Thank you for stopping by my blog.

I write day after day because I discover extraordinary lessons from ordinary life experiences. I record my visual portraits of everyday life filled with something sacred in hopes that my reflections might bring an insight that blesses my readers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salmon lessons

A short hike reveals this beauty outside of Seattle.

Outside Annie and Adam's window.
   Last week Denny and I visited our son and daughter-in-law in Seattle.  As I sat in their living room, I enjoyed looking out the window at the well dressed hills of green fur trees contrasted against the golden leaves of the autumn trees.  Also high on the hillside were condos that looked like triangular bird houses.  Each morning I awakened to this picture painting.  I drank my coffee, and watched the misty rain make greener pastures and foliage.
    Seattle’s surrounding waters create a surreal landscape juxtaposed against the crowded high rises and condos of the city.  Puget Sound  is surrounded by scores of small islands. It is a sanctuary to explore, canoe, kayak, fish, or hike.  The wildlife include seals , sea lions, eagles, osprey, porpoises , heron, and so many wonderful creatures of  God.  I am intrigued by this area.  The Pacific holds treasures of cod, mackerel, flounder, oysters , and my favorite, wild salmon.  The salmon are hatched in the headwaters of Northwest streams, begin life in fresh water and spend two or three years in the ocean.  Then, they return to the river where they were hatched to spawn and die.
    The salmon’s journey reminds me of my own journey on earth.  I was birthed in an area that holds fond memories.  As I went upstream , I like the salmon have traveled into turbulent waters in order to discover my priorities.  No matter where I locate, I have an alluring device , a fondness, that calls me back to my family and  roots.  I still have the same taste buds that were developed early in  life. Many days I yearn for my mother’s buttermilk biscuits and slick white gravy.  It is still a very comforting food.
    When the salmon merge from the streams to return to their birth place, they rush, crush, and fight for reentry. Adam has reported that streams are totally filled with salmon. He can walk across  the stream to the other side by using the salmon as his bridge.  I, too, have experienced some rushing and crushing that has developed me into the person that I am.  The fast pace of the salmon’s journey forces them into unfamiliar waters.  I have been forced out of my comfort zone and into new situations that have made me stronger and more agile.  I , like the salmon, have needed others to follow, to mold, to create in me a new vigor and passion.  I am grateful to all those salmon in my stream.  They have shaped me.  I too love to return to my roots, smell the salt water, linger under the palm trees, and feel the sun upon my skin.  Each stream of my pilgrimage has instructed , warned, jostled, and satisfied me at different turns and tributaries.  I have lost loved family members and friends in the upstream battle.  Still, I continue to travel upstream until I can learn and do all that  my Creator  has purposed for me. I am thankful Seattle’s landscape and nature remind me my trek is filled with adventure and beauty along with the uphill battles. I am grateful for each day, each person, and each stream.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leaves of Meaning

Copyrighted art by Sandi Baron

Each autumn season reminds me of one very special fall ten years ago.  Our youngest son, Adam, moved to Seattle that previous summer.  I was missing him so much.
  I am always humbled by the beauty of the color of the leaves and the response of the trees to shed on God’s cue each fall.  This colorful rhythmic pattern is evidence of our Father’s masterful plan. 
I taught our sons to enjoy jumping in the leaves when they were small.  Now I jump in the leaves with my granddaughters.  It is the right of passage to celebrate the oncoming holidays.  
I remember leaf collections were assigned as science projects in the fall.  Adam and I would tromp through our neighborhood, the woods, and the unoccupied back streets searching for each kind of leaf.  We would return, mount them as instructed, label them with the label maker, and gloat over our leaf knowledge.
However, this year there were no leaf trampers or rakers, or no leaf projects. I returned home and as I walked in the door the phone was ringing.
“Hey, Mom, I’m thinkin’ of fall...really miss the colors.”
“ No autumn in Washington?” I asked.
“Nope, just not the same kind of trees here. No golden coins flying through the air.”
“ Well, what was your adventure last weekend?” I asked.
“Climbed a trail.  Saw a bear.  Met a new climbing bud.”
“Oh, my gosh.  That sounds exciting.”
“Hey , Mom, send me a fall photo, OK? Gotta run. Bye.”
I had an idea.  I would collect leaves in the neighborhood and put them in a mailing envelope.  I started my journey by walking across the street to the Calvert’s and Hill’s yards.   They were outside visiting and I told them my mission and they entered in enthusiastically.
“Put in my red maple leaf.  I know he will remember playing in these red leaves,” said the neighbor.
As I reached the corner, I explained to another neighbor my project ,and he chimed in, “ Hey, tell Adam hi and this is my best sycamore leaf.”
I rounded the corner and walked past his middle school principal’s house.  I told him I was sending leaves to Adam, and he offered greetings and a perfect oak leaf.
Next, on the street was Adam’s former librarian, “ Here, take these two giant bronze leaves and tell Adam they remind me of him, shiny and bright.”
My collection was increasing as were the greetings.  It touched my heart how neighbors admired their leaves and gave warm salutations of love.  I continued collecting burgundy, gold, bright neon green, and golden leaves.  When I returned home, I added the greeting each neighbor had sent on the back of the leaf they selected.  
I mailed my package and waited to hear from Adam.
“Hey, Mom, my floor is filled with colored leaves.  They even smell like Indiana.  I really enjoyed all the notes from the neighbors.  It feels like autumn. This is the best gift ever.  I love you Mom.”  I hung up the phone and his words have lingered in my heart for ten years. So, I share this very special autumn memory as I realize the leaves are all gone, and now I must prepare for winter memories.