trail ran along a creek where I remember enjoying an eventful canoe trip with Sherwin, Shelby and Sherilee. This time of year the water in this creek is high, fast and COLD. I know because I ended up in it!

Looks like the beavers like this area too.

After leaving the Okanagan, Bobbi and Mother we finally pointed the car towards the coast of British Columbia, actually getting serious about home.

Sherwin's sister and brother-in-law joined us for a walk to get the crinks out of our bodies. It is difficult to sit long hours with no activity so we were thankful for this walk in the woods. You can see by the forest growth that we are in damp, cool country.

Many trees are slowly starting to bud.

Morian pointed out that we had just walked a portion of the Trans-Canada Trail. Must get a map and start marking where that I have completed my first segment (passage).

As you can see in this picture we are finally at the coast. Water is in the very slim foreground with cranes for loading freighters off to the right of the ferry terminal. A very cool coastal sky welcomed us.

Ah, home again! Next morning, by the light of day, it was a delight to see we do have some blossoms here too.

This rhododendron is called "Bliss" and is one of my favourites. This particular bush was planted 12 years ago when we first moved to our island home and it just refused to bloom until last year so you know I am delighted to see it blooming even better this year.

Around every corner you can see something showing off for me, welcoming me to my gardens.

This photo doesn't show it but when I peeked closely I could see fresh material in the house in the Japanese maple tree just outside the front door.

And so we are home again. We do miss the warmth of our friends and neighbours in Arizona but we love this spot, looking forward to a great summer of creativity.

You all have a great April.
Stay in touch and be well.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Happy Easter!

"It was love,
not nails, 
that held Jesus
to the cross."

Friday, April 3, 2015

Walking Home!

The last book I read before leaving our AZ home was "Walking Home" by Sonia Choquette. If you are feeling the need for some heart searching/mind clearing/soul cleansing you may want to take a walk, a long walk. Sonia hiked the pilgrim's trail, by herself, through the Pyrenees, The Camino de Santiago. 

Click here to see the various routes you can hike to complete a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostelo where you will see the tomb of St. James.

This book was inspirational for more than the 'internal housekeeping' possible on such a hike. It was an inspiring story of a woman who hadn't been a hiker in her life but out of desperation decided she needed this 'walk'.

It was a beautiful read, good for your heart and soul. And somewhat symbolic of our trip going home to Canada.

It soon became evident that our road trip was becoming one great walk after another.

We started Day 2 at Bryce Canyon in Utah...

notice the winding trail that goes down and down.

Wild Man poses for me on the trail.

It was very interesting to hear a variety of languages and see people from all over the world in that one little spot on the map.

If you will looking closely to the right hand side of the photo above you will see some trail we had covered a couple hours earlier. It was such a great hiking experience. Not to be missed if at all possible.

Click here to read Sherwin's story about our hike on his blog.

As we began Day 3, I explained to Sherwin that once I know I am within hours of my children there is this huge magnet that grips my heart and spurs me on. I just want to see their faces and exchange hugs with them all. I cannot get there fast enough.

But I knew we had to stop to get some walking in somewhere so while I was passenger I scanned the map book and found a possibility near Baker City, Oregon!

We arrived there shortly before they were to close the gates at 4 p.m. so knew we had to hurry to see as much as possible and get our legs happy again.

We looked out over the view and hit the trails. I was not able to go quickly enough to cover it all but Sherwin did get all the way down to the reason for this Center, the ruts in the trails made by thousands of wagons bringing pioneers over the Oregon Trail.

Looking back up the hill you see The Interpretive Center from a number of angles. It sits on a high bluff overlooking a great valley. The pioneers must have been delighted when they came upon this part of their journey.

We did not have time to view the displays, read any of the information or see any of their movies because of their gate closing at 4. Besides my 'magnetic heart' was working overtime by now and it was time to be off to the kids.

We will definitely return because The Oregon Trail has always held a fond place in my heart after reading a number of books about it as a child/early teen.

While our kids all went of to work or school the next day we cast our eyes about for a trail to hit in the Walla Walla Valley. Our daughter suggested Bennington Lake so we were off and walking again.

This area is one of the prettiest, every season bringing something to delight the eyes. We just stepped out of the car and were met with the amazing smell of blossoms.

This trail system circles a little man made lake with over 20 miles of walking trails to keep your legs working. We understand that just a few weeks ago this little lake was nothing more than a large mud puddle but they have let in more water from the dam above to start to fill it up for summer enjoyment.

It doesn't take much to make the people come out to start playing about in the water.

We loved the views around us of the glorious hills that surround Walla Walla.

And if you have followed me over the years you know I have difficulty not 'shooting' blossoms!

When we got to the dam area we found we could walk across. As I made my way through the shallow water I didn't let the icy water deter me from shooting these horses and riders as they passed by.

I turned around and saw Sherwin had finally rolled up his trousers and made the plunge too. Only the first few steps were exhilaratingly chilly!

One day was not enough to cover all the trails so we came back to Bennington Lake the next day for more.

So far, so good. We are in Canada now and back to business but we will not let a day go by without finding some trail somewhere to keep our hearts and our legs happy.

Keep reading.
Keep moving and above all else, be well.