Walkabout Wednesday – Westfir Oregon and some Public Art

Western Tiger Swallowtail on a HUGE buddelia

We quickly acclimated ourselves to the local flora and fauna and spent many days watching the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies cavort among the profuse blossoms of the biggest buddleia (butterfly bush) I have ever seen .

Look at those pinecones

We enjoyed some meals at an adorable little cafe which was about the only restaurant in town that was open for dine-in. Friendly staff and good food. I adore the hand painted mural on the concrete walls and check out the size of those pinecones!

More than a mouthful

The lumber country feel of the place was both fun and soothing. This hand-made wood sign would have been perfectly at home hanging over a camp cook’s stove.

More mural art

More of the forest mural on the concrete block walls.

Chambers Railroad Bridge

While driving here and there, we stopped at some of the covered bridges. The Chambers Railroad Bridge is the only remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. It was constructed in 1925 by lumberman J.H. Chambers to transport logs across the Coast Fork Willamette River. In the 1950s, the railroad was sold and the bridge, no longer in use, it began to decay. By 2006, the bridge had experienced significant structural damage

The City of Cottage Grove raised grants, awards, and funds from many sources to repair and refurbish the once grand bridge. The bridge was dismantled, rebuilt, and restored on-site; and in November 2011, it reopened. Original material was reused when feasible and the rebuilding was done as historically accurate as possible. Interpretive panels were installed along with iron artwork depicting the steam engines that once passed through. Today, this former “bridge to nowhere” in the middle of Cottage Grove, Oregon, is a beautiful tribute to the past, a historical triumph, and a proud testament to the power of hard work and imagination.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC this week do come on over and see some great art.

Til next time ~Not All Who Wander Are Lost ~JP

Wednesday Walkabout – St. George Utah Pioneer Square

Ahhhh I have a computer … FINALLY so I thought we’d go walkabout in St. George, UT and see what we can find for Marsha’s PPAC along the way. Last summer was a crazy kind of blur running from every disaster known to man, crowds, fires, air quality (or lack there of), hail storms, you name it. During the mad dash across the west, we spent some time in St. George, UT when a blown wheel bearing caused some rescheduling. Never one to shirk from the unexpected day trip, we set off on an adventure while the cheese-mobile was in the shop. We stopped at “Pioneer Square” in downtown St. George to visit some museums and other artsy spots

Sushi at Pioneer Square

First Stop was lunch at Benja Thai & Sushi. Good food and cool inside. With temps over 110° f, this was a major consideration. We lingered over cold noodle bowls, sushi and iced green tea for as long as we could ;-).

Landscape Art

Venturing into the heat of the afternoon and came upon a nifty little water feature which provided a natural cooling ambiance. Water features are works of art in the desert as humans endeavor to make the stark landscape more palatable. The heat quickly overcame us though so we headed back indoors to find the aforementioned museums and art galleries.

A welcome cool-down spot

Regrettably, all museums and galleries within our walking distance (albeit very short distance in the heat), were closed due to pandemic concerns. Southern Utah got hit pretty hard and “elective” services were few and far between. Our driver told us that several restaurants and other entertainment venues remained closed through summer 2021. We quickly became seriously overheated and so very happy to come across this lovely little cafe. I love the graphics on the sign, as well as the name of the place and the greenery along the building.

Chalkboard Art – and beignets

I just adore chalkboard art. The graphics and colors for some reason just call to me. I may have to do a spread on chalkboard art. Not to mention that iced coffee and a lovely little treat was just the restorative I needed. The beignets looked lovely but in that kind of heat, fried food is just not for me so I opted for a beautiful little fruit tart and a half-sweet iced chai. Yummmm….

vintage looking tile mosaic

This vintage-looking floor mosaic really captured my attention. I love tile floors for their vintage feel and the sheer artistry involved in making them. Alas, this was about all the art we found with the galleries either closed or beyond my walking distance.

hotel room view – smoke haze in the distance

Time to pick up the car and head to a local hotel for the next couple of days. This is the view off of our room’s balcony. If you can look beyond the traffic and signs the mountains are really beautiful. The skies were filled with haze from distant fires filtering south. No matter where we went, pervasive smoke drove us ever on.

Dino art

And so, the next morning we headed out to the local grocery for supplies. I was delighted by this lobby display of the local velociraptor guarding the chips. There are several dinosaur track attractions nearby featuring velociraptor tracks and I do adore all things Dino. 😉

That’s all from Castle Serenity for today. Til next time remember, there is beauty everywhere if you look for it. If you can’t see it, look again. And if you still can’t see it, look harder. ~JP

Sunday Stills and Monday Musings

For Terri’s Sunday Stills Challenge (a bit late)

It’s been a crazy weekend (hence my tardiness) of gardening. Almost have the backyard finished. Ah but JP you say, you live in a townhouse, don’t they take care of the landscape maintenance? Sort of, we have three feet in each direction of our townhomes that are ours to plant as we please (as long as it’s attractive). We moved in in November so I knew there would be work to be done this spring and I was NOT wrong. OK, enough about me, on to photos.

