Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Heavenly Canopy

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
Isaiah 40:22
(The Message)

I have put my words in your mouth
and hidden you safely in my hand.
I stretched out the sky like a canopy
and laid the foundations of the earth.
I am the one who says. .
‘You are my people!’
Isaiah 51:16
(Contemporary English Version)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Song Goes On!

A few weeks ago I asked for help with a problem I couldn't figure out. The source for music on my blog had gone offline. No longer available. Since I'm a musician it didn't seem right that I should have a blog that is silent! I asked for your help. And you came through. I tried many things and finally - today - I tried one more suggestion. Donna D suggested that I might try setting up a separate email address since Playlists was telling me my email address was already in use. I set up a new email addy and - viola! - suddenly I was in. Playlist likes me! I have music again. I'm so happy. Thank you to each of you who suggested ways to solve the problem. Next time I have a problem - with anything I can't work through by myself - you will be the first ones I ask for help. In the meantime, enjoy the music. I know I will!

Paintbrush In The Sky

Last weekend, while my sweetheart and I camped and fished at a nearby lake, it seemed that we were on the top of the world.The sky seemed to stretch forever. The cloud formations changed constantly. I didn't want to miss even one.As a result, I did a lot of cloud-watching. Nothing new for me. Just more to watch.One evening we watched as God painted the sky near the end of the day. It started with the sun shining on some of the clouds above the west end of the lake. As one end of the lake began to darken the other end was still bathed in sunlight. It began slowly. Ever to slowly. First, a soft peachy-orange color. Then more color. Deeper. Darker.

Pink. Deep pink.Filling the sky with color. Reflected by the lake below.And then it was nearly gone.Soon to be a memory.Through the trees - evidence that it had moved on. For someone else to see. And enjoy.

There will more sunsets. We will watch in amazement. But there will never be a sunset quite like the one at the lake. God's handiwork. In our hearts forever.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Seen On A Mountain

If you have been reading my blog over the past year you may remember that we live quite close to my favorite mountain. Mt. Hood has been a landmark in our area for many generations. Seen for many miles around. She is a beauty that gets our attention year-round. Last year we made two trips up the mountain with out-of-state family. You can read about those adventures here and here. The lake where my sweetheart and I camped and fished last weekend was on the side of Mt. Hood. Mid-day on Sunday we drove up the mountain once again to visit Timberline Lodge.This historic lodge has captured my imagination and I couldn't wait to return again. I have never visited the lodge during the winter months. Normally, by this time of year, the snow levels would be low and the mountain around the lodge would be covered with far less snow than this year. This has been an incredible winter for Pacific Northwest ski resorts. Just a few weeks ago the mountain was totally covered by a thick blanket of snow. No rock formations were visible. Everything was pristine white. Over the past few weeks the snow has begun to melt. The face of the mountain changes daily.

The parking lot was full of buses, vans, cars and trucks. Filled with skiers and snowboarders. Some were part of summer ski camps and lessons. Others were just on the mountain for a fun day on the snowy slopes. Some of them skied off the mountain right at the edge of the parking lot. I was amazed by the amount of snow that still covered most of the ground around the lodge. Near the front entrance we watched the Sno-Cat scoot across the top of the snow, stop and deliver a few people from somewhere up the mountain. Like a snow shuttle. On one side of the steps to the front entrance the snow drifts were still piled up to the second story windows! (The windows you see above the snow are on the third floor!)

This snowdrift blocked one set of steps to the second floor balcony.

As we approached the front steps we saw this tiny skier. Waiting. Not looking at anyone. Just waiting. Not moving. Just waiting. I wondered if her mother had told her to sit there. Don't move. Stay here. And don't talk to strangers. She didn't! The second story balcony offers incredible views of surrounding mountains on a clear day. Flags from several countries add color as they fly above the lodge.

As soon as I stepped onto the balcony I saw this huge drift of snow. It was the top of the snowdrift we had seen from below. Right up to the lodge windows. The reason the steps on that side are closed. The snow is melting but it was obvious that some second-story windows had been blocked by snow through the winter.

