Here is an account from the journal of Narcissa Whitman, who crossed the Blue Mountains in late August, 1836. She and her husband, Marcus, established the Whitman Mission that fall in Walla Walla. They had left from Independence Missouri, and followed what became the Oregon Trail. She was the first white woman to come west in this fashion.
“After dinner we left the plain and ascended the Blue Mountains. Here a new and pleasing scene presented itself-mountains covered with timber, through which we rode all the afternoon; a very agreeable change. The scenery reminded me of the hills in my native country of Streuben.
August 29th. – Had a combination of the same scenery as yesterday afternoon. Rode over many logs and obstructions that we had not found since we left the states. Here I frequently met old acquaintances in the trees and flowers, and was not a little delighted; indeed, I do not know as I was ever so much affected with any scenery in my life. The singing of birds, the echo of voices of my fellow travelers, as they were scattered through the woods, all had a strong resemblance to bygone days. But this scenery was of short duration-only one day.
Before noon we began to descend one of the most terrible mountains for steepness and length I have yet seen. It was like winding stairs in its descent, and in some places almost perpendicular. The horses appeared to dread the hill as much as we did. They would turn and wind around in a zigzag manner all the way down. The men usually walked, but I could not get permission to, neither did I desire it much.”
Beloved Is Where We Begin
If you would enter
into the wilderness,
do not begin
without a blessing.
Do not leave
who you are:
named by the One
who has traveled this path
Do not go
without letting it echo
in your ears,
and if you find
it is hard
to let it into your heart,
do not despair.
That is what
this journey is for.
I cannot promise
this blessing will free you
from the scorching
or the fall
of the night.
But I can tell you
that on this path
there will be help.
I can tell you
that on this way
there will be rest.
I can tell you
that you will know
the strange graces
that come to our aid
only on a road
such as this,
that fly to meet us
that come alongside us
for no other cause
than to lean themselves
toward our ear
and with their
whisper our name:
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons
Troop 514 recently took its annual September backpacking, camping, rock climbing weekend. Eleven Scouts enjoyed their time camping at Hoffer Lake above Anthony Lake and then rock climbing higher up. We have been doing this event since the early eighties.
We set up our tents in the rain. When the clouds cleared in the evening, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset that reflected in Hoffer Lake.
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
When the sun is shining and the air is still, nothing is more beautiful, inviting, and invigorating than a winter day in the outdoors!
Rock Creek road Union County
I enjoyed a Friday overnight stay at our shared cabin at Wallowa Lake in NE Oregon. Kokanee, a landlocked salmon, are running in the Wallowa River above the lake. Their redish colors are mirrored in the beaufiful fall maple leaves in downtown Joseph. The air was fresh and clear early Saturday morning, a great befinning of the fall.
Wallowa Lake, NE Oregon
Wallowa Lake and Bonneville Peak
Teasel and spider web
Kokanee in the Wallowa River
Chief Joseph Mt above Joseph, Wallowa County
Downtown Joseph, Wallowa County
Kokanee sculpture in downtown Joseph
As the winds of the political environment pull us back and forth, Henri nouwen provides some wise words.
“How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions? How can we “keep it together” when we are constantly torn apart?
“Jesus says: “Not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives” (Luke 21:18-19). We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together. We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord. To say it differently: When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.” Henri Nouwen
I am trying something different with my post this week. With the help of a group of local university students who have formed their own web based services, I developed a video setting my pictures to flow through the great old hymn, “How Great Thou Art.”
So, the link is set out below. You can also view it on my new Face Book site, “Praise Photography,” which Miranda, from this web group, is setting up for me. Enjoy.
Last fall, I enjoyed the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Dr Peter Wordelman at Eastern Oregon University and the Chamber Choir he teaches. Peter is a master teacher who brings in talented students and stimulates them to do pieces they never thought possible.
This piece, “Alleluia,” was composed by Eric Whitacre who grew up in Australia, and now resides in both Great Britain and the US. The images take you through the seasons of eastern Oregon.I greatly enjoyed the synthesis of the vocal and the visual. Here is the link to the You Tube piece.