Monthly Archives: October 2016



Lee Vining, CA

Aspens do look ghostly as their white bark gleams in the forest. I welcome their mysterious presence. Because, I ask you, why is their bark white when the bark of other trees is dark? Why the smooth, and sometimes peeling bark of an aspen versus the deeply ridged and textured bark of another species? As Rilke said, “Learn to love the questions.” One of the great gifts of nature is what we don’t know, and the state of wonder such questions engender.



Bend, OR

Native Americans summons the Four Directions. Certain Eastern religions call upon the Guardians from up to nine directions. “When taking a photo,” a wise photographer told me, “Snap the picture and turn to look in the opposite direction. The better photo may be there.” Looking down, I have found the grasses glowing. Looking up, I have found the branches stirring. As you walk, be surrounded.



Snake River, ID

Ducks sit so buoyantly upon the water and move so silently, yet leave a persistent wake. Passage splits the water, cleaves the air. New paths form. All is motion around us. We are motion. How odd it is that we perceive ourselves as stationary.


“Pathos of Things”


Walla Walla, WA

I recently became acquainted with the luminous work of Jacob Hashimoto, whose “tailless kite” assemblages have graced Whitman College in Walla Walla. The exhibition catalog references the Japanese philosophy of mono no aware, the “pathos of things.” In nature, wind-tossed tumbleweeds speak to me of the same “impermanence, (where) things and objects have a life of their own, a finite existence that is at once sad, but transcendently beautiful.”



Columbia Plateau, WA

The lexicon of Nature is large and varied…grand, awe-inspiring, monumental…to name a few, but I lean to more humble descriptors. A quote from Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire comes to mind:  “…life not crowded on life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity.” It is the space of the West, as much as the actual substance that swells the heart.