”As a pilgrim we, we sometimes journey.
We often know not which way to turn.
But there is One who knows the road.
Who’ll help us carry, who’ll help us carry,
our heavy load.”
Aretha Franklin, from her album “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism”
“Around us life bursts with miracles—a glass of water a ray of sunshine , a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; earth that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. Where we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.” Thich Nhat Hahn.
The Mt Emily Recreation Area above La Grande and the the Grande Ronde Valley in Union County Oregon calls recreationists anytime of year–hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing in the winter, and mountain biking, riding dirt bikes, hiking the rest of the year. We are so blessed and fortunate to have such a great place to enjoy so near to us.
Morgan Lake sits above La Grande, in Union County OR. Although the road up there is steep, it is only a fifteen minute drive to reach it. Few people visit it in the winter, so the tranquility is always refreshing. Late afternoon light and sunsets are exquisite.
“You are present, Eternal God, in every moment of my life, in the daily tasks and the swirl and seeming chaos of world events. Help me then to be aware of your presence and responsive to your purpose.” Evelyn Underhill
The Mt Emily Recreation Area is less than a fifteen minute drive from where we live. When the Boise Cascade timber company decided to sell its land for home development on Mt Emily, a group of dedicated and far sighted people raised funds for Union County to purchase this land. The MERA provides trails for hiking, mountain biking, off road motor cycles and 4 wheelers and horses. These multiple users cooperate to make maintenance and trail development happen.
Meg and I have enjoyed hiking, biking, snow shoeing, and cross country skiing here. This spring has been particularly intense for us. We have hiked here several times a week, watching the first round of wild flowers appear, peak, and slowly fade until next year. Our minds and memories have enjoyed wrapping around this nuanced and delicate beauty.
“If I could stop time and contemplate the true beauty of a given moment, my eyes would widen and my jaw would drop. (Wait, I can do that! That’s why I photograph!) ” Dewitt Jones
“The Presence of the Lord was at my side and I could live with trust, not fear, again.” Psalm 118:6, from Ancient Songs Sung Anew
“One thing we know for sure about our God: Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth. God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to live. Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.
“When that life was interrupted by our unwillingness to give our full yes to God’s love, God sent Jesus to be with us and to say that great yes in our name and thus restore us to eternal life. So let’s not be afraid of death. There is no cruel boss, vengeful enemy, or cruel tyrant waiting to destroy us – only a loving, always forgiving God, eager to welcome us home.” Henri Nouwen
Fall comes to a close in NE Oregon, from the Grande Ronde Valley to Wallowa Lake. Saturday was overcast, the type of day where normally I would not have gone out with my camera. But we had friends visiting from Hong Kong and we wanted to show them Wallowa Lake. As it turned out, the sky was filled with dramatically defined dark clouds and special subtle shades of light shone through.
“Attitude Adjustment, Joseph Oregon
Eggleson Corners, Wallowa County, Joseph Oregon
Minam Canyon, Wallowa County
Mt Emily, Grande Ronde Valley, Union County