After living without a dog for six years, Meg and I recognized it was time to invest love and time in a dog again. So in late August, we bought a mini Aussie shepherd. Leif is a delightful creature, full of love, energy, and intelligence. Winter hiking and snowshoeing with him in the Mt Emily Recreation Area and the Meacham Divide have been filled with his joyful exuberance for snow travel! And many of these times Meg and I enjoyed the added pleasure of having son Michael and his dogs with us.
If the snow is the right temperature and consistency, Leif acquires snow balls on his fur.
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
A short ten minute drive from home takes one to the Mt Emily Recreation Area (MERA). Mt Emily creates an iconic profile as it rises above La Grande. The MERA offers excellent recreation opportunities year around. In fact, if you go to the previous post, you will see Meg on a billboard in which she is hiking in spring in this Mt Emily Recreation Area.
As the fall colors fade in La Grande, as leaves fill yards and streets, the western larch (tamarack) are just beginning to radiate color. These trees are deciduous conifers that shed their needles after a late fall golden display. In the springtime, the fresh needles are a bright pale green, offering a totally different sheen. The grow straight and tall, like candles, up to a height of one hundred and eighty feet. I love to wander in and around them in the Mt Emily Recreation Area, as the bright sunlight bounces off their needles.
Were we really created to be “happy” all the time? I find I often blind myself to God’s reality if I get down or depressed when I feel “my” needs are not being met.
“There is a hard truth to be told: before spring becomes beautiful, it is plug ugly, nothing but mud and muck. I have walked in the early spring through fields that will suck your boots off, a world so wet and woeful it makes you yearn for the return of ice. But in that muddy mess, the conditions for rebirth are being created.” Parker Palmer
As I read Psalm 25, I am taken by its timelessness. The ancient psalm writer certainly could not have imagined the world, the readers, of the 21st century. Yet here we are, once again reminded that God is timeless and eternal, breathing deeply the meaning of this Psalm in our everyday lives.
O Lord, I give my life to you. 2 I trust in you, my God!
Grande Ronde Valley
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Mt Emily Recreation Area
Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past.
MERA, La Grande
Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.
Sunday evening, Meg and I were blessed to be in a location where we could observe the best sunset we have seen, outside of the Bay of Plenty, North Island, N (how is that for name dropping 🙂 The sky surrounding the Grande Ronde Valley was a wrap around of developing color in full 360 degree grandeur. Frankly, it surpassed anything we can expect on the Fourth of July.
As he so often does, Henri Nouwen provides a challenging, practical way to live.
“Compassion, to be with others when and where they suffer and to willingly enter into a fellowship of the weak, is God’s way to justice and peace among people. Is this possible? Yes, it is, but only when we dare to live with the radical faith that we don’t have to compete for love, but that love is freely given to us by the One who calls us to compassion.”
As I endure this political season with so much clanging noise/anger, so much talk and so little substance, I realize how easy it is to be distracted from Christ’s reminder that “what you to do to the least of mine, you do it to me.” Our response to His unqualified love must be to use our own hands and time serving others, not letting someone else do it for us.