Big Old Sitka Spruce Trees

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Here are some more images from our trip last month to the coast. These beauties are old growth trees along the ocean on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo 1: Sitka and Cedar on a hike down to the Beach near LaPush and 2: the famous Ruby Beach overlook further south. What a treasure this National Park is. If you are interested in getting involved in creating more quiet space for this place check out Save the Olympic Peninsula.

Milky Way view from Western Montana

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I meant to post this a few weeks back, but I get distracted in the summer. 🙂 This was taken late June on one of those special, clear nights with very little moon. We stayed up way too late but look at what we found! This photo was taken before the fire on Ravalli Hill. Those hills are now recovering nicely from being scorched by a human caused blaze near Highway 93, which took the Tribe many days to control.

This weekend we are hoping to view the Perseid Showers, which will peak Friday and Saturday nights. I hope you get to check them out too.

Note: This was taken with the wide angle lens accompanied by a shutter app on my Nexus. Matthew rigged the whole thing up. Ask before you use it, OK?

Rialto Beach

What to write about this place? It’s like a second home and so familiar and yet so different each time we visit. This time we were there with Matt’s sister and our son Alasdair. This is the view from the north looking south to Hole in the Wall. Down south it was busy, more busy than what we are used to, but we don’t usually visit in July. It was great weather though! There’s the rub…

Hole in the Wall

A Time Lapse of the Flathead River

Happy Easter to you all. Yesterday Matthew and I spent part of the early evening on top of a hill overlooking the Flathead River just west of Dixon, in an area also known as Tipi Camp. We shot a time lapse of the clouds, sky and outback hills on the other side of the river. I’ve been wanting to do that area in time lapse for awhile. If you watch closely, there is a train shot too.

While this camera was busy, I hiked across the road with the GoPro camera to set up another time lapse with a varied perspective. I stepped away for a moment and a female bluebird came to light on the camera and iPhone for a couple minutes while her very blue partner sat nearby. That camera was thereby blessed by a Bluebird!  Happy Spring!

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A walk towards the sun

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This is a photo which Matthew took of me on one of our walks last week at the Ninepipes Bird Refuge. The days are getting longer; I even notice the difference this week, with more than three minutes added on each day. Soon, the equinox will be here. Even the owls at the Bison Range are answering each other later with their wake up calls.

Walking winter, summer, spring or fall — I pretty much love it all.

My Ukulele, my Jam

When we were in Hawaii last summer, our daughter-in-law learned a new term on the street and shared it with us. “Dude, that’s my jam!” She overheard the phrase from a boy who had noticed music being played in a car with the windows open. He must have approved.

So yeah, this is my Uke and Dude, that’s my Jam! I’ve been practicing more with object photography in natural light settings. This is what I came up with the other day. Hope you like it.

Uke on wood

The Gift

I want to share with you an anniversary of sorts, and perhaps provide encouragement to those of you who face similar limitations, physical challenges, or pain. Those of you who know me might remember that a few years back I was hit by a snowboarder while skiing, which later caused me a lot of back trouble. In addition to a herniated disc I had a broken sternum which took over a year to heal. I went through all kinds of PT, Meloxicam, massage, heat, ice… Doctor’s appointments up the wazoo… nothing helped. As you can imagine the pain was impacting all areas of my life. My nephew, who is a DO in rehabilitation therapy, suggested that I see a specialist at the Spine and Pain clinic in Missoula. I made an appointment and the specialist scheduled an intrathecal injection. At the last minute of my consultation he turned from the doorway of the consulting room and told me: “It could be an inversion table would help you; it might be as simple as that.” We bought one and I canceled my injection procedure to test out this less invasive solution. It helped. It took awhile, but it helped.

Last February I began walking again, where previously it was hard to even walk around the block. Matt and I started driving up to the top of hill out of town, to a seasonal rest area which is closed most of the year except during the summer. It has wonderful views adjacent to the National Bison Range and looks east towards the Mission Mountains. Yes, it is along the highway but it provides slight hills to help along with the conditioning I sought. So, I started walking, even though it hurt. I did 15 minutes, then I increased it to 20, then so on. Yes, it hurt but as I continued to build strength, it hurt less and I was able to do more. Slowly I started cutting my NSAID in half and required less of this Ibuprofen-type prescription. Now I rarely have to use it.

Matt and I walk every day, almost without exception, for over an hour. I walk about 5 miles a day all told and we are both more fit than we’ve been for a long while. I still have pain but it’s different now, and no longer interferes with my activities. We walk for two reasons: 1) we live in a beautiful area and we make every effort to get outside and be a part of the beauty 2) We walk because we must, for physical and mental wellness.Bison Range sunset

So in a nutshell, I exercised my way to wellness with the aid of an inversion table.

But I want to say, there is another element of wellness intrinsically attached to living with nature and being outside:

Life is stressful for everyone. We often don’t comprehend the difficulties which other people face. There are challenges and sorrows and hard stuff which we all must live with, no matter who we are. Still, each day is a gift and life offers, here and there, those perfect moments to us, whether we notice them or not. Life is far from perfect, but perfect moments do exist for us to absorb and grasp and be thankful for – and yes, be healed by. I am endlessly grateful for the friendships, the silent nod of understanding, the pink alpine sunset with owls just waking up as twilight descends.

Take it all in, my friends. It is all there for you. The gift.

 

A portrait of Kauai

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I am slow to post photos of our June family trip to Kauai. This is at the overlook at Waimea Canyon. The top photo by our daughter in law, Caitlin. The sun shone during the day and it rained some nights on the north shore, which is where we stayed at Princeville. The Canyon was completely clear this day and the overlook on top was like looking at a photo of heaven. I took this of the Kalalau Valley below. It is true to color and magic.

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