Beauty Fully

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Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight. 

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Peaceful Sand Pond

This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.

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Mysterious Mill-Pond

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On our way back from Canada, we stopped at Snoqualmie Washington and went to this old mill-pond where I had taken a favorite photo before. It looked so different and mysterious on this cloudy day and I didn’t think the reflection was as good as the photo I had taken about three years prior. There is a certain stillness that fills this photo though and I’m glad we stopped and didn’t just disregard the moment. 

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Mysterious Old Mill Road

We returned the following day with the hope for a better reflection. The sun was out and shining but the reflection wasn’t nearly as good. It’s the same place only so very different from the previous day. Once again I took photos and found that quiet stillness in the mill-pond surroundings.

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Morning Old Mill Road

I like the first one best, well that, and the one I took three years ago. I’ve learned over time that I should always stop and try to capture what my mind is telling me is worthy of a picture. Life is a little that way too, I should always listen to my heart and move forward on those things I think I should pursue. As we age, we realize the importance in fully living each and every day.

Trestle Trekking

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While we were in Canada we decided to go for a bike ride on the Kettle Valley Railway Trestles. The view from there was magnificent and the story behind the bike/walking trail is a testimony to the goodwill that lives in so many of us.

There are eighteen trestles and two tunnels. In 2002 there was a lightning strike that started a huge wildfire. It damaged or destroyed sixteen of the eighteen trestles and you can see how large the fire was nearly every place that you go in and around Kelowna. I didn’t notice where the fire had been until I road across the trestles and became aware of the burnt tree stumps that still remain standing today. The Canadian people have lovingly rebuilt this lovely trail and these trestles. We were lucky enough to come upon it just before they stopped renting bikes for the season. It is a place where you want to linger and take in all the beauty that the hills and valleys have to offer. The fact that Fall was setting in only enhanced the beauty of the countryside. Should you ever venture to Kelowna British Columbia, please don’t miss the opportunity to ride along this mesmerizing trestle trail. 

Lovely Lake Okanagan

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Last week we took a trip to Lake Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada. We just happened to be there while the trees were turning golden. It was quiet and slow-paced, as the summer tourists had returned home. It was the perfect Fall vacation.

We were staying in Kelowna, near the Lakeshore Wine Route. We didn’t have a meal that wasn’t spectacular, the locals were friendly, and the weather was wonderful. This is a place I want to return to someday, perhaps at another time of the year so we can experience it during a different  season. We traveled there with friends, took in wineries, (accidentally) saw Will & Kate’s motorcade and Kate’s waving hand, sipped and painted on the deck, and played cards. We came back fully refreshed. I realized that you don’t have to go very far to find a place that rejuvenates you with its stunning silence and beauty. You just have to look and listen. 

Clever Critters

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I am constantly amazed at the critters that grace my yard. They work very hard for their tiny bits of food. I am also inspired nearly every day at the beauty of the flowers and the lift that their colors give my spirit. This begonia reminds me of Santa Cruz and the begonia gardens that were once there. I’m surprised that we are successful at growing them here. It’s hot during the summer but when we find them a little shade they come up and look as if they are hoping they can live in that exact spot forever.

This swallowtail spent nearly all of its time hanging upside down via those spindly legs. It looked perfect but was quite challenging to get a proper photo of. I think a photo of the butterfly hanging this way is appropriate because that was how it was moving about the garden. I always enjoy finding preying mantis in the garden. They look so fierce and annoyed when you find them. I often wonder if they realize how small they are. I suppose they are quite large compared to an aphid. Fall will be here shortly; I can feel it in the air. I suppose those clever critters can feel the season changing too. I’m so blessed they are here and still attracted to this yard.

 

 

Beautiful Bonita

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Clear Day on the Golden Gate Bridge

Clear Day on the Golden Gate Bridge

Last weekend, before the storm moved onto the land, we went into the bay area for a little distraction.  We had lunch at The Green’s on Fort Mason in San Francisco.  If you’ve never been; the food is always delicious, the view spectacular, and it is a peaceful place.

Point Bonita Lighthouse

Point Bonita Lighthouse

On the way back across the bay we decided to stop to see Point Bonita Lighthouse at The Marin Headlands.  We had tried once before but the tunnel that leads to the lighthouse was closed.  I had remembered it being open until 4:00.  We got there and the sign read; closed at 3:30.  We had fifteen minutes to reach the lighthouse and grab a couple of photos.

Watching the Waves

Watching the Waves

Off we went.  I was so happy that it was all downhill getting there.  It’s a magnificent place.  We must return on another beautiful day.  The five-minute tour is just not enough time to take it all in.  We took our time walking back up the hill, we met the lighthouse docents, and the view was amazing.

Bird Island

Bird Island

On the way to our Halloween engagement, we passed by the same area that I wrote about in my last blog.  This photo was taken from the other side of Hwy 37.  There were hundreds of tiny birds all resting and flocked together.  They looked like a little bird island in the water.  I need to return to this spot too, as I think a sunset here would be stunning.  I do so love California’s Waterways.

 

The Colors of Fall

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I’ve been looking at photos

In black and white.  

I know they are beautiful

but I really love the colors in life,

so I took this photo in black and white.

Black and White

Black and White

Then I added a little yellow,

Add a Little Yellow

Add a Little Yellow

and then I added red,

And a Dash of Red

And a Dash of Red

Until I came full circle

and took this shot instead.

The Splendid Colors of Fall

The Splendid Colors of Fall

These colors of the season are from my backyard.  I am so glad that I took the photo when I did because we’ve had wind and RAIN in California and most of my leaves are now covering the ground.  The colors of Fall always remind me that Spring is just around the corner.  Let yourself soak up those colors while they still hang on the trees.