One of the joys of being on the Oregon coast was the chance to explore tide pools. These were near our reunion gathering site, just south of Lincoln City. These photos were from the sunny afternoon low tide.
More patterns from the beach. Yesterday's were created by wind and wave, today's with a little help of creatures large and small. While these photos look sunny and peaceful, the wind was so strong that the top stone on the second cairn kept blowing off -- therefore the play with horizontal patterns of stones on a beached, bleached log.
We spent much of the past week on the Oregon coast, just south of Lincoln City and then near Newport. I have always been fascinated by the many faces of the beach and ocean, as the tide goes in and out and the weather swings from sunny to foggy. Here are some of the faces from these past days.
One of the delights of travel, besides getting out of a midwest heat wave and summer humidity, is the fun of being with friends and family in a new location, seeing sparks of light, life and imagination. Our first night in Seattle, David and Sarah took us down to the locks near David's apartment in Ballard, to watch the salmon. We weren't the only ones watching.
The energy of life -- salmon swimming upstream and over fish ladders, herons watching for their next meal or nesting in a nearby clump of trees, green leaves finding their way to the sunlight in the midst of all the concrete.
The next night the O'Leary family took us out for a picnic supper and a performance of Midsummer Night's Dream -- in the perfect location of a tree-filled park. We were early enough to set up in a nearly front row location. There were a few heads between us and the "stage" but it is amazing how your mind crops that out and you focus on the magic of the play -- the magic of Shakespeare's poetry brought to life in a fun-filled interpretation, of scenes of court and forest made vivid with a minimum of props, of a small cast of actors playing multiple roles and becoming completely different characters.
I've been musing on the fleeting beauty of the morning glories and day lilies in my garden -- each bloom in flower for less than a day, but more blooms there the next day, sometimes in rain and sometimes in sunlight. This passage from Discernment, a book gathered from writings by Henri Nouwen, edited by Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird, struck me as fitting well.
"The rain is a sign of God's blessing," said Abbot John Eudes in a talk on a special Sunday during the Eucharist at the Abbey of the Geness, when I was there on retreat years ago. What he said about God in creation gave me a fuller sense of how God is always present.
"The Hebrew word for 'good' and 'blessing' at times means rain," Father John explained. "God is not far from us that we should have to descend to the depths of the sea or ascend to the clouds to find him. God's presence is in the things that are closest to us, things that we touch and feel, that we move and live with day by day. While it is true that God is a hidden presence, we have only to let nature speak to us about the God who is everywhere."
"When I walk into a garden," he continued, "I can embrace the present moment by pondering a single flower. The more beautiful and effervescent the flower, the more elusive and fragile is its life. Beauty by its nature is fragile. Touch it too roughly and it's gone, grasp it too firmly and its petals fall away. It must be held onto lightly and gazed on attentively or it slips away. You cannot analyze it or pull it apart to see what it's made of or how it got there, if you want to experience the flower in the field. So too, are our lives. Concrete yet so elusive.For who can fully analyze our lives or understand their many ways? But we can taste and feel them in the moment and refuse to pull them apart like the petals of a flower." Father John Eudes was expressing what Julian of Norwich and others knew: that "everything has being through the love of God." Be it a small flower or a hazelnut or any other created thing, something of God can be found in it. p. 57
Coneflower, bee balm, daisies, foxglove, butterfly weed, grasses -- the summer prairie is at its most colorful. The bees and the finches are loving it, as am I.
"Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"
I've taken on a prayer practice of looking for the moments of light in each day, whether actual or metaphorical, and then writing or posting photos of what I find.