In addition to rocks and trees and water, the Japanese garden was full of rhododendrons -- I am fascinated by the shapes, the color variety, and the way they catch the light.
Our last full day in Seattle, we took my brother to the airport, with a stop at the Japanese garden in the Arborteum on the way. All the photos here include either koi or turtles. Can you spot them?
A few more photos from last weekend at Friedenswald, this time from the woods. So what is that wooly bear predicting about the length of the coming winter? (Presumably very little, since apparently the amount of brown is an indication of the caterpillar's age, so it says more about when the past winter ended then about the one coming up.)
And then there were the patterns of seeds and the glory of leaves in the sunlight, and the curlycues of leaf and vine, and the reflections of light cast by rippling water on a streambed near the fen.
Gray sky overhead, ebony water in the millrace, and muted bronzes, golds, reds, browns and grays all around, with the still water catching and holding reflections of the branches on the shore this November afternoon. And in a few spots, water and reeds holding the leaves themselves.
Every fall my congregation takes an annual retreat, spending the weekend at Camp Friedenswald in Michigan. Every year Steve Shantz introduces the children to the Survival Game, every year there's a talent show full of gifts of music and friendly chuckles, every year (if the weather cooperates) there's singing and a campfire at the Hollow. And every year -- if the weather cooperates -- I make a pilgrimage around to the spring on the other side of the lake.
It's a lovely hike through the woods, around to the spot where clear water comes bubbling up into a small sandy basin, less than a foot across, and then flows away towards the lake, turning the rocks a rusty color due to the high iron content in the water.
The camp has upgraded the steps down to the spring and added a bridge across the stream. Last Saturday afternoon several of us sat and chatted there, basking in the unusually warm weather and watching the spring bubble, and the sunlight scribbling mysterious messages on the water. We played too, making boats out of nutshells and sending them downstream, where they all promptly ran aground on mats of fallen leaves. There's a lot of water flowing though, so perhaps one day they'll make it to the lake and float off to unknown adventures.
To round out the record of our time in the Northwest, a few city sights. One sight we saw numerous times, thanks to the clear July weather, but which proved elusive for the camera, was a snow covered Mt Ranier.
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.
The pond at the Calendar Gardens is once again full of tadpoles and lilypads. I love the mix of sizes and shades of color on the lilypads -- and the challenge of frog spotting. If you look closely (especially if you're looking via a mobile device), you might be able to spot the frog in the photo above. The photo below is a close-up -- though he's still a bit tricky to spot.
And the water iris are in all stages of blooms....
Wednesday morning, that is, when the sun was out (this morning brought welcome rain). The redbud are at a prime pink blossom stage, with their heart-shaped leaves just beginning to open at the tips of the branches. New leaves filtering sunlight provide glimpses of lacy green on the shore and reflected in the water.
And I got to enjoy an encounter with a brood of ducklings. They hovered at the edge of the millrace briefly, perhaps hoping for a handout. Then the mother sailed away, and the ducklings turned on their turbo-jets to catch up with her.
I took the scenic route home, to check the fringe of redbud on the edge of Witmer Woods -- beautiful both close up and at a distance.
"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.