Nearing sunset, Lake Crescent

Nearing sunset, Lake Crescent

“Some of my favorite definitions of wealth include the number of sunsets the family sees each year.”
— Mary Pipher, The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families

On two of my evenings at Nature Bridge, I took the time to walk to the Lake Crescent Lodge to watch the sunset.  These moments, and my early mornings on the dock waiting for sunrise, most closely approached what I expected from the retreat — time to settle, sit still, and quiet my thoughts, and rediscover my groundedness in the world.









While painting was my personal focus for these days away, I was very happy with the photographs I took, too.  I got so many good ones.

It was perhaps a bit jarring for my colleagues on retreat to see me on my iPad so frequently, but I use this technology to help me manage my photographing work.  I took over 300 photos while I was at Nature Bridge, and I have learned that it is overwhelming to edit and caption so many photos at the end of a trip.  So I use my iPad as a handy tool to upload, edit, and caption my photos in small batches as I go along.  So for me, this was not a retreat from the tentacles of technology.  But I can see why people might wonder why I was on my computer so frequently when I was surrounded by all the natural beauty of Olympic National Park.  Perhaps watching me made visible all the time and effort, hidden from viewers, that I put into my photography and this blog.

One of my new friends asked me how much time I spend on the computer every day.  I suppose I am a bit embarrassed and a bit defensive about how much time I do find myself looking into a screen.  More time than I care to admit.  But I don’t have a cell phone, so I am not tethered in quite the same way as millions of other people.  I don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest accounts.  But I do depend on my iPad for email and for uploading and editing photos.  So, yes, I am on the computer a lot.

She also asked me why I take so many photos.  Well, that’s a good question, too.  I take photos because I love to photograph!  I think I am good at it.  It gives me pleasure to share my images with readers of my blog.  But most important, I suppose, is that — like drawing and painting — when I look with a photographer’s eye, I see more attentively, and that gives me a deeper appreciation for the world.

These words of Frederick Franck about drawing, apply for me to photography as well:

“SEEING/DRAWING is not a self-indulgence, a ‘pleasant hobby,’ but a discipline of awareness, of UNWAVERING ATTENTION to a world which is fully alive.  It is not the pursuit of happiness, but stopping the pursuit and experiencing the awareness, the happiness, of being ALL THERE.”
— The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation

While being on retreat did not turn out to be as contemplative an experience as I had expected, I do appreciate being prompted to think about the choices I am making to spend time with my camera or paintbrush.  It’s always good to look at habits and decide whether to continue and recommit, go deeper (to the exclusion of other activities), or let go and find new pursuits.  I’m still committed.



Still Winter

February 8, 2013

“February, when the days of winter seem endless and no amount of wistful recollecting can bring back any air of summer.”
— Shirley Jackson, Raising Demons

Foggy, gray morning at Green Lake

Foggy, gray morning at Green Lake

Lamplight -- beacons in the gray

Lamplight — beacons in the gray

Gray pierced by a car headlight

Gray pierced by a car headlight

Jogging in the fog

Jogging in the fog

Twin echoes, tree silhouettes

Twin echoes, tree silhouettes

The color of our Seattle winters is gray, gray, and more gray.  I long for sunshine.

Seattle winters teach endurance.  Not a bad lesson.  The challenge is to keep from sinking into melancholy and to find moments of brightness to cheer the soul.






Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake near Chinook Pass on Hwy 410

I just had to take advantage of these last sunny days of summer to head to the mountains for a day hike.  I love the Naches Peak Loop Trail for its stupendous views of Mount Rainier and its wildflowers as the trail meanders past several tiny sub-alpine lakes.  This is an easy hike.  Heading out on the trail just ahead of me was a family with a toddler in a backpack and a two-week old baby in a sling.  I parked in the lot by Tipsoo Lake and headed clockwise up the trail so that I would have Mount Rainier in full view for the last part of the hike.

Here are some photos:


The sub-alpine meadows are studded with beargrass.

Tall trees with long shadows cast by the morning sun.

Lush green along melting rivulets

Beargrass and Queen Anne’s Lace with the Cascades in the background

The trail passes along several small lakes

Shards of ice and ground frost in the shady stretches of the trail

Busy bees, butterflies and birds along the trail

Tree silhouettes

Looking down on Dewey Lake from the Naches Peak Loop Trail

The Cascade Mountains with cascading blues

If you walk the trail clockwise, you’ll have this view of Mount Rainier on the latter part of the loop hike.

The trail passes yet another lake.

A weathered snag

The final stretch, heading back to Tipsoo Lake

Trail sign with Mount Rainier on the horizon















Harvesting sunflowers in the morning before it gets too hot

Zinnias, Jello Mold Farm

Jello Mold Farm is a busy place in mid-summer.  The sun was already bright when we arrived at 9:00 a.m.  It’s best to pick flowers early in the day before it gets too hot.  We stayed out of the way of the workers as we walked the flower beds looking for photo opportunities.

Picking sunflowers

Walking the fields

Cut flowers were loaded into the back of a pickup truck parked in the field

Tall artichokes

Scabiosa beds in one of the green houses

Scabiosa silhouettes

Wasp nest in the corner of the green house

Getting ready to harvest some dahlias

Dahlias in the green house

Baptisia alba

Glowing pods of Baptisia alba


Plant starts

Flower ties in the workroom

Straw hat in the workroom

Diane Szukovathy, proprietor, with an order

Diane, Jello Mold Farm

Driveway, Jello Mold Farm

Here are some photos from a foggy December morning at Green Lake.  The obscured details make the images into silhouettes.

A pair of benches

Dog walker in the fog

Walking the dog on a foggy morning at Green Lake

Jogger on the lake path

Roosting crows

Frosty dock

Late sunrise in the fog


Cutouts and Silhouettes

June 19, 2010

Cutouts and silhouettes

I thought I’d share my latest art project — a couple of paper cutouts.  I’m still slowly trying to incorporate making art into my days.

Cutout of lupine