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

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This, my friends, is Eastern Oregon.

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Dry pavement. Yes!

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Deer crossing

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

Chapter 2  Investment Opportunities

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

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A fine barn

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

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The detail on this fine old barn thrills me.

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Roof needs repaired. Air conditioning free.

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It was Tiny before Tiny Houses were cool

 

Chapter 3     Birds and Such 

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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?

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

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 Hawk perched in a tree.

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Waterfowl feeding

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I am drawn to lonely trees

 

Chapter 4  Coming Home on the Rattlesnake

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Driving south towards Lewiston

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I wonder how this highway was named The Rattlesnake?

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Looking down from above

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

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S-curves superabound

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Sidling up to the mountain

 

Chapter 5  Watch for the Light

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Coming into the Wallowas, spots of blue sky

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

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Light and shadow. And a lonely tree.

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Luminous

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Winter glory

 

Bonus Chapter: Deer and Elk

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Outside of Enterprise, deer feeding

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Outside of Imbler, elk herding

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

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Walking, loping, bunching together

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Move ’em out!

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Bull supervising the exodus

Oregon Hygge

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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.}

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

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

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

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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.

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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!

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

dsc_0971One way we keep warm.

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Abacus gallery sells poster calendars with artwork by Dana Heacock.

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

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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.

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Hygge.

Rethinking Winter

photo credit: National Audubon Society

photo credit: National Audubon Society

Ought not
WINTER
in allegorical designs,
rather be represented by
such things that might suggest HOPE
than convey a cold and grim despair?
the withered leaf, the snowflake,
the hedge-bill that cuts and destroys—
Why these?
Why not rather the dear larks for one?
The lark, the bird of the light is there
in the bitter short days.
Put the lark then for winter,
a sign of HOPE,
a certainty of
summer.

…the bud is alive in its sheath;
the green corn under the snow;
the lark twitters as he passes.
Now these to me are the allegory of winter.

— from Out of Doors in February
by Richard Jefferies

Destinations

Some days (often Tuesdays) the web is wonderful.  I can’t keep these to myself.

~ I’ve already linked once to Nancy Wilson’s post on January attitudes.  It’s worth a second look.

~ I received a trial (print) subscription to Books and Culture.  I knew I would never get any “real stuff” (read cleaning, cooking, dusting, teaching) done if I received this oversized periodical on books regularly.  Instead I get the free newsletter which comes on Tuesdays and is manageable. 

~  Today’s Book and Culture newsletter has N.D. Wilson’s article about the debate between atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian pastor Douglas Wilson. 

Cindy had a sidelink to a reading schedule for Calvin’s Institutes.  My dear friend Lisa and I have been talking about doing this together for a while.  Lisa moved last year and is still unpacking boxes of books.  Start digging, Lisa, before we get too far behind!

~ We are moving towards a more liturgical approach to the calendar.  We’ve been celebrating Advent for a few years; today we’re celebrating Epiphany.  We’ve kept our decorations up (that involves a changing of the mind) and our lights on.  I am encouraged by Kristen at This Classical Life who writes:

When Yuletide ends there is a mixture of sadness and joy, the sadness of knowing that every day cannot be a holiday, but the joy of knowing that each season brings newness and fresh delights.

I really like the words Yuletide and Eastertide.

~ The end of the Christmas season is called Little Christmas in Ireland.  The men take over all the household chores and the women go out to restaurants and pubs.  Hmmmmm.

~ A friend on Facebook recommended The Book of Ebenezer Le Page for those interested in Guernsey after having read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  Her quote from Ebenezer will make you want to get the book today.  

Meanwhile it snows.  My husband went to work yesterday at 4:00 a.m. and shoveled snow for ten hours (not his normal duty).  He came home, ate dinner and went to bed at 5:30 p.m.  One trip to see our Seattle grandson has been canceled due to snow; it is quite possible our plans this week may go the way of the snowplow.  I have pictures of Noah, but it’s not the same as cuddling him myself. 

The monochromatic landscape is beautiful and achingly quiet.  Yesterday my neighbor took me to her back window.  There were 100 birds on her apple tree having a feeding frenzy.  Some birds looked drunk.

I have new and old books to read, pots of tea to drink, real work to do (gasp!), and food in the freezer.  We’re hunkering down.  Life is an adventure!