Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Few Morning Thoughts

The ground outside my studio window is once again bitten by frost, and yesterday it snowed. . . again! Unseasonably cold temperatures and crazy-kind of weather for this time of year, we are puzzled as to what tomorrow shall offer, but readily accept it.

Recently discovered are writings by Kent Thune ( which motivated me to write the following with regard to the present moment.

"Besides Yoga, that which brings me to the moment is our garden. Whether on hands and knees, weeding, cutting back the dried seed heads which have fed the birds throughout the winter, adding a new plant to the flower beds or merely walking and observing, we truly experience life in its finest form. The warming moist soil yields an emergence of fresh green; petals of the Magnolia stellata now begin to unfold and with it brings forth a fragrance that fills the space around us; two turkeys comment to one another as they walk up and down the fence line, one on the outside, and the other in, until she finally relents and joins him; the earthworm aerates the soil adjacent to the snow pea seeds being planted; hummingbirds hasten return with velocity; and for a moment I take a deep breath and close my eyes as the sun appears and it warms my face."

Hmm. . . Do you think we are ready for our time in the garden?

Later in the morning as we drove down the hill toward town a few others were contemplating and demonstrating what spring has brought.

We hope your day is filled with life and the present moment.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nip It In The Bud

We awoke this morning to snow, and cannot recall a time in the last 15 years as now: most mornings for the past several weeks have revealed freezing overnight temperature and a frost covered ground. . . quite late in the season for that.

As a reference, this time last year our 'P.J.' Rhododendron was in full bloom, as was the 'Yoshino' cherry and ground phlox. The Magnolia stellata has unfolded only a few of her blossoms and wisely so. Many of the trees are saying 'no way' as they await the warmth of the sun.

The sun strokes it magic and soon the frozen pebbled surface will warm the soil beneath, and the snow will be gone before the day is out.

As we speak to friends and relatives across the country, the reaction is similar. . . 'we don't remember a winter like this'.

Hmm. . . must be global warming.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Don't Take It for Granted

I beg your indulgence as I get on my soap box for just a bit this morning, clearly the fault of our good friend Joan.

She called yesterday afternoon as she and husband Aaron were traveling north and homing in following their three month sojourn in Mexico, a trip they make each year as the rains of the Pacific northwest persist.

"Hello friend!", she said. "We come back from three months of sunshine into rain!"

We laughed and talked briefly of the fun they had, the unexpected brake problem while being south of the border, our experience when we returned home from Florida at the end of January and which I wrote about on this blog, and the status and current maintenance of our gardens. Of course we must speak of the garden!

Somewhere amidst all of that she said, "We crossed the border into the U.S., and I cried."

"You cried because you didn't want to leave or because you were happy to be back?" I asked.

"Oh! Happy to be back!"

Truer words cannot be spoken, as it brought me to the very first time I traveled outside our country to Europe, a wonderful education and truly remarkable experience to see how another part of the world lived. For that I was thankful, but as I passed through customs and was welcomed back into the United States of America, finding the appropriate words to describe an overwhelming emotion does not come easily, only felt. I wanted to kiss the soil upon which we walked.

With any subsequent travel to Mexico and Europe and return, that feeling of gratefulness is always there. How fortunate we are to live in this country, be who we are and fought so hard to achieve. How critical it is for us to preserve and not relinquish that which we have accomplished!

This article by Craig R. Smith is worthy of your time.

And another you might enjoy:

Here is a wish: that any person who has never traveled outside the U.S., has an opportunity to do so in order to experience that there exists something outside ourselves. . . to see what they have or do not. . . understand the hardship and lifestyle of others. . . attempt to recognize those things about which they are grateful or have concern. . . and have a basis for comparison.

I do believe it is the responsibility of each of us - to understand - and not take for granted just how blessed we are.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Our trip each year to California wine country is always filled with discovery, new wineries and their products, but we have not searched out the Pacific Northwest to any great extent. So when we saw that the McMinnville Wine and Food Classic was being held, we decided to be good consumers and contribute to a few small businesses in Oregon. We also anticipated having fun.

It was a 3-day affair with numerous wineries and food vendors, very pleasing live music entertainment, and a few chef demonstrations. How convenient to experience many in one location, and remarkable that it was held at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. Admission helped both the museum and the local Rotary organization, and phenomenal for us was to see this assortment of aircraft. We had never been there, and what a remarkable place it is!

This Douglas C-47 took part in 1944 D-Day, dropping paratroopers over Normandy, France.

And here was a MiG-15.

Inside, we were now at the home of the Spruce Goose!

Howard Hughes partnered with Henry Kaiser to build a fleet of flying transports to safely move troops and materials across the Atlantic during the war. Unfortunately, after 5 prolonged years, an $18,000,000 government contract, and $7,000,000 million of Howard Hughes personal money, Hughes finally flew the plane, one time. . . November 2, 1947. A fascinating story to read. . . (

We were permitted to enter the belly and view the open cargo area, but in order to see the flight deck, a $50 per person contribution was required. Perhaps another time. . . the wine tasting awaits.

Underneath the wing of the Spruce Goose is the aircraft B-71.

A fun event in spacious surroundings, and yes, we did buy some very nice wines from a few of the boutique wineries, an assortment for future enjoyment, and late afternoon and early evening Friday proved sufficient. Our intention is to return to the area and explore other wineries as Oregon is becoming well known for wonderful wines, especially for its Pinot Noir. We see many more finds awaiting us in and around McMinnville.

And the museum will also see us again. So much to see, and we didn't scratch the surface of the museum, the grounds and the other outlying buildings, including an IMAX theatre.

An amazing place! We recommend it. (this photo courtesy of Don Arner)