Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Hike from Heaven . . .

Or ... was it a hike to heaven? Never-the-less, Roland at last convinced me to get away for a few days to one of our favorite camping sites. He left three days before me and I drove up Sunday afternoon to join him.

En route I travel towards Crater Lake and Mt. Theilsen (seen here) with my destination, Lake Lemolo. A quite, discreet area on that highway that is home to six or so lovely waterfalls, either just off the highway or hike-able. The days have been beautiful blue-skyed and warm. Our campsite gives us this breath-taking view of the other side of Mt. Theilsen.

Our sparkling view from our camp picnic bench peeks across Lake Lemolo to the tiny island. Cody of course, loves poking into the water and sniffing area's smells. The water is gorgeous turquoise blue and I actually coax Roland into diving in along side me!

On Monday morn, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast and pack for our day hike. We'd hoped to find the trail we took before which took us to the bottom of Lemolo Falls. We discovered that all the directional signs were gone and after seven miles in, we gave up. Still searching for a hike, we had heard tale of a trail that lead to the upper portion of the same falls, trailing along the North Umpqua River. Hurrah, we easily find this trail head and easily meander downward along the beautiful green trail to the surging river.

The entire hike was lush green, with moist little cascade percolating out of rock clusters. Wild flowers were everywhere and you could just see that snow had recently melted in this area. Along with this rich growth came freshly hungry mosquitoes. But we'd found a new "Off" that was non-oily and non-fragranced and seemed pretty effective. The Lemolo Falls were robust but not nearly as thrilling looking over the rim as being at the base amongst the mist and roar. We plopped on nearby rocks for lunch then headed back up the mile and a half to the car.

Envigorated, we meander back to camp for dinner and later that evening for a visit to the Lemolo Lake Lodge for peach-pie-ala-mode.

During the night strong sprinkles pelt our roof and mornin' dawns wet and grey. But we enjoy the misty view over steamy coffee and some reading from Pema Chodron. We nest loose items into their appropriate places and head off back home, traveling in our separate vehicles.

I wasn't surprised when I saw Roland pull off into the Rogue Gorge parking lot, it's one of his favorite spots in Oregon. And right now with all the rain we've received in this late arriving summer, the gorge was just roaring. I found a sweet contrast when we were in the parking lot and I caught site of this calm, subdued and peaceful Amish group visiting from Pennsylvania.

I love the dynamic contrasts we find in nature and in humans. My aim is to savor and remain centered amidst all of it. Yep, it's a life of lessons ... and learning. And I'd not have it any other way ...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Park Butterflies Then, a Daffodil Celebration

This is one of my very favorite journal entries!! For several reasons: 1) right in the midst of designing the page, a "creative spark" took place, gifting me a new, delightful idea 2) the day at the park was one day I actually let my child have a free day playing in the park with a new friend and 3) the farm scene expressed more how I felt about the day than how it would have "photographed".

My day in Lithia Park (a divine mile long strip of gorgeous Ashland park that follows the Lithia Creek up into a valley) with my playful new friend Bettina, culminated a walk that ended up with us laying on top a picnic bench. We lay there for quite some time watching the trees sway and our conversations meander where ever they took us! Quite fascinating and freeing. I mean, how long ago has it been since YOU laid out on a picnic table? I had to capture the view we experienced and wanted to incorporate this colorful card my friend had given me. At first I was going to just glue in the card in the bottom left corner but ~ SPARK ~ the idea, "why don't you cut out the butterflies and allow them to fly all over the page?" OK!!!! And to surprise, when I did that, I also created these fascinatingly shaped windows thru which to see the trees and even more butterflies created by the negative spaces. Thanks Spirit!

A few days later, I was invited to a Daffodil Fest. This was not only to honor the flowers now in bloom (hurrah Spring!) but to pay tribute to my precious mentor student (see my "The Joy of Mentoring" post, December 16, 2009), Kiri's, granma. Seems Granma had an incredible collection of daffodils back east and some of them had traveled here to be planted in rich Oregon soil. And now they were in bloom! So I joined the gathering at my mentor student's parents home and enjoyed meeting the cast of neighbors (who discussed the visiting neighborhood black bear). I was given a tour and so loved the barn and animals that they became the theme for my sunny, animal-sprinkling of a journal entry.

Don't you just love it when creativity is out of your hands and turns out even better than you could have imagined, because of that? Isn't it just divine to be creative?

Friday, June 17, 2011

From the Tango . . . to Chickens

I have to admit I'm a closet dancer (well, it doesn't mean I dance in the closet). It's just that once upon a time I was one of those who loved line dancing and now it's evolved to a fan of, yes, "Dancing with the Stars". But nothing is more beautiful than two bodies weaving together with amazing grace and agility. So when we saw "Tango Inferno" at the local theatre, we got tickets. It was a chilly night but, the flair and professionalism of this team was on fire. And since they won't allow photos ... this couple danced out the of program to my journal pages.

The adjacent page was a sampling from my "Basics for Watercolor Journaling" Class. I'd broken it up into 3 sessions one week apart giving time for my participants to apply their new information during the week. What a great group with enthusiasm and dedication. We toured thru basic drawing and ended up exploring the color wheel.

Seems pages like these are rich and playful ... a sweet way to experience this growing lesson called life. Relish the moment ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My First "First Friday Artwalk" Back Home

This was a jubilant entry ... with the beginning of February come two of my favorite things: 1) Ashland's First Friday Artwalk and 2) Valentine's Day.

With this being my first Friday Artwalk back in my Ashland Art Center Studio since I'd been home from Mexico ... it felt like a personal welcome home celebration! The Art Center had selected as a theme for February, the Rabbit, in honor of the Chinese New Year! I would love to have had time to whip up some playful lil' bunnies ... but my amazing friend and peer Art Center assemblage artist, Dale Muir, punched out these fun rabbits from Cherrio boxes. Isn't he just darned cute? This rabbit sat on one of my painting frames and watched people pass by. Several dear friends passed by and I got hugs hello. This colorful sketch is the view into my new neighbor, Joann Manzone, chatting in her next door studio. Yes, there really was a tall fellow wearing that fur coat and hat. He was quite noticeable!! By the end of the evening I felt embraced, cuddled back into my community and it was so grounding after "floating around for three months", Mexico or not.

Valentine's day popped upon the scene, catching me almost unawares. I found the perfect card for Roland several days ahead but, Roland had outdone himself. I was home that day and received this fresh bouquet of lovely pink and white flowers, accompanying card had this soft pink petaled flower on the front. I cut round holes in the following journal pages and, with my exacto knife, carved out a concave hole in which to glue my 3-d flower. Roland forwarned me we had a dinner date that evening too. Keeping the destination a secret, he tucked me in the car and we drove into Ashland. Finally, parking behind the Ashland Springs Hotel, he revealed that "Larks" was our destination. An adventure in eating, since neither of us had stopped in there before, the atmosphere was casual, nice, the food, probably not what we'd go back to. But it was sweet walking Cody after dinner amidst the crisp evening air and returning to our fire-cozy home.

How solid I feel being back at home ... savoring the blessing around us here ... "there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home"! Yes, Dorothy ~ ~ you were right.