Friday, July 28, 2017

A Few Hours In Paradise

Have I shared these pictures on my blog before or is it just deja vu? Maybe it's because I've been intending to write this post for so very long ...

Six years ago, we were living in California and on a trip up to Washington we visited Mt. Rainier. The area with the interpretive center--from which you can begin a very gentle hike through flowery mountain meadows, past pristine streams and waterfalls, all with a stunning view of the summit--is called Paradise, and on that day, it was living up to its name.

Wildflowers were blooming, the air was exquisitely fresh and sweet, it was the perfect temperature--just a shade cooler than warm, with a caressing breeze. It was like being inside of a Jehovah's Witness booklet, just minus the predatory animals snuggling with their natural prey. It was so utterly beautiful, so perfect ...

I've wanted for six years now to share this on my blog. And I've been thinking of this, remembering the experience for six years. But I never really knew what I wanted to say about it. Other than, OH MY GOSH IT WAS SO WONDERFUL. But I don't like to write (or speak) without having a definite purpose for doing so. And I really was at a loss to say what this experience meant.

But now ... I am reaching a point in my life where I'm learning the value of leaving things undefined. Of refraining from analysis. Or returning to such a place, perhaps. During my dark and painful years in college I found great solace in a book called The Cloud of Unknowing, which describes a mystic path to union with God which leads through a place of darkness--a place where the senses, the intellect and even the emotions are left behind and the naked soul reaches toward the Mystery that cannot be contained by any human definition ...

So ... anyway ... I don't know what it all means. But I wanted to share these pictures and to describe what they recall to my mind: an experience that is ultimately beyond description but which can be alluded to, and perhaps recognized by someone who has also spent a few hours--or even a moment--in Paradise.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

2016 Hattie Pictures

Happy New Year!
For our friends who don't use Facebook, here are some Hattie photo highlights of 2016. Enjoy! And I hope your

January 2016: Hattie joins the fine Pickering and Way family traditions of standing in front of the heater.

February 2016: enjoying Mama's birthday cake.

Playing in the sink: a favorite pastime.

Memorial Day at the local cemetery.

Father's Day hike.

On a roadtrip to a friend's wedding in Portland, Hattie meets Big Mac. "Mmmm! Yummy!"

Hattie flipped for summer foods: watermelon, corn on the cob, blackberries, and most of all, tomatoes and snap peas from Auntie Suzanne's garden.

Summer at the family's beach spot on the Snoqualmie River
Walking from the river back to the house, through the fields. What a summer!

Another favorite pastime--and a favorite series: Pete the Cat by James Dean.
The wind and falling leaves were exhilarating.

Don't be fooled by this pose: Hattie was happily wading and splashing in that cold, cold water just minutes before.

Hattie lends a hand a the family pumpkin patch.

We got Hattie a pumpkin costume to wear at the patch, but she screamed and screamed in it. So for Halloween I let her pick out a character hat and we did a simple Grover ...

Thanksgiving 2016: after dinner, napping while Mama watches Elf.

Decorating the tree as she does all things: thoughtfully, carefully.