Dawning day along U.S. Hwy. 97 in Oregon

Dawning day along U.S. Hwy. 97 in Oregon

“. . . a gauze dance,
lighter, lighter,
yellow, blue at the tops of trees,
more God, more God everywhere,
lighter, lighter,
more world everywhere . . .”
— Anne Sexton, from “The Fury of Sunrises”

Wind turbines in the dawn light

Wind turbines in the dawn light

Would anyone sleep late if they knew that there was a rapture-inducing light show celebrating all Creation outside their doors and windows?  How many times have I missed these spectacular natural performances simply through inattention and lack of care (and tiredness)?

My husband and I drove the night through on our road trip to the Painted Hills in Oregon.  So, cocooned in our car, we were enveloped by the dawn.  The skies began to brighten incredibly early, around 4 a.m.  (The summer solstice in Seattle is today, June 20th, at 3:34 p.m. — how appropriate that today’s blog post celebrates the sun.)  And we were presented with a “gauzy dance” as the earth awakened.  We kept stopping along the road so that I could photograph the cloud choreography.  Our destination may have been the Painted Hills, but we started the day immersed in the spectacle of painted skies all around us.

I didn’t think the day could get much better than this.

Power lines across the high plateau

Power lines across the high plateau

Approaching sunrise

Approaching sunrise

Softening light as the day awakes

Softening light as the day awakes

Captivated by the eastern skies, I suddenly remembered to look west, and this was the reward.

Sunrise with telephone poles

Sunrise with telephone poles

 

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Driving Nebraska

March 28, 2015

Sunrise near Kearney, Nbraska

Sunrise near Kearney, Nebraska

Nebraska is flat!  I was struck by the wide open landscape and the dearth of trees.  You could understand why early settlers resorted to building sod houses, for wood is scarce.  When we saw trees,  often cottonwoods,  it signaled a river or natural water source.

Nebraska landscape along I-80

Nebraska landscape along I-80

The Great Platte River Road

The Great Platte River Road

Sun halo (sun dog) we saw at a rest stop along I-80

Sun halo (sun dog) we saw at a rest stop along I-80

Huge fields with nary a farmhouse in sight

Huge fields with nary a farmhouse in sight

Irrigation machinery

Irrigation machinery

A whimsical Nebraska practice -- capping fence posts with old, discarded boots

A whimsical Nebraska practice — capping fence posts with old, discarded boots

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Power lines across the Nebraska landscape, near sunrise

Power lines across the Nebraska landscape, near sunrise

Nearing sunrise, Nebraska

Nearing sunrise, Nebraska

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When we left Kearney, we drove north and west through the sandhills of Nebraska.  This is the mid-grass prairie, but the grass grows in clumps rather than in waving expanses, on undulating low hills.  It is range country.  I was surprised to see windmills dotting the range every couple of miles.  I was also surprised at the hundreds of ponds and rainwater basins dotting the land, many with sapphire blue water.

Sandhills (with pronghorn)

Sandhills (with pronghorn)

Horse with cotonwoods

Horse with cottonwoods

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The ubiquitous windmill

The ubiquitous windmill

Sandhill region of Nebraska

Sandhill region of Nebraska

I had not seen such natural blue water since Crater Lake.

I had not seen such natural blue water since Crater Lake.

Train tracks (we saw so many trains carrying coal -- I counted 120 coal cars on one train.)

Train tracks (We saw so many trains carrying coal — I counted 120 coal cars on one train.)

 

 

 

 

Raining on My Parade

September 30, 2013

Saturday morning at the Prosser Balloon Rally

Saturday morning at the Prosser Balloon Rally

Rained out!  Our weekend plans were wrecked by rain.  I had been so looking forward to this weekend getaway with my husband, our first time attending the annual Prosser, Washington Balloon Rally.  Over 20 balloons were scheduled to take off at dawn on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings from a field in Prosser, the heart of Washington’s wine country.  We left after work on Friday, driving in the dark and arriving in Prosser at midnight.  It rained off and on all night, and although the actual rain drops had stopped falling by 6 a.m., the event organizers decided to cancel Saturday’s morning launch because of the deteriorating forecast.  And since the weather was supposed to only get worst, George and I decided not to hang around for the evening’s balloon lighting or Sunday morning’s lift-off, which were both in jeopardy.

Disappointment!  I can only imagine how many colorful photos I could have taken had the balloons actually been filled and launched into the sky.  We will have to try again another year.

And so, all I have to share with you today are photos of clouds and rain on our long drive back to Seattle.  We opted to drive back along the Columbia River Gorge since we were in no rush to get back.

View from Horse Heaven Hills overlooking the Prosser area

View from Horse Heaven Hills overlooking the Prosser area

Autumn landscape at Horse Heaven Hills lookout

Autumn landscape at Horse Heaven Hills lookout

Eastern Washington with cloud bank

Eastern Washington with cloud bank

Driving the highway from Prosser to the Columbia River

Driving the highway from Prosser to the Columbia River

Old and new:  wind generators and power lines along the Columbia River

Old and new: wind generators and power lines along the Columbia River

Driving I-5 north to Seattle.  These rain clouds were heading east toward Prosser.

Driving I-5 north to Seattle. These rain clouds were heading east toward Prosser.