Most of these are from my archives that I thought “black and whited” up pretty well. To quote the song Black and White, “The ink is black, the page is white, together we learn, to read and write.” Black and White was originally written in 1954 by David I. Arkin and Earl Robinson, but topped the charts some 18 years later in 1972 with Three Dog Night’s pop version.

Sunrise on Kauai in black and white

Let’s start off in the land of vibrant color, Hawaii. Here a stunning sunrise on Kauai leached of color. The curls of waves and sea foam give the shot some depth.

Mokolii, Hawaii

Mokolii tiny island of Oahu also known as Chinaman’s Hat for it’s distinctive shape. I like the “old timey” quality the black and white here. Taken from Kualoa Ranch.

Plumeria in Kapaa

This is one shot I didn’t really like as well in black and white. The plumeria is such a beautiful, vibrant flower and although I do quite like the shading caused by the nearly translucent white of the flower, it leaves me kind of eh. Shot from our balcony in Kapaa. Linking this one up for Cee’s FOTD.

Traditional pavilion in Lulin Lake, Mt. Lushan, China

Now on over to Jiujiang, China. Thanks to the foggy day, the above photo didn’t have a great deal of color to begin with, but I think the starkness afforded by the black and white graphic enhances it a bit more. It was windy and I love the tiny ripple effect on the water.

Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Back in the US, here a set of ruins known as Spruce Tree House built by the Anasazi some 800 years ago. The settlement was abandoned about 1300, there is much speculation as to why. Nevertheless, the ancient ones left behind a marvelous legacy of wonder. The ruins were discovered in the 1880’s and plundered until Mesa Verde became a national park in 1906. Once again, I like the stark graphic black and white gives this shot.

Bad Water Basin, Death Valley National Park California

And last, but not least, a shot that’s not black and white but might as well be. I left this photo as is to show the sliver of blue sky that draws just that much more attention to the desolation of the place. Bad Water Basin Salt Flats lies 282 feet below sea level and encompasses 200 square miles.

Black is the absence of color,
combination of all makes white
life is lived somewhere in between
filled with color and light ~JP

My father was color-blind, I used to fetch resistors him which were color-coded, ahhhh but I digress once again, a tale for another time.

a hui hou kakou (until we meet again) ~JP

Something Wild — PPAC # 36 and Weekend Coffee Share

Shared with Marsha’s PPAC#36 at alwayswrite Wild Animals in Public, I can do that! Let’s dig into the archives and see what kind of public art I can come up with.

The extinct Moa bird in Queenstown, NZ

Greetings at TaoYuan Airport, Taipei Taiwan

Wood carving from Deadwood, South Dakota

Dragon waterspout at Kurama-dera Kyoto Japan

Tribute to the Omarama Rams and their beautiful merino wool.

Also shared at Natalie the Explorer’s weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee this weekend, I’d tell you that it feels kind of odd to not be traveling. It’s been years since I’ve done much international travel. I’m making the transition from “world wanderer” to “retirement living” it’s wonderfully relaxing, albiet sometimes a little on the tame side. But I’ve taken up new activities including new on-line classes and art projects, reviving my yoga practice. I’d ask about your world and what’s new in the blogosphere. 🙂

til next time ~Peace ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities Episode 3 — Summer Spoons

Buddleia gone wild

In the early morning I step outside. The air is already heavy with heat. Summer is in full swing. Blackberries and blueberries hang gravid with sweet juice, begging for harvest. Yellow squash and bright red tomatoes peek through verdant leaves. Wild roses are faded and dry in the heat while marigolds and buddleia proliferate wildly much to the delight of the cavorting swallowtails. All the sweet abundance of Summer.

But with the sweet, comes the bitter. Sweltering heat brings fatigue, enough to crush the body and soul. Discontent and maudlin anxiety taunt me with reminders of all I can no longer do. I step outside into the heat of afternoon and see the dull haze, the bane of forest dwellers everywhere, wild fires. It is hard to breathe through the acrid smell that fills the valley. There will be no evening stroll along the river tonight.

This is deep summer for a Spoonie. Equal portions of bitter and sweet, joy and sorrow. I cannot change the heat, the fatigue, or the fires. All I can change is how I react to it. So for today, and probably tomorrow, I will stay sequestered indoors with windows closed and A/C on until the smoke passes. I will read, and write, craft, and rest. And I will be grateful for the precious, magical moments of my life. I missed so many moments, days frittered away in anger and impatience, back before I knew that life is lived in those tiny moments of grace, filled with joy and laughter, and strung carefully together into the journey of a lifetime.

In a few days we venture on to our next destination but for now it is enough to know that we are still relatively safe from the distant fires, my health will return, and the berries will make an excellent topping for shortcakes.

Abundance of blackberries

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 — Spoonie Travel in a Pandemic World

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.

After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.

Butterfly on a purple coneflower bids me farewell in South Dakota

We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.

Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).

Independence Rock — along the Oregon Trail — Alcova, WY

We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.

The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.

Penny Wall, Mountain Home, Idaho

Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.

