All around the country side and in the city I see the fullness and fruition of summer’s dream. Sunflowers. Short ones, medium size and tall massive forests of happy faces bounce in the breeze seemingly celebrating their very existence. I want to learn how to let them to grow in my garden, when I get a garden, but for now I’ll simply paint another pretty posy hoping I can do justice to its essence. Essence is key in my art and allows my imagination to rule.
There are special days in each year that carve memories, not all real great but most are great 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.
IT HAPPENED THIS MORNING ON THE FALL EQUINOX
It’s amazing what a sunny day can do to brighten everything.
11 x 15 Watercolor on paper
After the long hard winter and a lingering spring, summer has finally arrived. The first of the fruit crops are showing up in outdoor stands and markets all over Bend. I didn’t notice the normal influx of strawberries this year, but the cherries are abundant stacked mostly in the open trunks and back seats of cars dotting parking lots sporting little hand made signs reading, “Cherries 4 Sale” or “Cheries for Sale” or CHERRIES for SALE. Maybe they’ve come from Madras or the Valley.
Hans, my youngest son, and his wife Flora are paddle boarding on Elk Lake today, and tomorrow they will ski Mt. Bachelor. For the first time in years, on this 4th of July weekend, the mountains are still hidden under a heavy blanket of snow. The lakes and the streams are full, of very cold water, and running at a swift pace, just as in times past. In the early 1960’s the US Olympic ski team trained on the glaciers of Mt. Bachelor during the summer. They stayed at Elk Lake Lodge where I worked for several years. It was fun to get to know them.
Terry, Renee, Ellie and Jade are enjoying a few days in the Wallowa’s. Those mountains are stunning, and the little town of Joseph nestled in the foothills of those wild peaks is so peaceful and welcoming…and a long ways from anything.
My youngest step son Matt and his nineteen year old son Jacob paid a surprise visit this week. They have just left after two wonderful days together. The three of us talked non-stop. Last night we sat by the fire circle on my back deck and kept the neighbors awake chatting until almost midnight. Matt is an anesthesiologist in DC and, accompanied by his son, was headed to Korea for a year’s military assignment. He and Jacob missed their flight in Seattle which gave them about three days to spend as they wished, so I got the call Thursday saying that they would be here Friday. We haven’t seen one another for seventeen years. We picked up right where we left off as if only a day had passed. This visit was a 100% blessing for the three of us.
The weekend will find me back up in the mountains escaping the thundering of speeding cars roaring at high speeds by my new house. Somedays I think the noise is not too bad. Other days I just want to run away and go back home. As we know, there’s no place to run, and there’s no turning back. I remember a sprawling cherry tree that grew on the bank above Burnside Ave. in Portland. It seemed very happy and healthy in the midst of heavy traffic and noise much louder than I deal with.
So, MOTS, (moral of the story) is, be a cherry, grow lots of leaves, sparkle in the sun and celebrate life no matter what.
“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Martin Luther King
The sweet image below was painted by Yael Maimon, an Israeli woman living 8 miles from the Gaza Strip. This painting is featured in the February 2017 issue of Watercolor Magic, with the following thought from the artist:
If you look our your window at peaceful scenery, you have reason to be grateful.
Let us all live in a world of peace.
To all you who responded to my Hole in the Floor post, I want you to know your comments and support are very helpful, and you are all appreciated. I am not alone, as I’ve recently heard, 3/4 of Bend’s homes have some snow/ice dam damage. There are many in the same situation that I’m in.
Most of you asked about my next move. I did put money down on a small house in Bend’s east side that I was pretty excited about – was being the operative word in this case. I’m not sure now. There’s one training certificate related to my pending loan that needs a signature – which has been refused. The only thing I can do is keep the faith and know things will all work out for everyone’s very best.
What was, isn’t any more:
Several evenings ago the sky was red with flashing lights from emergency vehicles. The home two houses up from me was on fire and flames rising high into the sky. The damages to the home are sizable but repairable. Then “bam,” the house next to the burned house had a major explosion resulting in, apparent, substantial damage. What happened to Skyline Dr. and its back-road quietude? I feel deeply for the neighbors and their losses. This week has made up for many years of relatively uneventful living in the mountains.
Even though as I write it’s cold, snowing, and blowing like crazy, I’m imagining warmth and some comfort ahead. My love to all.
