Monday, November 30, 2009

First Sunday in Advent

I was standing on the footbridge.

A father, his young daughter holding his hand, passed behind me.

"Daddy! Daddy! take a picture!" she said.

"Not now," he replied. "Too much fog. It would just be all white."

I took the picture for her. It was lovely...and not at all "just all white".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Little Miracles

I have been lured
Out into the day.
I have been led
To wander.
And whether nearby,
Or far away,
I have looked into the light,
And I have turned and looked away.
There have been
Rare moments
Of uncommon illumination.
Little miracles,
I call them.
They occurred
Most often
Just where I was standing,
Just where,
By time and chance,
I happened to be.
When least expecting a revelation,
I would find one.
The wonder of light
The ordinary
Into objects
Of exceptional beauty.

Yellow leaf among the rocks at Lucerne Landing.

Sunrise as seen from "the second level."

Moving ribbons of light reflected on the side of the Lady of the Lake.

Rocks, clear water, floating leaves and a reflection of trees.

Reflections of light on the rippled surface of Lake Chelan.

Bosc pear and chair at the window.

Light on the rocks at water's edge - Refrigerator Harbor.

Window box of nasturtiums in morning light.

Snow on a length of chain.

Rope on the pilings of the dock at Lucerne.

The wake of the Lady of the Lake on Lake Chelan.

Mariel's cup.

Icicles from the roof overhang outside the window of my room.

Rain on a windowpane.

Offerings left at the center of the labyrinth.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tansy in November

At the labyrinth,
The tansy
Is taking
A final bow.

It is,
At last,
And broken.

But even now,
Facing the earth
And a timely burial
Under the snow,
It wears a jaunty crown.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why I Ride the Switchbacks

Or: Confessions of an Aged Pseudo Speed-Junkie in Search of Just Another Exhilaration High Before "It Is Too Late"...

And "too late" may be defined variously. As in "too late" to make another trip down the switchbacks before an accumulation of snow on the road makes the trip impossible for a bicycle. Snow is forecast for the end of the week, and this time the days and nights have been cold enough to chill the ground. Therefore, there is a distinct possibility that snow will stay on the ground and begin to accumulate. And alas! I have neither chains nor snow tires!

But here I am, aboard the trusty bicycle that has "seen it all" over the course of the last year and a half. And yes, I am aboard and racing down the road, steering with one hand and taking pictures of my shadow, also on a bicycle, following along beside me. What can I say for myself? I was alone. There was no one there to chastise me, and I wanted to see if it could be done. There is the proof.

A mile down the road out of Holden going toward the lake, of course, there is a bridge over a creek (Ten-Mile, it is called...signifying that it is 10 miles up the road from Lake Chelan). It is at the bridge that I generally stop and adjust clothing...taking off what I deem to be too much or putting on a bit of extra clothing...usually hat or gloves. I always try to remember to turn around and look behind me. This is what I see as I leave. This is what I will see upon my bus!..bicycle in the back.

The mountain peaks are retaining the snow that has fallen there over the past several weeks. The levels at which that is occurring continue to drop.

At this time of year, the sun is quite low in the sky, so low that it frequently disappears behind the mountains, reappearing again quite suddenly to illuminate a dogwood tree.
One advantage to riding a bicycle is that you are able to stop...or hopefully, you are able to stop...along the way and take a photograph or just enjoy the sight.
The fall foliage coloration here runs primarily to the various shades of yellows and golds. When you find a dogwood tree at the end of the season, the red is a beautiful shade of a blush pink, as opposed to a darker red.

A tree, its branches still covered with gold leaves stands as as sentinel beside the road.

In some places, the leaves have already fallen and cover the road. Riding a bicycle through them creates a storm of gold behind you.

Some of the most beautiful spots along the way occur where trees on either side form a sort of canopy over the road. One stretch of the road is referred to by the same name. Riding through it...or under a delight at any time of year but is made even more wondrous when the leaves are in full fall color.

Two years ago, Holden was evacuated when a forest fire, threatened to compromise the road, the only really viable escape route for those in the village. The fire actually came up to the road but did not spread across to the other side. A part of the forest burned in the fire can be seen behind this young tree growing at the side of the road.

Once the bicycle begins its descent down the switchbacks, it is difficult, even with good brakes, to stop your forward motion. (Without brakes, as I was to discover on an earlier ride, it is impossible.)
But there is one place on the switchbacks where the view of Lake Chelan is breath-taking. It looks out over the water and up the lake toward Stehekin. The clump of yellow trees protruding out into the lake is called Moore's Point, a frequent drop-off point for hikers and backpackers.

Along the way down, and truly in the wilderness, is a huge boulder with a star carved in it. It is referred to as "Rock Star" (ha-ha) but no one knows how the carving/chiseling came to be. It sits up on a hill overlooking the road.

Yet another mystery is the identification of this rather strange looking plant. There were 4 of them, two of each emerging from the same spot, and no others anywhere in sight. I have never seen any others anywhere, as a matter of fact. The little seed pods along the stems, if indeed that is what they are, resemble tiny brown pumpkins.

At the end of the journey down, by the dock at Lucerne, there are more red dogwood leaves, these on a tree just to the side of the dock.

Looking uplake toward Stehekin from Lucerne, a tree with yellow leaves, mountains, blue sky, blue water...what more?

How about more trees with yellow leaves, mountains, blue skies, blue waters? It is enough to make you want to hitch a ride back up to the top and ride down again.
Maybe I will.