The door from the balcony into the lodge intrigued me. What a masterpiece. Handmade many years ago. Up close you see the detail. On the door knocker. . . And on the handle. Once inside I headed for the big window on the second floor. Overlooking the mountain. With a stone courtyard below. A favorite place of mine. Last year we stood at this window and watched preparations for a wedding below. No wedding this time. Snow all the way from the mountain to the lodge. No courtyard in sight! A few minutes later we found an unlocked door onto a side courtyard where I could get a better view of the big window and back courtyard area now covered by snow. (The pole in the snow marks the edge for skiers.) High above, the peak of the lodge is free of snow. Finally. Nearby, the entrance to a wonderful trail on the mountain. Anyone care to hike today? Back in the lodge we enjoyed little details we had missed on previous trips. Even the door to the elevator shows the beauty and craftsmanship of artists long ago. The elevator was part of the original construction. Included for President Franklin Roosevelt who travelled to Oregon to dedicate the lodge. After time in the lodge we crossed the upper parking lot to a newer building that contains various services for skiers and tourists. And a wonderful gift shop. While we waited for the elevator to take us down three floors to the lower parking lot area I turned around and saw the top of the mountain. Framed by concrete! A few minutes later, as we drove down the mountain, we came to a viewpoint with a breathtaking view. Many miles away Mt. Jefferson stood like a sentinel in another part of the Oregon Cascades. I was thrilled to get this picture. As I turned around to return to the truck I looked up. There she was. My mountain! One last look before we reached the highway far below. Along the road to the base of the mountain we saw several waterfalls. Created by the snow melt. Each one was beautiful. Then we found this one. The biggest. Right by the road. We had to stop.The water runs under the road and out the other side, forming a wonderful stream. When we stopped a father and his children were beside the stream. One of the boys came over to tell us that the water was VERY good! I'm sure it was. Fresh.running.mountain water. Nothing like it. The time we spent together on the mountain was special. We will return again. Perhaps in winter. When snow covers everything on the mountain and far below. Until then we will enjoy this special place each time we see the mountain from around our community. We will appreciate her beauty, remember times spent there. And dream. And return. Again and again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fish Tales

My sweetheart and I returned home last evening after a few wonderful days away. We weren't ready to come back yet but we knew we couldn't stay. We left home and drove a bit more than an hour through woods that were filled with the most gorgeous wild, pink Rhododendrons. More than I had ever seen.It wasn't long before Mt. Hood came into view. Around another bend we could see more. The highway continued to climb up the side of the mountain. Higher and higher. Just over the crest of the mountain, a bit more than 4000 feet in altitude, a sign directed us to turn off the main highway toward the lake. A few weeks ago the roads to the lake were closed by snow. The deepest snow for many years. Most of the snow around the lake was gone but there were some places by the road and under the trees where it had not melted yet. The road twisted and turned through beautiful forest land until suddenly the lake was in view through the trees. A ways farther and we had arrived at our destination. The campsite with the best view was empty! While my sweetheart got our travel trailer situated I wandered to the water's edge with camera in hand. A boat rested at water's edge nearby, part of the view from our site.Looking the other direction I saw some of our neighbors. Working hard. Catching fish. It wasn't long before my sweetheart put his new-to-him little boat in the water and began to get ready to catch fish. I could see him from the front window of the trailer. Looking out the side window of the trailer I could see more of the lake through the trees.We felt we were on top of the world. I loved watching the constantly-changing cloud formations in the sky. It wasn't long before evening began to settle over the lake on the mountain. Boats were docked at the edge of the water, campfires were lit and the world around us was quiet. Very quiet. Except for millions of bullfrogs singing their night-time songs.Very early yesterday morning my sweetheart went out on the lake again. I stayed at camp. Not long after he left I opened the shades in the trailer to let the sunshine in. What I saw took my breath away. I quickly slipped into my shoes, grabbed the camera and headed for the water's edge. Early morning on the lake was like magic. And my sweetheart was right in the middle of it! Later, after a nice breakfast together, he took the boat out for one last time. A farewell wave and he was soon out of sight.I did get my fishing license and I went out in the boat just one time. Before we were away from shore, while my sweetheart put bait on his line, I was intrigued by the way the sunshine danced on the water. (You can see a bit of my line on the left.)A few minutes later we were away from the water's edge and headed out to find the perfect fishing spot. Where the fishing was good and the fish were big. The view from the boat was breathtaking. The weather was perfect, the fishing was good and we were alone together. On top of the world.