It is with great sadness that I leave my home and neighbors of 18 years. Kelly, a great friend who was one of the first to live up here, assured me that once a Skyliner, always a Skyliner. This is comforting. Nevertheless the insurance company declared the house uninhabitable, and I needed to move – three weeks early. The kitchen is gone and the missing floor is open to the outside. It is cold both inside and out. Not quite Dr. Zivago, but close.
Seems not so long ago contractors were all over this house creating a lovely space for us to be. Looks like it’s happening all over again, and I know it will return to its good times and wooded beauty. A young couple with a four month old baby will be the new owners. They love the house and the area, so welcome and thanks for your patience.
I’m posting images of the damage to remember that I needed to go.
As if there’s not enough snow, I keep painting mountains. If I could paint today I’d go for a cheerful floral design. Spring is just around the corner, around the next snow storm. What a time to be moving!
It’s been awhile since I actually painted. The water damage to the house is quite extensive. Flooring has lifted and is warping in several areas, and the hot water heater is gushing hot water. Apparently the dishwasher froze and is leaking. The kitchen floor is maple salvaged from the Old Pilot Butte Inn’s dinning room, and it will have to be removed. Today the plumber is coming to deal with the gurgling hot water heater, and Service Master will show up sometime this afternoon. I’m waiting to see when I have to evacuate to make room for the reconstruction. March 8th is the closing date on the house, and I thought that was pushing it. Maybe this week? Oh, I hope not. I’m tired, but what can I expect? I’m a little old to be tackling this single handedly. One step at a time.
I’m so grateful to my friends and family who are offering assistance and hope. Along those lines, I want to thank so many of you for your good birthday wishes. Terry, Hans, and Flora took me out to lunch on Sunday. It was so fun. My family is a delight, and I appreciate them immensely. Hans and Flora are off to China Thursday. Terry and Renee will head to Canadian Rockies for 10 days of powder skiing on that same day. I wish them well being and safe keeping. Wish I was going with them. Plumber’s at the door. Blessings and Love.
If you’ve ever been to Fort Rock in the Central Oregon Desert, you’ll remember that it is formed of jagged lava rock that has taken the shape of a crescent. It’s dry and desolate, to me. So now, I seem to be existing in a near replica which I have named Fort Snow. (Not dry but maybe a little desolate.) The photos attached will tell you the story of the enormous snow load I am dealing with and some of the havoc it has raised. The inside has some significant damage caused by snow melt that crept silently down beams, under flooring, and into the main crawl space under the kitchen . It’s not the end of the world, but just one more thing to deal with as I pack to move and try to find a place to live. What a time for Bend to come up with an unprecedented snow dump.
Here’s the story behind my pictorial essay: lots of snow, piles so high I don’t have to think about anyone looking in my windows – or me looking out, tractor heading down towards my front door, Fort Snow forming, dogs going crazy with fun, and at last a fond farewell to my 1990 Subaru Legacy. She’s off to become a KLCC radio program.
By the way, it’s my 78th birthday, and I so appreciate the many, many birthday wishes that showed up on m Facebook page this morning. I really needed that kind of support today, and it helped me to remember who we all are – just a bunch of good friends and family who know how to reach out to one another.
There’s been a change from my last post. My Ooo-ing and Awe-ing over the beautiful snow and bla bla bla are over. It is lovely but it’s turned into a dangerous affair. Two nights ago after watching news bits featuring the collapse of the gym at the historic Kenwood grade school, seeing the old Ray’s Market fall in on itself, the FedEx building die a slow death, and Hooker Creek’s huge vehicle garage all go down under the weight of this unprecedented snow and ice storm, I became highly motivated to save this house.
Fortunately my son found two very strong, able-bodied professional contractors who knew their stuff. They were very careful with the roofing, chipped away all the thick ice dams, repaired damaged gutters, and kept most of the snow from the roof back off the house’s siding at ground level, but now – guess what? It’s pouring down SNOW AGAIN and another 8 to 12 inches are accumulating as we speak. Just emailed the guys to invite them back for another round. If we keep ahead of the storms their work will go faster and easier. I am enormously grateful to them for their kindness, great attitudes, and all the very hard work they did.
Stay tuned, there will be more to follow. Stay warm, be safe, and eat lots of chocolate chip cookies.