A Winter Travelogue

We wanted to honor our friend (my next door neighbor from Lombard, IL) and his family at his memorial service six hours away. The Pacific Northwest has been pounded with winter storms this weekend. As we studied the radar it looked like there was a break in the weather, when we could thread the needle and get through. We decided to give it a try. Except for a few dicey spots, the trip was a blessing.

Chapter 1  Setting Off

DSC_0871

This, my friends, is Eastern Oregon.

DSC_0875

Dry pavement. Yes!

DSC_0883

Deer crossing

DSC_0894

Welcome, Holly! This sign has been a source of delight for decades.

Chapter 2  Investment Opportunities

DSC_0897

This stark landscape reminds me of the Midwest. Or Scandinavia.

DSC_0905

A fine barn

DSC_0907

I imagine homesteaders lived here once upon a time. Or, perhaps a school?

DSC_0912

The detail on this fine old barn thrills me.

DSC_0918

Roof needs repaired. Air conditioning free.

DSC_0919

It was Tiny before Tiny Houses were cool

 

Chapter 3     Birds and Such 

DSC_0924

We’ve never seen so many hawks on posts. Here, there, here again. Sidenote: I over-helped my son write a paper on the red-tail hawk in 1993. I’ve never forgotten the scientific name: buteo jamaicensis.  Isn’t it weird what sticks to the inside of your brain?

DSC_0928

This horse has been studying and applying the Marie Kondo method.

DSC_0935

 Hawk perched in a tree.

DSC_0942

Waterfowl feeding

DSC_0957

I am drawn to lonely trees

 

Chapter 4  Coming Home on the Rattlesnake

DSC_0962

Driving south towards Lewiston

DSC_0975

I wonder how this highway was named The Rattlesnake?

DSC_0987

Looking down from above

DSC_0988

It descends, slithers along the floor of the canyon (see center of picture),
and slinks upward to the next plateau.

DSC_0990

S-curves superabound

DSC_0991

Sidling up to the mountain

 

Chapter 5  Watch for the Light

DSC_1001

Coming into the Wallowas, spots of blue sky

DSC_1011

A shroud of clouds cannot cover it. The light still shines.

DSC_1012

Light and shadow. And a lonely tree.

DSC_1017

Luminous

DSC_1018

Winter glory

 

Bonus Chapter: Deer and Elk

DSC_1020

Outside of Enterprise, deer feeding

DSC_1037

Outside of Imbler, elk herding

DSC_1038

I don’t have the skill to convey this magnificent sight: about 300 elk

DSC_1042

Walking, loping, bunching together

DSC_1053

Move ’em out!

DSC_1061

Bull supervising the exodus

What Snow’s Made For

DSC_0060

Jane said she’d never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn’t mind trying. …

“That’s why Camilla and I got married,” said Denniston as they drove off. “We both like Weather. Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather. It’s a useful taste if one lives in England.”

“How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?” said Jane. “I don’t think I should ever learn to like rain and snow.”

“It’s the other way round,” said Denniston. “Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven’t you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children—and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for.”

~ C.S. Lewis in That Hideous Strength

DSC_0105
My grandchildren providing the illustration

Reading Evening

DSC_0186

It was a weekend of colossal snowflakes. Twirling, swirling, pirouetting, waving-to-the-audience snowflakes. So cute, you can’t stop staring snowflakes. Snow that puts the world on mute. Snow that drapes over every horizontal surface and beautifies barbed wire. Snow that provokes stillness. We stoked the fire and settled into a reading evening.

We submerged into our book(s) and sat in companionable silence. We forgot all screens and beeps malfunctioning computers. After an hour of pure silence, I put on a CD (remember those?). This set of four CDs has been one of the soundtracks of my life for the last twenty years. (A great score!)

Furiously reading Martin Gilbert’s Churchill, A Life, trying to finish the 1K book before the inter-library loan ends (this is how I do marathons), the mounting crisis of Hitler’s threatened evasion of Czechoslovakia was creating inner tension.

Slowly I became aware that the music playing was such a befitting accompaniment to the words I was reading. Minor key, evocative, simply sad music. Naturally, it was Chopin. Recorded by the Slovak National Orchestra.

 

Oregon Hygge

dsc_0997

Hygge is that trendy Danish word that fathomaway describes as the art of creating intimacy: a sense of comradeship, conviviality, and contentment rolled into one. We’ve been snowed in recently, but aren’t snow days one of life’s delicious bonuses?

{Before any further rhapsodies, let me acknowledge we don’t have sick family members, stock (countryspeak for animals; think ‘livestock’), emergencies to respond to, or young children going bonkers.}

dsc_0939
Fresh herbs (this is mint) are an affordable splurge.

dsc_0945
My sister-in-law crochets these in small moments. They are a benediction.

dsc_0962
Mid-century house, old cabinets.
Curt and I worked together installing pull-out shelves.
Out with stale, in with organization.

dsc_0969
One of the most hygge activities we do is to  listen together to Harry Potter.
We’re in year five;  Harry is our tidy-up-after-dinner soundtrack.
And then we sit down and listen the way most people watch television.
I cut out stuff from catalogs to put into the small blank spots in my journal.

dsc_0975
The timing couldn’t have been more fortuitous!
A friend gave me a box of Blue Apron meals. (Thank you, Dana!)
We have everything  needed for a restaurant quality meal.
I supplied salt and pepper. Yum!

dsc_0967
The smell of bread baking in the oven has to be hygge!

dsc_0971One way we keep warm.

dsc_0946
Abacus gallery sells poster calendars with artwork by Dana Heacock.

dsc_0973
This is more OCD than hygge, but I’m indexing my journals.

dsc_1000
Candles seem a big piece of hygge. My husband is allergic to the scents.  I roast garlic each time I turn the oven on. The fragrance wafts through the house.

dsc_1001
Hygge.