Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rattlesnake Mountain in the winter

I hiked part of the Rattlesnake Mountain trail today. I started from the Snoqualmie Point. It was a bit icy but beautiful. I don't have much to say, but I wanted to share the beauty...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I've been telling myself I'd write about the big windstorm. It's one of the worst storms to hit this area in a very long time. They are now saying it's worse then the inauguration day storm. My power was out for 6 days. I still feel lucky, I have a woodstove and camping gear so I could have some warmth and cook. Friends let me use their showers. Neither my car nor home was damaged.

I feel hesitant to write about the experience. I was in bed during the storm. I actually slept some too. My small house is surrounded by trees. I pondered where was safest to sleep and decided that I wasn't going to sleep in the tiny hallway or bathroom, so I climbed into bed and hoped for the best. For me the story is more about having no power and I was well equipped for that. I guess that's why I feel I need to be careful with my words. I think of the people who died from the storm. Others have bigger or sadder or harder stories.

I also try hard to find the "simple gift" in what I write here. I could share my awe of the power of wind. It's a good reminder that we humans are not so powerful as we think. That's not what stays with me this time. The first night of the blackout was also the first night of Chanukkah. I came to much greater appreciation of the idea of "festival of lights". Lighting candles is such a huge part of Judaism and in the dark nights that followed the storm the warm lights of the menorah became more then tradition. I spent nights bumbled around carrying flashlights and I realized just how wonderful electric lights are. I needed a flashlight to go to the store (and that was during the day), to the bathroom, to cook, etc. Each night though, I lit the menorah and sat and watched the warm, lively glow. Each night as candles were added the light got brighter. There was comfort in that. The novelty of the blackout had long warn off but the nights were getting brighter.

Just a few blocks from my house
Taken 2 days after the storm

In town
Taken 2 days after the storm

Local Roads - Roads were blocked for many days

Taken with my camera phone
The trees are hanging on power lines and I watched cars driving through

The road I normally drive to work
It took 5 days for them to clear it

Dark and cold
The sound and smell of generators
No phones (not even cell)
Shopping in the dark
Long lines and limited supplies
Cold water
How wonderful a warm shower felt
The menorah lighting my house
Quiet house

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

PCT Snow Shoe (also known as Nature's Tinsel Trail)

Eliza, Coal and I went snow shoeing along the Pacific Crest Trail last Saturday. We went to the same place we visited last year. (I'm linking to Eliza's entry because I can't seem to access mine) It was fun to be able to share memories and compare. Even though it's early Decemeber there is a lot of snow. Last year the snow was heavy and started falling of the trees like snow bombs. This year the snow was light and it shone. Eliza was very excited to discover we could see individual snow flakes.

We discovered that those snow flakes were clinging to spider web strands. It was so amazing to see the tinsel all around. I'd never seen anything like it.

Snow Tinsel

Of course we took lots of pictures. (Check out some of Eliza's photos) We spent a lot of time standing still; looking, listening and experiencing. We got to hear a raven singing. I wish I could desribe the sound, I've heard people describe it as bell-like.


We didn't see any bears, honest! Coal had a grand time and was charging ahead (looking like a small bear). He was a great snow collector. I was determined to get a photo of him covered in a mantle of snow but everytime I tried he shook it all off.


Coal shaking off the snow

Things seemed frosted in white. It was such a strange mix of soft and hard. We were covered in snow flakes and the surface snow was so powdering you couldn't make snow balls, but underneath that was a hard, icy surface.