Another beautiful Fall day in Central Oregon. Isabella and I headed out to do a little exploring, nothing dangerous or even very adventurous, but I though we’d try some new trails. After all the years I’ve lived in Bend, I have not spent much time roaming around Phil’s Trail Head, so I don’t really know the lay of the land. In fact, a few years ago, I did get quite lost, twice in one year.
Here’s my excuse, for getting lost that is. We left one bright sunny morning from the parking lot and headed west on Kent’s trail. After walking several miles I noticed was getting a little tired and decided to head back to the car. Not wanting to see the same scenery twice in one day, I headed south, I thought, with good intentions of catching Phil’s trail which was, logically, “right over there.” Ha! Not only was it not “right over there,” but the clouds rolled in and, directionally speaking, and I was sunk. Galumphing over pine needles, cones and various other beautiful objects that make up the forest floor, I wasn’t even able to decide what was up hill (Skinner’s or maybe Eugene) or down hill (Bend or maybe LaPine).
Somewhere in a science or physiology class I had learned that humans have a small deposit of lead or another metal material that sits just above the bridge of the nose in the lower part of the forehead. It was believed that that piece of metal worked as a internal compass assisting us in the general navigation of life. Well, guess what? I didn’t get one of those. Knowing there had to be a trail somewhere fairly close, I carried on. At least an hour later, alas the hallucinations began. Just ahead, I came upon signs of life. There it was, the Galveston/14th street turn circle with the Big Red Chicken sitting right in front of me. Something wasn’t right though. Things were all distorted. The chicken before me had shrunk. Must be Galveston’s baby, the Little Red Chicken. At closer range it was still a Little Red Chicken. I touched it. “What are you doing out here, Little Chicken,” I ask it? Are you real?
About then a bicyclist came around yon corner. Thank God. He was real and a normal man size. He stopped, as did the others behind him. Pulling myself together mustering the most sane voice I could come up with I ask if “they” knew where the parking lot was. Pointing down the trail, the same direction their bikes were headed, one guy said, “That way.” “I knew that,” I smiled. “Um, how far?” About an hour on foot. They must have checked out my leg length, or lack there, of when they came up with my ETA.
That was one long day. Oh, did I mention the part where I’d left my water in the car? How smart is that? Several months later, when I was smarter, I repeated the same scenario. I’ll spare myself the details. I hadn’t really thought of those “lost years” until yesterday, in full sun, including shadows and all the directional cues necessary to activate my internal compass, after walking longer than I thought my return trip to the car would take, and on a well used trail, a sinking feeling re-emerged. Really? No, I am not lost. Just keep going. I did. That was good advise, as soon I came to a surprise, to me, art installation pictured below. I know a biscillion Bend-its and tourist have passed this place a biscillion times…and know it’s less than a mile to the PTH parking lot. Please don’t make fun of me. OK? So I’m old-er. I do this kind of stuff.
As for art, I’m proud of the place I live in and the many opportunities that are available to display art throughout our town…and forests. The “Little Red Chicken” was a fantastic surprise, right out there in the woods all by its little red self. And the tinkling of the cog wheels moving in the breeze, well, I found that installation a simple and telling display of the hearts of the folks who maintain Phil’s trials and the bike clubs who are a strong presence…ie, the Skyliner’s Road update. May “ART” prevail. Some say it will save the world.
There are special days in each year that carve memories, not all real great but most aregreat and worth celebrating. My favorites are Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Solstices, Equinoxes, and on and on. But, every year the real winner in my book is that awaited day that usually comes sometime in the Fall, after the rains have come, the temperature drops, we’re socked in for a couple of days – and then the clouds lift. Bam! There on the horizon the most stunning gift of nature looms. Brilliant, white with snow, and beautiful beyond thought are the four mountains that seem to keep watch over the foothills and towns below.
Lighting a candle is a long-held practice in many cultural, family and faith traditions. The practice is common across international borders and societies. Lighting candles can bring serenity, focus and comfort, and peace. Breathe, relax, and light a candle for peace within
Yesterday I submitted fourteen images to Looking Glass Gallery, located in the Bend River Mall annex. Seven are Solstice greetings and the other seven are holiday themes. Watch for future post and more images.
My Solstice art is not easily photographed, as it is painted on Yupo (a plastic paper) with acrylic inks. The inks leave a high gloss finish which reflects everything making it almost impossible to photograph. The image I’m posting will give you an idea of my expression of the Return of the Sun or the Solstice celebration. Inside each card is a brief explanation of the meaning of Solstice.
I posted this poem last Fall, but it’s one of my favorites:
She celebrated the sacrament of letting go.
Then orange, yellow and red, Finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence wearing the color of emptiness
Her branches wondering how do you give shadow with so much gone.
She stood empty and silent stripped bare leaning against the winter sky.
She began her vigil of trust
And then the sacrament of waiting began.”
Winter is the season I “wait” for each year, anticipating the peace, surprise, and absolute beauty of snow all around, on the ground, in the trees, flakes falling through the cold skies. Thanksgiving in the past marked the first day of skiing on the mountain. It still does for the younger part of my family, but now, a bit older and a whole lot more cautious, I’m blessed with “slow beauty” – or cross country skiing. Isabella and I venture out daily, she wearing bear feet and I my skis, to feel the blessing of all that is in and all around. I’m thankful for the quiet of winter and “trust” that the snows are here to stay. A fire in the wood stove, holiday lights inside and out, a blanket and a good book to end the day is what I have? (Just read “Lab Girl” – so good and funny – and now “Boys in the Boat” – well written.) Thank you all for being but, yet, one more blessing that I can give thanks for.
Wishing everyone a Thanksgiving filled with love, kindness, wellbeing, and warmth – the warmth part is for those who prefer temperatures that would melt snow.
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift, that there are those
Who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore; they will
Feel they are being torn apart and will
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore;
Push off into the middle of the river;
Keep our eyes open and our heads above
And I say see who is there with you and
At this time in history, we are to take nothing
Personally, least of all ourselves,
For the moment we do, our spiritual
Growth and journey comes to a halt.
The Way of the lone wolf is over.
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and
All that we do now, must be done in a sacred
Manner; and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.