Hand Mural – Penny Alley — Mountain Home, Idaho

For now, if we were having coffee at the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d tell you that our travels have been full of tiny steps and beautiful moments, and some fairly huge stumbling blocks as well. I’d remind you that you have but to open your eyes to see the beauty around you, and “those who do not believe in magic will never find it.”

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Silence

Silence

The discordant drone of cicadas

like the raspy buzz of high power lines

cars and trucks in monotonous whine

hustle and bustle of coming and going

my sense assaulted by tuneless song

jarring cacophany endless throng

I close my eyes to inner guidance

standing on the ragged edge

praying for a single moment

of silence

We arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio a few weeks ago. Oh lucky me, just in time for the cicada apocalypse. The 17-year cicadas emerged, there were billions of them, everywhere. Yes, at least one got caught in my hair …. eeeeeeekkkkk! (why yes, I do scream and dance around like a little girl). What bothered me the most was the constant noise of the beasties. I also recently read “The Ragged Edge of Silence” by John Francis, so I was more and more shocked at how much “noise” occupies my world and how I yearn for a single silent moment.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild (quiet but wild)

Sunday Stills – Outdoor Life in Balance

For Sunday Stills where we are celebrating “great outdoors month”

For me, like a lot of spoonies, the “great outdoors” is all about finding balance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, balance comes from being in sync with nature, and from being in balance within ourselves.


Rock cairns, large and small decorate the banks of the Virgin River near the Narrows hike. After a flood deposited thousands of rocks and stones along the riverside walk in Zion National Park, human creativity balanced with nature.

“Into the forest I must go. To lose my mind and find my soul.” ~ John Muir

Here, the end of the trail for us in Redwoods National Park. The trail went much deeper into the forest but this was as far as we got, and that’s OK. Spoonies have to balance the desire to trek off deep into the woods leaving the world and it’s noise behind, with the need for caution. Getting to the end of a trail and discovering awe inspiring fairy glens and primordial glades is wonderful. Fatigue induced exhaustion that causes you to faint, not so much.

The Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto, Japan. The cherry tree lined path that follows a small canal from Ginkaku-ji to Nanzen-ji reminds me that the great outdoors is always there, just a step away from my door. Sight-seeing can be taxing on a spoonie and the days of rugged outdoor hikes must be balanced with relaxing strolls and stargazing.

I’ll never lose my need for the great outdoors, and I treasure every moment, the exciting ones and the sedate ones. Sitting on the beach on Kauai surrounded by dark and light, sea and sand, I breathe in the tang of salt air and I am at peace.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller

Of course, there are also wonders to be found just off the beaten path that make my little spoonie heart soar. During a drive on South Island, NZ we saw an interesting angle of the bay and decided to stop. A short walk from the pull off we were greeted by magical sandstone cathedral spires. We never would have noticed them if we hadn’t listened to that small still voice that whispers “take a look.”

Meanwhile, half-way across the planet, more hoodoos (sandstone spires) dance in gay perfusion in Bryce National Park, Utah. I have walked so many trails in so many places, always, always looking for balance, the synchronicity of nature and balance within myself. Many of the trails have been half-way trips. When he sees my strength beginning to fade, Superhubs will gently remind me “we still have to walk back.” Ahhh yes, the walk back, more adventure. The journey, after all, is the worthier part of the trip.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – a Midsummer Dream

For Sunday stills, sunrise, sunset

“I have seen so many sunrises,” he said “each one glorious with the promise of the new day to come. Mine to shape and mold as I will. And sunsets, the sky refracting back to my meager eyes to joy of the day that has passed. I have watched the stars burst through the dark sky like a million flaming diamonds. Yet none of it prepared me for the explosion of celestial light within your eyes the first time I saw you smile.” ~Gwren

This week marked the Summer Solstice which we celebrated with a family gathering and feast on the BBQ. Surrounded by brothers, sisters, children, and grand-children. It was lovely. This shot of Stonehenge was taken in the spring but to me Stonehenge will always hold a special place in my Litha celebrations. Accordingly, I watch the sunrise over Stonehenge on youtube (I’m such a rebel).

 

Sunrise over the ocean on Kauai. This is one of my favorite shots for summer even though it wasn’t summer when I took the picture. The golden sky and reflection on the ocean just speaks to me of the power of the sun.

Another of those golden sunrises, I adore the flame red of the sun’s reflection on the water.

Sunset in Virgin, UT one wonderful solstice. Striking sunsets are rare in the desert, as are the clouds that create the textured feel of the picture.

Chimney Rock, Nebraska at dusk. Located at the “south edge of the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock is a natural geologic formation, a remnant of the erosion of the bluffs at the edge of the North Platte Valley. A slender spire rises 325 feet from a conical base. The imposing formation, composed of layers of volcanic ash and brule clay dating back to the Oligocene Age (34 million to 23 million years ago), towers 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley.” source

And finally, sunset at 30,000 ft. over Kentucky. From my seat on the plane as we approached Cincinnati on our recent trip. A wonderful way to start a trip.

That’s about it from here at Chez Spoons, have a great and safe week mes amies.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP